Utilizing More Tools in Your PD Toolbox

5 min read

Learn how this Arizona school district tackled professional learning challenges, even during the height of COVID-19, by investing in sustainable digital resources.

| By Gale in partnership with Dr. Gayle Galligan, Ed.D., Deputy Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, Deer Valley Unified School District, Phoenix, Arizona |

Deer Valley Unified School District is a pre-K through 12th-grade school district based in Phoenix, Arizona. It’s the fifth-largest district in the state and serves areas of Phoenix, Glendale, Peoria, Northwest Maricopa County, Anthem, New River, and Cave Creek. The district is made up of 39 schools and employs over 2,000 teachers. Dr. Gayle Galligan, deputy superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment has worked in various roles during her 34 years within the district and made the decision to purchase professional development (PD) collections, available on the Gale eBooks: Professional Learning platform. According to Galligan, these resources have been a great support for Deer Valley in initiatives they were involved with prior to and within this past year of COVID-19, and specifically for professional learning communities and teacher collaboration.

ALLOCATING FUNDS AND BEING EFFICIENT

In the past when Galligan and her team wanted to move into PD learning communities, they faced a common roadblock: cost. Teachers and administrators would agree that it’s imperative for the whole district to have access to professional development for it to be effective. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible.

“In a district, it’s rare that you can buy a professional development resource or books for 2,000 teachers. Having Gale eBooks: Professional Learning collection gives us that opportunity.”
— Dr. Gayle Galligan, Ed.D., Deputy Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, Deer Valley Unified School District, Phoenix, Arizona

It’s also challenging to find a title that is one size fits all. Teachers and administrators are at different experience levels and have unique needs, interests, and questions. What’s helpful to some teachers at the beginning of their career may be unnecessary for those with decades of experience.

District administrators use the collection by integrating it into their own professional development—with their staff or when they have teachers who need a specific skill set development. Galligan says, “It could be some of our new teachers to the profession or it could be teachers who are struggling in the classroom with virtual teaching.”

Buying the same book for 2,000 teachers never seemed like a practical option to Galligan.

FOCUSING ON SPECIFIC NEEDS

Deer Valley Unified School District’s website provides teachers with access to a digital library of Gale eBooks.

Once Galligan made the move to the Gale eBooks: Professional Learning collection, she noticed a big difference in how it could be utilized compared to print text. With Gale eBooks, teachers can go into the content themselves—anytime, anywhere, and on any device. They have the opportunity to explore many collections from a wide variety of popular publishers, such as ASCD, Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc., Corwin Press, Times 10 Publications, Solution Tree, and Stenhouse Publishers. Users can access thousands of digital titles based on high-priority interests, administrator and teacher self-care, virtual learning, and social and emotional learning (SEL)— and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)—themed collections. Galligan adds, “We want it to be intrinsic. If therefore you want to learn, you now have this as an option.”

As a former principal, Galligan says she would’ve loved to have had the Gale eBooks: Professional Learning collection. “I spent a ton of money on resources, and they sat in a room outside the library and weren’t utilized in the way I hoped, based on the money that was spent.”

“I know we are moving forward, and have for the last three years with grading and reporting, and our Gale PD eBooks [Gale eBooks: Professional Learning] have been a large component of how we train and how we build a background understanding.”
— Dr. Gayle Galligan, Ed.D., Deputy Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, Deer Valley Unified School District, Phoenix, Arizona

A HUB FOR LIFELONG LEARNING

In light of the recent need for remote learning, Galligan says, “I think that has actually pushed our teachers to embrace resources that may not have been as important to them before because now they see the value and the efficiency of using some of our online resources . . . and most of our teachers have become far more comfortable, confident, and competent in online supports and online resources.”

According to Galligan, the Gale eBooks: Professional Learning collection gives them more tools in their toolbox—especially as they sell teachers and schools on the idea of grading and reporting. She adds that having Professional Learning gives them leverage to help their teachers and students cope with change.

“Social emotional learning is not just a buzzword. It’s an actual need not only for our kids but our teachers and our administrators as well. It’s just something I think that we’ve always had a need for, but the last year with the COVID shutdowns and the back and forth between a person in remote learning, has had an impact on how safe children and adults feel.”
— Dr. Gayle Galligan, Ed.D., Deputy Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, Deer Valley Unified School District, Phoenix, Arizona

The Gale eBooks: Professional Learning collection has been a game-changer for Deer Valley Unified School District. It’s become a hub for professional learning that isn’t brick and mortar. And it has brought efficiency and valuable content to a wider audience.

To learn more about adding Gale eBooks: Professional Learning resources to your district, visit gale.com/pdebooks.


Jason Everett


Meet the Contributor


Dr. Gayle Galligan, Ed.D., Deputy Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, Deer Valley Unified School District, Phoenix, Arizona.

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