Red Lion Area Junior High School, Red Lion, Pennsylvania
In 2014, teachers at Red Lion Area Junior High School were concerned when the district announced its plan to implement a 1-to-1 initiative. Many educators were concerned about using Chromebooks, so the Pennsylvania district introduced a program where teachers could constructively critique one another’s performance.
In the program, educators observe their colleagues in the classroom and score the lesson on the HEAT framework—higher order thinking, engagement, authentic assessment and technology. They then reflect on one another’s work in groups. Next, they coordinate future PD opportunities based on their findings.
“The teachers were empowered by the process,” says Timothy Smith, the district’s supervisor of instructional practice and technology integration. “They could communicate with administrators about instruction on equal footing and demonstrate their competence to their colleagues.”
Teachers also realized the Chromebooks supported web-based tools that met their curriculum and eliminated the need for laptop carts.
Teachers participate in monthly PD sessions, which are led by the technology integration coach and are offered multiple times over the course of a day. The participants meet in small groups to learn new skills.
More than two-thirds of the junior high’s staff said that the HEAT framework has been meaningful and has contributed to enhanced instruction in the classroom. And 75 percent said the same about the personalized PD days in general.
“This process builds momentum for future initiatives,” says Smith. “Several teachers who were reluctant to embrace this change soon felt comfortable enough to join the transformational train.”