Research-Based Professional Learning

A Journey to Bring the Best Education to Catholic School Students

Note: As seen in the video above – Take a quick look at how robotics in education is changing the lives of young learners at Prince of Peace as they compete at the south eastern United States “South’s BEST Robotics Competition”.

All schools are not equal

Schools strive to provide students with quality education but every school faces challenges. Some schools are innovators and lead education while others must fend for themselves. Catholic educators are unique in that they often consider their work as teachers to be a vocation in education and religion. Sacrifices are made in Catholic education resulting in less pay for more effort which Catholic school teachers eagerly accept to give of themselves to students who are typically poor and often behind, academically. Although some Catholic schools overflow with resources, most do not, leaving administrators to do more with less without diminishing the quality of learning for students and the quality of professional development for teachers.

Prince of Peace Catholic School is an example of successful Catholic education. Its members support the practices and financial needs of the school and in turn, school leaders invest time and money into educating students and faculty. In 2016 the school embarked on a non-traditional professional learning (PL) effort to make learning to use technology in the classroom as important for teachers as it is for students.

How to Improve what’s working

Following several months of the first phase of the 2016 PL plan, feedback was very positive. The school continues to look for information to enhance the plan to ensure the three-year program will yield the results it expects for both teachers and students. Research from around the world is being evaluated and the plan will be adjusted as evidence demonstrates what works in other school environments (see: Follow the Leader).   Research supports the PL plan to help teachers connect innovative ideas with effective teaching.

A look back to the analysis of the school provides insight into the school’s goals. Making the change from traditional sit-n-get professional learning to an adaptation of a more effective learning approach, COVA, has resulted in greater quality of teaching and learning at this Alabama Catholic school. By continuously seeking feedback from teachers and students, the school can compare the results with its ongoing research as leaders adopt “best practices” in the Technology Implementation Plan over the coming years.

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