By Mary Beth Rogers, ED.S, CFO, MSBO Board President, Executive Director of Business Services, Clarkston Community Schools
My articles since becoming President have been about my strategic initiatives. My previous articles discussed Generational Change and Mentoring. This article will complete my series of articles highlighting my strategic initiatives by focusing on Practical Professional Development. What is practical professional development? I initially heard the phrase in our Board discussions at the ASBO Leadership symposium. We were discussing current pressing issues facing schools. It came up that Business Officials and support staff in our departments need practical tools to complete their day-to-day tasks. After that discussion, the Board’s directive to MSBO staff was to enhance MSBO programming by offering practical professional development options for all of our members. MSBO staff has defined practical professional development as developing skill-based professional development focusing on hands-on, practical knowledge and everyday tools. To me practical professional development should build practical job applicable skills.
Practical professional development has become vital for all MSBO members. It is imperative we equip all our staff with the necessary tools to be successful. As we start leaving our positions and the new generation of folks take over our positions, it is our ethical responsibility to set them all up to be successful. I didn’t work hard for the past 23 years and 13 years at my current district just to have it all crumble after I retire. I want my predecessor and District to be protected. To be set up for the future. Understanding and embracing generational change, providing mentors and providing the practical tools to be successful will help guarantee that. Our members’ positions have become more complex over the past few years, more demands, more restricted state and federal grant funds, more tasks, and as a result more mistakes are happening. We need to make sure that our folks are qualified, and ready to take on our positions and have the necessary resources and support. It is the right thing to do.
Practical professional development can come in many forms such as educational videos, mentoring programs, user groups, and hands-on professional development. MSBO has already been taking action. MSBO’s professional development strategy has been to identify professional needs at a skill-based level, seek opportunities to partner with others for content and develop and foster grass root support and or user groups. MSBO staff are taking current steps that include: increasing webinar and or video opportunities, adding Group Solutions for other MSBO member tracks, adding a payroll, pupil accounting and human resources listserv. MSBO is creating opportunities for user groups and partnering with MSBO committees, other professional organizations and experts to develop hands-on practical trainings. Stay on the look out and take advantage of all of these new opportunities.
It takes a village. We are that village. MSBO, MSBO members and outside partners will need to work together to move forward, to set us all up for success, to navigate through these critical issues and to protect our Districts.