Personal Growth Plans

We know that many current professional development models don’t meet the needs of our teachers. Here we will provide the resources for a new model that emphasizes year-long Personal Growth Plans that make our learning more authentic and relevant.

Shifting from Professional Development to Professional Learning

When one hears “professional development” you think about sitting in a training where more often than not you are thinking about other things rather than engaging in the sit and get presentation. It’s not that we don’t have professional development opportunities, in fact 90% of teachers report attending professional development. Unfortunately most of those teachers found it totally useless (Darling-Hammond et al, 2009).  Even if you are engaged in learning about what is being delivered there is little or no time to actually implement the ideas. And if you do have time to implement it you invariably aren’t going to be wildly successful the first time. As Bradley Ermeling found in his study most teacher’s first attempts in implementation, even with training, are unsuccessful and messy (Ermeling, 2009). Read more about shifting from “Professional Development” to “Professional Learning” in this post.

Outlining the Plan for Personal Growth Plans

As we move forward in our discussion of Personal Growth Plans we need to outline our strategy. We want to focus first on the five essential elements of successful professional learning: duration, implementation support, active learning, modeling and content specific. Read more about how Personal Growth Plans accomplish this through Fink’s 3-column table and an example schedule in this post. This will give you the outline of how to implement Personal Growth Plans in your environment. Feel free to use this as a template and adjust to your environment.


Start with the Why

As Simon Sinek says, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” This short video serves as a great starter for why we should shift to a new brand of professional learning.

Personalized Learning Draft 1 on Biteable.

BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) – Overarching Goal

Learners will …capitalize on two of their strengths and share with others while improving upon two or three of their weaknesses through a year-long growth plan they develop and own with guidance from their supervisor.

Discover your Strengths and Areas of Improvement

This Google Form is an example of how to identify your strengths and areas of improvement that will be used throughout the year to achieve our BHAG.

Construct Your Personal Growth Plan

This Google Doc is an example of how we will record and share our growth throughout the year. Each educator will have their own Personal Growth Plan document to utilize throughout the year.

Add Your Monthly Challenges

This Google Doc gives examples of monthly challenges that will serve as starters for each educator to personalize to their strengths and weaknesses.

Make it Your Own

I hope this page serves as a resource for you to create your own Personal Growth Plans at your campus. Feel free to make copies and modify the resources to make them your own. If you use these materials, leave a comment as I would love to hear how they work out for you.

If you’d like to see the launch of our Personal Growth Plans take a look here.

Happy learning and growing.