Recently, the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools (MACS) recognized Northwest Passage as their innovator of the month. We are proud of our relationship with this organization of schools from around the state and are excited to share the great things we’ve been working on as a staff.

This month, MACS recognized us for our advancements with using the Headrush platform to track staff professional development and relicensure statuses. We use Headrush with our students to help them craft and manage projects. We are using the same principles with our teaching staff to work towards relicensing. With the help of Headrush, we are hoping to remove one of the most commonly-voiced frustrations in the process: keeping track of CEUs.

Some teachers prefer manilla envelopes tucked into drawers with documentation from Professional Development sessions past. Others have moved to scanning and storing them in the cloud. What we’re doing with Headrush is combining the cloud storage piece, with the visual tracking piece so our staff knows where they’re at in the process and what they have left to accomplish. We call this the Professional Development Personal Learning Plan (PDPLP).

This innovation comes from years working with our staff to make sure they are up to date in their licensure status. We feel that when our teachers rest easy knowing where they stand in the process, they spend more time working with students to develop, craft and produce high quality work. One of the questions we ask ourselves a lot in our internal professional development is: “How is this going to impact students?”

If the answer is hard to explain, then it’s a sign that we maybe are misallocating our time and resources on something without clear ties to student learning. In this case, using Headrush to move teachers closer to relicensing just means one less thing they have to worry about, leaving them more energy to commit to students.

From a top-down planning perspective, using the PDPLPs helps us chart out school-wide Professional Development. As staff upload their CEUs into Headrush, the virtual buckets fill, or circles close, displaying what areas are left and which have been met. In this case, it means we can schedule PD sessions to help staff obtain necessary CEUs.

If you’d like to know more about our PLPs, or the NWPHS philosophy, check out our site, blog, or reach out.