Leman Academy’s Arizona schools were voted both Best Company to Work for (large) and
Best Afterschool Program by the 2019 Arizona Daily Star Reader’s Choice Awards!
We are so proud of all our amazing schools!
Our rigorous professional development program offers meaningful growth opportunities for all our staff—from experienced educators to new teachers. We know that growing and educating our teachers’ skill sets will have positive outcomes in student engagement and success.
Leman Academy Professional Development (LAPD) initiative improves instructional practice with weekly opportunities to engage deeply in basic to advanced techniques aimed at developing confidence in teaching in a Classical Educational environment. The LAPD helps foster strategies to bring passion to every lesson, and collaborate on the design of highly targeted, actions. Leaders and teaching teams implement four types of LAPD meetings to ensure engaging and effective instruction.
The first of the LAPD meetings for each study unit focuses on the teachers’ intellectual content preparation—teasing out and amplifying the big ideas in upcoming units of study. The second meeting centers on the collaborative development of rigorous lesson plans; the third on interactive rounds of teacher practice, feedback, and improvement; and the fourth on formative reviews of student work to inform instruction and assessment design.
Teachers and leaders share coaching relationships that support individual growth in content, pedagogy, and culture. Regular classroom observations provide opportunities for real-time feedback, while coaching sessions focus on incremental improvement towards the attainment of larger goals.
Once per week, at each campus, students are dismissed early and schools hold professional development workshops targeted toward improving school-wide practice. Workshops deliberately build key skills across practical, relevant topics such as culture, instruction, analysis of student work, and curriculum.
A menu of in person course offerings will be created and distributed to the teaching staff. Depending on budget capacity, substitute teachers will be brought in to facilitate job embedded training. Classes will be scheduled for morning and afternoons to allow the maximum number of teachers to participate while the substitute teachers on campus.
LAPD’s academic and curricular teams work closely with school staff to improve and codify instructional planning and development, and to foster the sharing of effective lesson plans and best practices. Both leaders and teachers actively contribute ideas and feedback to ensure the continual improvement of the instructional program and curricular materials.
The LAPD Leaders Institute is designed for the new Principal or Vice Principal with modules and one on one instruction designed to ensure that site based administrators are prepared and ready for the demands of school leadership.
The course of study includes instruction and Virtual Courses on the following topics:
LAPD has implemented a peer to peer live video class that site based administrators attend twice per month. The format includes a book study, topic to discuss and a personal or professional goal that the members commit to the group on. We have found that these virtual meet ups allow for a greater peer to peer experience. The connections made help ensure that site administration realize that they are not alone in their challenges. Our goal is to educate, create relationships and build a safe container for leaders to share among peers.
We highly encourage and will help facilitate Life Groups that are led by a site Principal. The class format will remain the same and the enrollment is suggested to be voluntary.
Schools in America have evolved into complex operations with many moving parts. The role of the site Principal and Vice Principal continues to grow. Preparing the administration for what may be coming at them is an important aspect of a successful school.
The Leman Professional Director, Mr. David Towne, has a long background in classroom teaching including as teacher of the year in 1999 in the State of Arizona. David is a long time administration including as a private school Principal and a coach with public and private school teacher training experience. Mr.. Towne is a national speaker at Classical Education conferences.
Each school is supported by the LAPD Director and site based PD staff whose role is to help the school achieve its academic and organizational goals, including building and maintaining a strong presence for the school in the community, and developing and cultivating enduring relationships with students, teachers, parents, and stakeholders.
The LAPD department has built out over 75 virtual LAPD classes which model beginning to advance professional development course. LAPD Course offerings are used to intentionally introduce new staff members to basic aspects of our culture and expectation. Once on board, the LAPD Course offering is used to specifically train a teacher on a theory or practical aspect of their profession. Our LAPD department will observe an issue or coachable moment, assign the corresponding LAPD Course assignment and then follow up with the teacher to ensure understanding and implementation. This course offering is growing at about 20-25 courses per year. Each course is organized and cataloged by skill type, grade and theory and practice. This deep and rich resource allows our system to remain consistent in multiple campuses in various cities.
