Arkansas Grows Potential Professional Developers

In alignment with Stephen Covey’s “begin with the end in mind”, the Arkansas Adolescent Literacy Intervention has, from its inception, intended for the project to build capacity within the state to have a viable method for perpetuating its network of SIM professional developers.  In June of 2008, the first-ever Potential Professional Development Institute (PPDI) was held, actualizing that dream for the state.  Through collaboration with the University of Kansas, the Arkansas Department of Education and the University of Central Arkansas Mashburn Center for Learning it began cultivating Arkansas educators as professional development leaders for the Strategic Instruction Model (SIM).  The SIM curriculum, instruction and pedagogy are the primary element of the literacy intervention, and years of research-validated practices have resulted in a very specific professional development model designed to scaffold learning for the potential leaders in the program.  The ten individuals who participated began a process which will culminate in an apprenticeship, and finally in certification as a Nationally Certified SIM Professional Developer.

Content for the summer experience, which is an intensive, five-day institute,  focused on the elements of deep understanding of the pedagogy surrounding the design of SIM, and allowed participants multiple opportunities to practice skills that will be needed as they assume the role of professional development provider for other Arkansas educators.

The leadership team is extremely excited about the prospect of having our own cadre of professional development providers and a strong network of support at the state, regional and local level made possible by this PPDI.  We look forward to hearing from you about your personal successes as a result of having these SIM leaders working with staff in your schools.  Most importantly, we look forward to gathering the data that tells us about the results for students as a consequence of cultivating, harvesting and sharing this “crop” of professional developers around our state.

Arkansas Celebrates Nine Newly Certified Professional Developers in SIM

Dr. Mashburn’s dream became a reality on July 16th, 2009, when nine new professional developers were recognized at the International SIM conference in Lawrence, Kansas. Our state was the first one called upon in the awards ceremony, and the roar of our hearts and voices could not be silenced! For the first time in history, new Arkansas professional developers comprised the largest group assembled for the celebration. It was a glorious day! Newly certified professional developers include: Tasha Rowe, CER; Susan Friberg, CER; Donna Rush, CER; Mirriam Berryhill, CER; Rose Merry Kirkpatrick, LS; Lisa Haley, LS; tom Blount, LS; and Karen Robinson, LS. Kevin Floyd also completed his certification in CER. Dr. Don Deshler was on hand to join in a group photo and to congratulate our new PDer’s. Many of the new professional developers have begun providing professional development for their district. The literacy specialists have begun providing PD for districts in their region.

Second Annual Potential Professional Developer’s Institute Held at UCA

The week of June 22-26, 2009, was a busy one for the 10 new SIM apprentices. UCA hosted its second annual PPDI for Arkansas teachers. This year, we even had a teacher, Mindi Crane, join us from Kansas. Our new SIM apprentices are Brenda Page, LS, Fouke; Becky Brown, LS, Cabot; Taha Rowe, LS, Cabot; Sylvia Hiatt, LS, Cabot; Brenda Pennington, CER, Monticello; Jerome Harper, CER, Little Rock, Jay Fitch, CER, Cabot; Amy Hoover, CER, Cabot; and Rosemary Burks, CER, ADE. These are certainly exciting times. Our SIM mentors are Linda Watt, Renee Calhoon, and Patty Kohler-Evans. Dr. Kohler-Evans and Renee Calhoon served under Debbie Cooke, Janet Aytollah, Connie Gentle and Jerri Neduchal as SIM Leader Apprentices.