Since 2011, MCPSA has built its capacity to support members via technical assistance, facilitated learning opportunities and professional development. We have conducted over 40 such sessions since 2012, and all but 3 Commonwealth Charter Schools have participated in at least one program offering annually. Through our ongoing annual (and session) program evaluations we have learned the following about what our members think about the programs we offer (FY14 data):
- 99% of participants in each programming session plan to attend another session and 99% recommend our programming to their colleagues.
- 95% of attendees state that their practice and knowledge base has been augmented through their attendance MCPSA programming.
- 77% of Communities of Practice members stated that they have formally incorporated attendance at the MCPSA Communities of Practice into their professional development plans.
The content of our professional development programming varies according to the needs of our members, but most programming emphasizes the sharing of best practices among charter school leaders and staff in various instructional and operational topics vis-à-vis our statewide Communities of Practice; specific trainings designed to train, or provide technical assistance to members, on new policy requirements issued by DESE; and issue-based programming provided by outside experts in response to member needs. Recent offerings include:
- Six ongoing statewide, job specific Communities of Practice (COPs) facilitated by MCPSA staff and charter leaders/staff where participants explore and solve shared challenges, exchange best practices and exemplars, engage in issue-specific in-depth school visits and instructional rounds, focus on policy issues affecting practice, and learn from expert colleagues as well as well-known experts on topics relevant to their job function. The COP groups for AY15 include: CFO/COO/Business Manager; College Placement Director; ELL Director; Principal; Special Education Director; and, new for AY15, Dean of Students. Agendas are developed through formal needs assessment of member needs as well as consultation with experts and the field as needed.
- Training/technical assistance in response to DESE policies: charter school only WIDA training; training on the new student discipline law; and training on the new state teacher evaluation system.
- Members-only intranet featuring Online Communities of Practice which provides job-specific professional networking and fosters resource sharing, and a Charter Knowledge Center that houses best practices, exemplars and other materials.