High Quality Professional Development Improves Results
Professional development for superintendents is loosely coupled with true needs as expressed by superintendents.
Nationally, superintendents identify their learning needs as improving interpersonal skills, strategic thinking and systems thinking. However, there has been no sustained, systemic effort to provide for these needs on a local, state by state effort. At the state level, state associations attempt to meet the needs and have arranged various networks and groups to provide professional development. Again, there are only a few examples of states that have created models for providing sustained, systemic support to school superintendents. Massachusetts and Texas are two current examples where sustained efforts have been made to provide an effective cohort learning experience for superintendents.
Truth be told, most superintendents attend meetings driven by the needs of others.
For example, a state association may serve as a resource for professional development, however, the political entities and private vendors vie for a presence on workshop and conference agendas often providing a similar lower quality experience for the superintendent looking for in-depth exploration of a specific topic based on professional need. Or, regionally, meetings are held to address a particular state policy need and superintendents attend to learn how to implement the new requirement.
When examined carefully, there is no sustained and systemic effort in place to serve the leadership needs of superintendents in the following areas: Coaching and Mentoring from a skilled and experienced superintendent, high quality professional development to meet an expressed individual need while on the job, and a safe place for cohort learning to frame issues, gather insights and learn from peers. This is what BOSS provides.
"Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." - John Dewey