Professional Development

Mississippi District Shifts to Competency-Based Professional Development

The Columbus Municipal School District will move to a personalized, competency-based program for professional development. The district, which has more than 300 educators in nine schools, will work with BloomBoard, a company with a digital platform that brings together professional development resources and micro-credentialing to provide competency-based learning for teachers.

Teachers in the district will have access to collections of curated professional development resources that are designed to support the individual needs of each teacher. In addition, teachers will have access to virtual meeting rooms where they can collaborate with peers and mentors.

Educators in the Mississippi district will be able to earn more than 200 micro-credentials that demonstrate their skills in everything from data literacy and teacher leadership to deeper learning, blended learning, checking for understanding and STEM teaching practices. They will work in a competency-based atmosphere, which means they will receive micro-credentials for skills they learn — or may already have — as opposed to earning them for completing a certain prescribed course.

Micro-credentials are digital certifications that allow a person to show competency in a specific skill set. BloomBoard works with nonprofit Digital Promise, which provides the micro-credentials, issued by a number of organizations, including itself.

"We are especially excited about the potential to use micro-credentials to better recognize the achievements and competencies of our faculty," said Columbus Municipal School District Superintendent Philip W.V. Hickman.

BloomBoard CEO Jason Lange said, "We believe the key to improving student achievement lies with making sure teachers are supported in their professional growth. Micro-credentials are a compelling vehicle for delivering personalized opportunities for educators to continuously learn and improve their practice."

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.