Designing Effective Professional Development for Urban Music Teachers

 

Al Holcomb, Ph.D.

University of Central Florida

aholcomb@mail.ucf.edu

 

In the fall of 2001, Orange County Public Schools, in collaboration with the University of Central Florida entered into a four-year professional development project. This project received federal funding under The Professional Development for Music Educators Program to enhance music teaching and learning in schools receiving Title I funding. Project leaders, including the district Fine Arts Coordinator and two university faculty members developed key goals and a sustainable program of training, support, and assessment in the areas of technology, teacher musicianship, and research-based practices linked to planning, teaching, assessing, and reflecting on music teaching. Teachers received technology equipment, attended training sessions, completed assignments, and participated in cohort group collaborations. Trained peer mentors provided support to individual teachers and facilitated cohort group interactions. Artist-in-residence programs were implemented in some schools. Funding was provided for teachers to attend state and national conferences. As a result of program participation, teachers demonstrated a heightened sense of community and enthusiasm toward teaching, with some choosing to pursue National Board certification and graduate studies. In addition, peer collaborations and technology applications increased among participants. Evidence of changes in practice and student growth were documented through mentor observations and artifacts included in teaching portfolios.