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Professional Development Study Groups

Staff are strongly encouraged to organize and participate in a study group as long as it directly meets the needs of the system as outlined in our district’s Professional Development Goals.

If anyone is interested in submitting a summer study group proposal, please follow the steps outlined below. 

Read the Q & A on Study Groups.

Review the Study Group Proposal Form      and Final Report Form     .

Time Sheet for Stipend Work    

Study Group Attendance Record  

Discuss your idea with your principal and director and get their input and support before proceeding.

Discuss your idea with your colleagues and identify who will participate in the Study Group.

Fully complete the Study Group Proposal form, with signatures, and turn the completed form in to the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction.

Q & A on Study Groups  

Q:        What is a Study Group?

A:         A Study Group is a district supported and funded professional development opportunity for professional staff. 

Q:        When do Study Groups meet?

A:         Study Groups meet before or after school commitments.  This includes the summer.  Some groups agree to meet during vacation time or on Saturdays during the school year.

Q:        Are participants compensated for serving on an approved Study Group?

A:            Teachers will be compensated at the contractual rate of $25 per hour.  If the Study Group runs during vacation time, with pre-approval from the Superintendent, administrators may seek compensation at the same rate.

Q:        How long can Study Groups run?

A:         The Study Group’s proposer(s) need to propose a reasonable and justifiable timeframe to complete the proposed work or it will not be approved.  In order to qualify for PDPs, Study Groups must run 10 or more hours.  Typically, Study Groups run from 10–30 hours in duration.  Study groups must complete their work within a fiscal year.  Appropriate use of time must be evidenced in the Study Group’s final product.  Study Groups that do not complete their work within the fiscal year will not be compensated without prior approval.

Q:        How many people can participate in a Study Group?

A:         Study Groups are intended to be opportunities for professional collaboration around important work.  A one-person study group does not meet this expectation.  A clear rationale for the group’s composition needs to be included in each proposal.  Proposers need to balance the number of participants with the number of hours required to do the work so that the cost of the Study Group is reasonable, or it will not be approved.

Q:        Can funding be provided for materials required for a Study Group?

A:         Yes, but a clear rationale needs to be provided for material needs and the cost needs to be reasonable.  Expensive technology items (e.g., digital cameras, laptops, palm pilots, etc.) do not qualify as reasonable.

Q:        How are Study Groups funded?

A:         Study Groups may be funded by the school’s professional development account, by the district’s professional development account (for district-wide initiatives), or by appropriate grant funds.

Q:        Does an administrator have to serve on a Study Group?

A:         No, but in many cases an administrator will want, or be expected, to participate with his/her faculty.

Q:        Who leads a Study Group?

A:            Someone in the group needs to take or share responsibility for coordinating the group’s work, putting together the Final Report materials, and helping to disseminate the group’s work to appropriate colleagues.

Q:        Can teachers from different schools participate in a Study Group?

A:         Yes!  In fact, system-wide membership is strongly encouraged.  Study Groups provide an important opportunity for job-alike colleagues from across the system to share ideas, work together, and develop systemic consistency.  Where appropriate, the administration may require multi-school participation in a Study Group.

Q:        What kind of work is appropriate for a Study Group?

A:         Any of the following activities are appropriate:

§         Any activity must clearly support district or school goals, initiatives, or needs.

§         Developing new standards-based curricula.

§         Developing new forms of standards-based, common assessments (including but not limited to standards-based report cards).

§         Making significant revisions to existing curriculum

§         Textbook adoption committee work

§         Program review

§         Planning and providing professional development in an area of need (Those receiving the professional development are not part of the Study Group.)

§         Critical Friends Group (CFG) work

§         MCAS analysis team work

§         Literacy Team work

§         Numeracy Team work

§         Any other shared professional development experience (e.g., action research, literature review, etc.)

Q:        What is the process for getting a Study Group approved?

A:         Refine your proposal idea with colleagues and check it out with appropriate administrators.  Identify your Study Group participants.  Be sure you will have a useful product coming from the work.  Complete a Study Group proposal form and submit it to your respective administrator(s) for approval.  The signed proposal then goes to the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction for final review and approval.

Q:        How will we know if a Study Group proposal was approved?

A:         Mr. Maiorano’s office will promptly notify you by returning a signed copy of your proposal.

Other questions can be directed to your respective administrator, or to Mr. Maiorano, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction.


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