The Alaska Staff Development Network (ASDN) conducted its eighth annual needs assessment in February, 2013. Online surveys were sent to 3,440 past participants in ASDN staff development activities. Surveys were also sent to 202 network representatives in every school district in the state. ASDN Network representatives are central office leaders designated by superintendents each year and key leaders from educational organizations around the state.
The Professional Development Past Participant Survey 1) assessed participants’ satisfaction with the professional development opportunities they took part in during the previous year and 2) asked participants to detail the professional development they would like to take in the future. We received 922 responses to this survey representing a response rate of approximately 27 percent.
The Network Representatives Survey assessed 1) the relevancy of ASDN professional development opportunities to district needs; 2) satisfaction with the quality of ASDN professional development; 3) prioritization of ASDN professional development topic areas; and 4) district self-described professional development needs. We collected 77 responses from ASDN network representatives in 40 school districts and statewide professional associations for a response rate of 38 percent.
We were very pleased that approximately 90% of the survey respondents said that they were satisfied with our professional learning opportunities, that the professional development resulted in new knowledge or skills, and that their new learning will improve student academic outcomes.
Past Participants – Practical New Information n=922
Network Representatives – Practical New Information n=77
Relevance to Professional Development Needs
Ninety-five percent of Network Representatives agreed or strongly agreed that ASDN professional development was relevant to their district’s needs. A higher percentage of network representatives indicated that the professional development they participated in was relevant to their needs in 2013 than in 2012 or 2011.
Relevant to District Needs – Network Representatives
Participation in ASDN Professional Development
The percent of respondents who indicated they would “probably” or “definitely” participate in future ASDN professional development increased from 76% in 2011 to 84% in 2012. It remained constant at 84% in 2013.
When asked what priority to give to individual content areas both participants and network representatives rated reading, writing and math as the highest priorities, with an emphasis on reading. When asked for a single priority area, 51% of past participants and 83.0% of network representatives chose English/Language Arts.
For participants, Effective Teaching Strategies, Using Technology in the Classroom, RTI, Positive Behavior Management and Implementing the New Alaska ELA and Math Standards had the most interest.
The most pressing topics for network representatives were Using Data to Improve Student Achievement, Effective Teaching Strategies, Using Technology in the Classroom, RTI, and Implementing the New Alaska ELA and Math Standards.
The only difference between the “top five” for the two groups is that the past participants (primarily teachers) cited Positive Behavior Management as a priority area whereas the Network Representatives (primarily district office staff) requested Using Data to Improve Student Achievement.
We would like to thank everyone who contributed for all your opinions, good ideas and constructive criticism!