created at: 2010-10-27Bradley Solmsen, Director

Brandeis University’s Office of High School Programs.

Here is my secret: the innovation I am going to chronicle for you is not really an innovation. It’s something we all know about, but that not enough of us are doing.

I believe the single most important factor in predicting the success of our programs is the extent to which we invest in our educators – before, during and after their work. Beginning with the job description and first interview, we talk about our commitment to professional development with our teachers. We ask about their professional development, and their expectations and past experiences.

At Brandeis, before summer begins, we ask our staff to define a professional development investigation project that they will undertake. We provide a mentor/coach to work with them on their project during the summer. As their project progresses and at the end of the summer, each educator presents what he or she has learned.

We know this idea is not radical or even new. We also know that actually doing it is rare, and in our case refreshingly innovative. If and when we make the commitment to more comprehensive professional development, we also could all benefit from thinking about sharing what we have learned as broadly as possible. If you would like to learn more about what we do – we would love to share with you.