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Lead Learners: Professional Development at Nazareth Prep

Friday, May 5, 2017

The leadership team at Nazareth Prep takes on the lead learner role when it comes to professional development and implementing research proven strategies for teaching and learning.  Starting with the Head of School and Chief Learning Officer, Dr. Abel-Palmieri, down to every faculty and staff member, frequent professional development creates a student centered  learning environment where students thrive.  Research suggests “When teachers receive well-designed professional development, an average of 49 hours spread over six to 12 months, they can increase student achievement by as much as 21 percentile points (Yoon, Duncan, Lee, Scarloss, and Shapley, 2007).”  Well, at Nazareth Prep our faculty reach 49 hours of professional development before Christmas Break!

In addition to professional development that takes place on campus, our leadership and much of the faculty are participating in professional development locally and nationally.  Dr. Abel-Palmieri is a Deeper Learning Equity Fellow, which provides the opportunity to network and collaborate with educators across the country while receiving high level leadership development focused on strengthening the future of educational excellence and equity movement.  Dr. Brandao, Director of Innovation at Nazareth Prep, leads faculty professional development each week.  This Winter, Dr. Brandao attended  The Science of How We Learn - Science of Imagination Conference in California, which focused on the most effective strategies for learning, memory and motivation.  Later this Spring, Dr. Brandao will attend Infosys CrossRoads 2017 to explore how to best expand access to high quality computer science and Maker education, with a particular focus on underrepresented communities.  These are just two examples of types of professional develop opportunities the Director of Innovation engages in to then create dynamic professional development sessions for faculty and staff.

Mr. Oliphant, the Principal at Nazareth Prep, was selected to attend the Discovery Educators Network Summer Institute 2017 Principal Summit this summer in California.  The focus of the summit is the use of technology in motivating and empowering your faculty, while strengthening your own leadership.  Mr. Oliphant was selected from a large pool of national applicants to attend this year’s summit.  Faculty members pursuing professional development outside of what is offered at Nazareth Prep include Mrs. Alvarez, who teaches Integrated Design Lab, is a member of the Pittsburgh Cohort of Agency by Design (AbD).  AbD is a multi-year research initiative of Project Zero, which is out of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The purpose is to investigate the promises, practices, and pedagogies of maker-centered learning.  Mrs. Lanas, who teaches Cultural Literacy at Nazareth Prep,  is a member of the Fluency Project Fluency is a project from the Create Lab at Carnegie Mellon University, with funding from the Heinz Endowments.  The goal of the Fluency Project is to empower students and teachers with the capabilities to investigate real world issues, analyze data, and engage in a process of inquiry, advocacy, and case-making. In addition to these faculty members, our faculty attend other professional development events like the Schools That Can National Forum and Project Zero Conference.

When it comes to professional develop Nazareth Prep leadership, faculty and staff are living up to Michelangelo’s famous declaration "Ancora Imparo," or "I am still learning!"