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Principal Professional Learning Series

At this unprecedented moment in public education, school leadership is more important than ever before. In order to meet the immediate leadership support needs of principals in Tennessee during the current public health crisis, the University of Tennessee’s Center for Educational Leadership has partnered with the Tennessee Department of Education to present the Tennessee Principal Professional Learning Series (PPLS).

The PPLS offers timely and relevant virtual professional learning opportunities grounded in the challenges of our current reality to all public school principals in the Volunteer State.  This critical professional development leverages the intellectual resources of the university, as well as recognized external expertise, to address the most pressing problems of practice facing school principals during these tumultuous and uncertain times With financial support from Tennessee SCORE, and the collaboration of several expert national organizations, the Tennessee Principal Professional Learning Series offers a unique, valuable, and collaborative learning experience for public school leaders facing an unparalleled crisis. In fact, more than 1,000 Tennessee educational leaders have already participated in the initiative.

The Tennessee Principal Professional Learning Series focuses on immediate and pressing educational issues such as best practices in remote learning, student well-being, leadership during a crisis, educational equity, and transforming schools to comprehensively address student learning needs. Each 90-minute module below includes recorded video presentations from national experts coupled with small-group professional dialogue around strategies and solutions.

Click on each Module below to access the videos, presentation slides, and other resources.

Modules:

Schools and educators across Tennessee have been thrust into the realm of digital teaching and learning. Some are doing it exceedingly well, while others are struggling to facilitate student learning in our new reality. Issues of digital equity and access are contributing to the challenges. This seminar will explore effective practices in on-line and remote instruction to promote student learning and success.

Action Planning Guide

Wednesday May 6, 2020

  • 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. EDT – Mid-Cumberland and South Central CORE Regions
  • 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. EDT – Northwest and Southwest CORE Regions

Thursday May 7, 2020

  • 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. EDT – First and East CORE Regions
  • 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon EDT – Southeast and Upper Cumberland CORE Regions

Social distancing can create stress and anxiety for children and young adults. Disruption of routine, lack of connection to teachers and peers, and in some cases dysfunction and distraction in the home can substantially impact not only academics, but also student wellness and emotional health as well. This professional learning module will consider challenges around mental health and wellness in the Coronavirus era, as well as strategies and promising practices to provide social and emotional support for students.

RESOURCES:

Wednesday May 13, 2020

  • 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. EDT – Mid-Cumberland and South Central CORE Regions
  • 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. EDT – Northwest and Southwest CORE Regions

Thursday May 14, 2020

  • 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. EDT – First and East CORE Regions
  • 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon EDT – Southeast and Upper Cumberland CORE Regions

School principals are frontline educational leaders in this crisis. They have stepped up in remarkable and even heroic ways to address student, family, staff and community needs. But principals are also facing unprecedented challenges in their leadership during these turbulent times. Principals are managing a far-flung staff, coordinating the largest on-line learning effort in history, balancing myriad interests, and facing intense scrutiny of each decision, all while working remotely, battling professional isolation, and meeting the needs of their own household and family. This module will explore strategies, systems, and protocols that will assist principals in balancing their many priorities, while leveraging their strengths, exercising self-care, and setting boundaries to make their overwhelming job more manageable at this overwhelming moment.

RESOURCES:

Wednesday May 20, 2020

  • 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. EDT – Mid-Cumberland and South Central CORE Regions
  • 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. EDT – Northwest and Southwest CORE Regions

Thursday May 21, 2020

  • 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. EDT – First and East CORE Regions
  • 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon EDT – Southeast and Upper Cumberland CORE Regions

Summative assessments have been suspended across the state of Tennessee, leaving a significant gap in student learning data at exactly the moment when such data is needed most to inform differentiation, intervention, and remediation. This module will explore resources, tools, and strategies to assess and understand where students are in their learning, with particular emphasis on formative and adaptive assessments that may provide critical information for educators to structure personalized learning experiences for all students to excel.