A sampling of the courses offered includes:
These resources are always open to teachers and will be assigned in the PD department or campus leadership believes there is an area that needs to be worked on.
The directors of each network curricular department regularly meet with school directors to observe program implementation, determine goals, identify targeted areas for improvement, provide professional development resources, and highlight areas of strength to share with other schools across the network.
LAPD will host a 5 to 8-day orientation and in-service training program for our teachers and other staff in to kick off the LAPD program (typically at the beginning of the year). Teachers will work individually and in teams according to grade level, as well as with a group of teachers in order to align the curriculum, assessments, and standards across grade levels so that they teach a rich, coherent curriculum tied to state standards. The orientation will address the following topics:
In LAPD will help implement a Master Teacher program outlined in OpportunityCulture.org. The OpportunityCulture.org program was underwritten by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Walton Fund among others. The Arizona’s Maricopa County Education Service Agency (MCESA) received a $60m grant to implement the program in three smaller districts and one charter. The driving mission of OpportunityCulture.org is to keep great teachers in the classroom but allow them to mentor other teachers at their grade level or at their school. The LAPD Master Teachers are paid an additional stipend and have a lighter teaching load. Each grade level has a Master Teacher whose responsibility it is to mentor their team, disseminate information, analyze and correct teaching techniques and integrate the data driven instruction protocols identified by the Administration and Professional Development staff.
There are grant opportunities to expand the OpportunityCulture.org program. The focus of the grant would include the ability to expand the role of Master Teacher by utilizing technology that would allow the top Master Teachers in the Leman network to mentor and coach all the teachers at a particular grade level. This technology would also allow for Master Teachers to lead virtual Socratic discussions all around the Country using a standard Google Hangout connection. The best teachers, mentoring and instructing at the highest level is the goals of the OpportunityCulture.org system. Typically the Master Teacher Program is rolled out in year two in order to identify and assess which teachers possess the skill set to handle the master teacher responsibilities. Experience has shown us that the most effective way to delineate and manage the LAPD Master Teacher Program is to identify and offer three different tracks for the Master Teachers. These tracks include:
LAPD works closely with the LoTi, (Levels of Teaching Innovation), teacher evaluation and student engagement system. To successfully implement and track a training program, their needs to be common and measurable results based analysis. LoTi delivers consistency in teacher training, curriculum implementation and classroom observations become critical. The LoTi observation and tracking platform allows the LAPD Director the LAPD on campus staff, the Master Teachers and the site Administration to score and observe teaching staff. The scoring metrics is consistent and measurable and allows the LAPD department to identify issues and put in corrective actions.
LoTi was designed by Dr. Chris Moersch as a way to assess the most critical aspect of a scholar's education, a great teacher in the classroom. Dr. Moersch is the author of Beyond Hardware: Using Existing Technology to Promote Higher Level Thinking. Dr. Moersch has developed his program using the Danielson Rubric model which also incorporates a student engagement component known as H.E.A.T. (Higher order thinking, Engaged learning, Authentic connections, Technology use).
H.E.A.T is used as a lens to go beyond the lesson plan to what is actually happening with students. Many times the activities that the teacher plans do not result in the expected output from students. H.E.A.T. provides a common language to discuss and measure student output in a way that is tied to evidence-based practices.
LoTi involves teacher drop in assessments, real time and engaging feedback from the LAPD, staff and a quantifiable tool to gauge the H.E.A.T. student engagement. These tools and the feedback and re-training process gives our school network a common platform to assess the effectiveness of a teacher in the classroom. LAPD’s goal is to shift to deeper learning practices that work. LoTi builds a map for teachers, coaches, and leaders to create successful collaborative learning environments.