During the summer of 2012, as I began my 16th year teaching fifth grade language arts at Penn Charter, I got my very first Mac, and I basically spent the summer at the Apple Store using their one-to-one program to learn how to best use my Mac for my teaching. And I fell in love – that is I feel in love – with their model of professional development. I have always loved learning, but this model of PD, where I knew I could get the help I needed, when and how I wanted, made me feel even more invigorated, empowered and confident as a learner.
That school year, Penn Charter announced our Strategic Vision with its challenging goals including: promote excellence in teaching, collaborate across divisions and disciplines, strengthen use of technology, educate students for global competency, and create a community of teachers & students of lifelong learners who make a difference.
As one of the co-clerks of our Committee on Teaching & Learning, I was involved with professional development. So when I heard these goals, not only was I inspired, but I began thinking about the types of professional development we needed to reach them. From my work on the committee, I was aware that our faculty wanted to continue to learn to provide excellent teaching. The problem wasn't the desire to learn, it was having the time and easy access to meaningful professional development.
Thinking back to my summer spent at the Apple Store, I became excited by the idea of having our very own version of the Apple Store one-to-one training program, where our faculty would be able to learn from and with one another, where they could learn what they want, when they want, and how they want. I shared the concept for the Teaching & Learning Center with our administrators and colleagues, and together we created Penn Charter’s Teaching & Learning Center, which now is a integral part of life at PC!