RESOURCES:

Wednesday June 10, 2020

  • 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. EDT – Mid-Cumberland and South Central CORE Regions
  • 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. EDT – Northwest and Southwest CORE Regions

Thursday June 11, 2020

  • 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. EDT – First and East CORE Regions
  • 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon EDT – Southeast and Upper Cumberland CORE Regions

By the time school resumes in the fall, most Tennessee students will have been away from a traditional structured learning environment for about six months. Some students will have continued their academic pursuits, whether through formal or informal educational opportunities. Still other students, due to a variety of logistical, technological, family, health, and/or equity issues will have engaged in very little learning. This module will examine the possibilities and necessities of restructuring school to personalize and differentiate instruction for students who may have had very different quarantine experiences.

RESOURCES:

Wednesday June 17, 2020

  • 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. EDT – Mid-Cumberland and South Central CORE Regions
  • 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. EDT – Northwest and Southwest CORE Regions

Thursday June 18, 2020

  • 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. EDT – First and East CORE Regions
  • 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon EDT – Southeast and Upper Cumberland CORE Regions

In the midst of the most challenging educational crisis in memory, educators may be dealing with the prospect of a potential fiscal crisis as well. Tennessee schools are highly reliant on sales tax revenue, and with economic activity at a near standstill, principals will likely be grappling with constrained funding at a time of intense educational need. This module will look at ways to effectively and efficiently organize school resources (time, people, and money) to address the differential learning needs of all students. Innovative structural solutions may need to be employed to meet growing educational needs amidst limited resources.

RESOURCES

Wednesday June 24, 2020

  • 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. EDT – Mid-Cumberland and South Central CORE Regions
  • 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. EDT – Northwest and Southwest CORE Regions

Thursday June 25, 2020

  • 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. EDT – First and East CORE Regions
  • 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon EDT – Southeast and Upper Cumberland CORE Regions

Educators and school staffs will have also been physically separated for some six months when school resumes in the fall, requiring careful thought as to how to re-establish and re-invigorate school culture, community, and collaboration. This final professional learning unit will focus on the task of rallying the staff, students, parents and stakeholders of a school around a common purpose, as well as communicating new and established norms, protocols, and rituals. Clear expectations, effective communication, and stakeholder buy-in will all be critical dynamics examined to support successful reunification.

RESOURCES

Monday June 29, 2020

  • 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. EDT – Mid-Cumberland and South Central CORE Regions
  • 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. EDT – Northwest and Southwest CORE Regions

Tuesday June 30, 2020

  • 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. EDT – First and East CORE Regions
  • 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon EDT – Southeast and Upper Cumberland CORE Regions

With the pandemic affecting every aspect of public schooling this fall, many educators are feeling overwhelmed. Not only are teachers and staff balancing student safety and instructional responsibilities, and addressing the needs of both in-person and remote pupils, but they are doing so while also trying to attend to often substantially increased professional and personal obligations. This module will seek to provide some background and context around the challenges being faced by teachers and staff, and offer strategies and solutions to better support educators as they teach our kids and support our families amidst this unprecedented crisis. Presentations and small group discussions will examine research and effective practices, share insights about what we have learned, and offer examples of effective teacher support.

RESOURCES:

Many schools and school leaders have spent countless hours developing thoughtful plans for instructional delivery during the current public health emergency. However, many principals are concerned that their plans are narrowly focused on teaching and learning in core subjects, and that student social and emotional well-being, mental health, and character development will be overlooked. Further, educators worry that student learning in the arts, music, and physical education will also suffer at this critical moment. Despite the challenges of this moment, this module will focus on strategies to support comprehensive human development in ways that address the whole child in the 2020-21 school year.

RESOURCES

Schools and districts in Tennessee were already seeing achievement gaps, disparities in student outcomes, and disproportionalities in student discipline. During the 2020-21 academic year, school leaders are recognizing a frightening new reality: that the inequities we were already aware of have been acutely exacerbated and amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent school closures last spring. The National Urban League will present information and data related to this growing educational equity crisis, and participants will begin to consider strategies and solutions to address this urgent problem.

This second module on educational equity will introduce the Tennessee Leaders for Equity Playbook as a foundational resource to address access, opportunity, and equity in our schools and school systems. The mindshifts, equity commitments, and role-specific actions outlined in the Playbook will serve as a blueprint for enhancing educational equity in our schools. In addition, several examples of school and district exemplars in educational equity will be highlighted and discussed.


PPLS Overall Final Report