Planning for 2018

As we launch 2018 exploring the who, what why, and how of professional development for out-of-school time (OST) programs, this week we examine "How" you can use resources from Click2SciencePD to develop a professional development plan for yourself and your program.

I encourage you to think of professional development as a sequence of connected learning experiences that build on one another. This approach is based on best practices and research from the field. You can see some of the research that has informed this model on our research and evaluation page.

In planning you own professional development, I recommend you start with the Click2Science web lessons which are easy to use on your own whenever you have time. Each lesson builds a specific skill. They are designed so you can decide ho you want to develop your skills.

The Click2Science model of professional learning for OST program staff is intentionally designed to support adult learners and create experiences focused on developing skills and competencies. This model represents an ongoing cycle that blends a variety of learning experiences within a cycle of training experiences.

Click2SciencePD Professional Development Model: Web Lessons, Training, Practice, Meeting, Practice, Coaching, Practice, Repeat

Developing a Plan

here is a ten-step process you can use to develop your plan. If you want additional support, contact Click2Science. Our team is ready to offer advice or work with you to create a customized professional development plan for your program.

  1. Start with a Needs Assessment that focuses on evaluation of your program, your own observations, and staff feedback to identify your program needs.
  2. Use a Web Lesson to start your professional development cycle. These self-directed learning experiences will introduce the skill you are focusing on and engage staff.
  3. An Interactive Training Session will engage your whole team in a social, hands-on learning experience. Trainings encourage participants to experience and reflect on the skill. Videos let staff see the skill in practice and engage in a meaningful discussion. Use these tips to plan your training.
  4. Practicing the skill while leading STEM learning experiences with youth is an important component of the training plan. STEM activities for each skill let staff try out the activity they experienced or viewed in the training.
  5. Follow-Up Meetings use brief learning experiences to dig deeper into using the skill and discuss strategies as a group. Meeting resources can be delivered in-person or virtually. Use these tips to create experiences that meet the needs of social, experiential, and visual learners.
  6. Keep Encouraging Your Staff to Practice the skill in their regular programming.
  7. In-Person or Virtual Coaching Sessions support staff in reflecting on their learning, discussing how they are using the skill, and creating a plan for their ongoing learning and improvement. Use these tips to plan effective coaching sessions.
  8. Practice. The cycle continues as staff practice the skill they are developing or begin the cycle with a new Click2Science skill.
  9. Evaluate. After completing a series of ongoing professional development experiences, it is an essential part of the model to evaluate the impact of these efforts. You may use your regular program quality assessment or the self-confidence assessments developed by Click2Science.
  10. Use your program quality measures and professional development assessment to examine the progress you've made, identify new areas of development and initiate a new professional development plan.

I am confident that you will find this sequence of connected learning experiences helps you, or your staff grow and develop their skills in working with youth and leading STEM activities. Keep in touch with us at and let us know how your plan is going.