In a DIIMSA Professional Learning Community, professional development experiences are practice-based, ongoing and designed to assist DIIMSA Cohorts in the integration of activities, methods, strategies and projects learned into the curriculum and its alignment with student learning goals.
DIIMSA Professional Development is aligned with the National Staff Development Council (NSDC) Content Standards:
(1) Assisting educators to cultivate an understanding and appreciation of all students, create safe, orderly and supportive learning environments, and hold high expectations for their academic achievement;
(2) Expanding practitioners’ content knowledge and provide them with research-based instructional strategies designed to insure students meet rigorous standards; and
(3) Developing practitioners’ knowledge, skills and use of an assortment of classroom assessments appropriately.
The NSDC also advocates staff development that: (1) Improves the learning of all students organizes adults into learning communities whose goals are aligned with those of the school and district; and (2) Improves the learning of all students requires resources to support adult learning and collaboration. (Source: nsdc.org)
Professional Development Experiences
DIIMSA teacher professional development experiences are designed to build capacity by focusing on collaborative Professional Learning Communities of DIIMSA Cohorts consisting of teachers, specialists and liaisons. DIIMSA Cohorts are participants from each school responsible for the leadership aspects of DIIMSA at the school site. At the school level, DIIMSA Cohorts take collective responsibility for the learning of students for participating Cohorts. Typical responsibilities include: assisting in reviewing curriculum objectives that students are required to master; critiquing/planning effective projects, activities and lessons; observing varying classroom implementations; and critiquing student works/artifacts. At the district level, DIIMSA Cohorts and professional development providers involve administrators into the learning community to provide understanding and instructional leadership for DIIMSA Cohorts.
Through ongoing professional development, DIIMSA prepares teachers to provide the foundational knowledge, skills and experiences students need for future educational achievement.Unique Communities of Practice
DIIMSA Cohorts continuously meet in Professional Learning Communities to review and reflect on the effectiveness of learned activities, methods, strategies and projects. Select DIIMSA Cohorts serve leadership roles in the district to focus on the goals for school improvement in conjunction with curriculum departments. Participants are recruited from each school to receive DIIMSA training. The principal must approve the participation of the teachers in DIIMSA, which also includes: (1) Supporting classroom integration for the implementation of DIIMSA with their students; and (2) Providing the necessary resources in order to succeed. This school team (teachers and administrators) forms a learning community at their school, which coincides with district DIIMSA Cohort members. School team members incorporate what they learn in training sessions and collaborate on DIIMSA experiences, which requires them to address their students’ needs and their unique learning environment. School teams also schedule DIIMSA meetings for the purposes of reviewing teaching plans, sharing ideas, reporting on progress, reviewing student progress, and preparing status reports.DIIMSA Authors
The Professional Learning Communities allow DIIMSA Authors to share project artifacts from campus, field, laboratory and case study experiences; therefore providing ways to improve the quality of professional learning and the quality of project artifacts.
DIIMSA Authors are categorized and defined as follows:
(1) Member. Includes all users with an active DIIMSA-EXPERT subscription. Includes Authoring access for the learning community.
(2) Cohort. Includes all specifics for Members and yearly professional development sessions. Cohorts are required to attend yearly professional development continuums in Level II Special Topics. Cohorts accumulate hours in Level II Special Topics sessions. Cohorts also have access to be selected as DIIMSA Curriculum Integration Writers and Facilitators.
(3) Researcher. Includes all specifics for Cohorts, the implementation of yearly large-scale projects and content creators with support from DIIMSA facilitators across grade levels.
Only Members, Cohorts and Researchers are eligible to be DIIMSA Authors. Users not in these categories can only view posts and participate in comments/discussions as Subscribers.Ongoing Support
In addition to meetings and sessions, DIIMSA participants in professional learning communities have access to the DIIMSA-EXPERT site 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Support is also offered by: Phone, Text Message, Email and Custom Sessions/visits. These options are designed to help participants implement activities, methods, strategies and projects learned during professional development sessions. Custom sessions are also additional options in the learning community.