People can often identify how we as an online school differ from the ways in which a typical bricks and mortar school functions, but how we are the same? Like most schools, we hold an annual Professional Development (PD) day, one that allows our teachers and staff to come together at one location to share information, discuss ideas, and provide feedback. Professional development is important to all schools as it helps ensure that educators grow and develop as professionals.
VHS firmly believes that it must be current with trends in education because doing so allows us to be a leader in online learning. Together at these PD days, we brainstorm new and innovative ways with which we can support all types of students and ensure their, and our, success in the online environment.
Our business, administrative, multimedia, and content development teams work together year-round in Bayfield, Ontario, while our teachers work remotely around the world. We may work in a virtual school, but having our yearly PD days provides us with an opportunity to meet face-to-face with individuals whom we work with online every day. Because we may not see our colleagues in person often, the PD day is a valuable time for everyone to connect, learn, share, and improve.
This year’s PD day was broken down into two sections: school-wide sessions and departmental sessions. The school-wide sessions involved updates in administration, policies and procedures, multimedia, and partnerships. Additionally, we demonstrated new concepts and involved our teachers in our new initiatives during this time. The departmental sessions saw teachers, department heads, and curriculum coordinators come together to discuss department-specific topics.
The day allows each member of the VHS team to learn the most up-to-date information about school happenings and to provide the opportunity to answer questions that teachers may have. We take the feedback from our teachers and implement new ideas wherever we can in order to improve the teaching and student experience. Overall, the PD day is vital to the VHS community because such times allow us to continue to grow and improve as a school which offers the best possible education online.