by Alex Buckley
Many students think of “PD day” as synonymous with “day off”, but most don’t know what actually happens during these gleefully-accepted free days for students. “PD” stands for “Professional Development”, and much like the name suggests, is usually a day when staff come together to develop their abilities and learn new skills to implement in their classes.
Mr. Merritt, a global politics teacher at ASW, said PD days, “Are set aside for groups of teachers to work together on things that impact a certain grade level or levels, or subject matter team.” On PD days when teachers are taught new skills, the skills are often new teaching methods, introduced by education professionals, or a new way a teacher can incorporate technology into their classroom, according to Mr. Merritt.
PD days happen several times throughout the school year. The most concentrated period of PD days is around the beginning of the year. According to Mr. Merritt, the PD days at the beginning of the year also tend to be the most important of the year, because the teachers learn not only new technologies that the school may have purchased over the summer and learn new teaching methods, but also meet all the new staff members that arrived over the summer.
As far as criticism goes, teachers generally don’t have much not to like. For example, when asked whether he would change anything about PD day, Mr. Merritt said “No. Not at this time. There’s a committee of people that get together to work on these days. They do an excellent job of finding out what everyone needs (the school and staff) and designing the days to meet those needs.”, also stating that “More often than not, teachers walk away feeling like they’ve filled their cups with a bunch of ‘stuff’ that they can use.”
The next PD at ASW is on April 7. According to a draft schedule circulated to ASW faculty, high school teachers will spend most of the day working on MYP unit planning.