Offering professional development and ongoing support is a key way to attract and retain high quality staff.
Pre-summer professional development topics can include:
- Curriculum planning
- Student engagement and family engagement
- Student behavior management
- CPR and First Aid
- On-site planning/classroom set up, allowing all staff to meet each other and prepare program space in advance of program start
In the Boston Summer Learning Community, many organizations utilize data trends collected from the prior year to inform staff professional development. If a program struggled in specific domains in the prior summer (examples: offering youth leadership opportunities or building positive relationships between staff and youth), program leaders will focus on these areas in staff trainings the following spring to improve performance and program quality. The Phillips Brooks House Association, a member of the Boston Summer Learning Community since 2013, presented on its approach to using data to improve staff training at the February 2015 Summer Learning Summit.
During summer, programs allot time each week for staff (in some cases, teachers and enrichment staff) to jointly plan.
This joint planning time can be complemented with formal performance feedback to further provide ongoing support to staff. Hale Reservation’s day camp serves thousands of students each summer in Westwood, MA. Check out their staff accountability and staff assessment rubrics, focused on setting expectations, conducting formal observations and check-ins, and helping staff succeed in summer.
Sites with a formal focus on academics may also provide feedback to teachers about summer instruction. Boston Public Schools presented on this topic at a May 2015 Summer Learning Community institute. Check out their insights into this important topic in our Summer Insight library, under the section entitled “Site Manager Summer Institute: Workshop 2”.