Graduate Courses & Professional Learning

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Graduate Courses & Professional Learning

Graduate courses and professional learning opportunities are designed to provide participants with further information around an UP Initiative’s core concepts. In addition to deepening knowledge, the courses provide opportunities for individuals to reinforce the principles introduced into their own professional practices and to share their insights, learning, methods, and growth from this work with others. This plants the seeds to establish school-wide understanding and practices, the beginning of transformation, and to prepare for future work. For most courses, enrollment in an UP Initiative is a requirement.

For 2020-2021, the costs for courses and professional learning is as follows:

  • Completed graduate or undergraduate course earning 3 credits through our partner Southern New Hampshire University = $2049
  • Same completed professional learning course without credit for 40-45 hours =$1689
  • Completed graduate or undergraduate course earning 1 credit through our partner SNHU = $683
  • Same completed professional learning course without credit for 15 hours = $563

UP’s professional learning and graduate courses are an opportunity for participants to be a part of a learning experience through online (Google Classroom), in-person, and virtual live sessions. Each course builds upon and deepens the work of the aligned initiative. Courses are also intended to be a Professional Learning Community (PLC) where individual work and growth is amplified through collaborative effort.

Courses are designed to provide participants with further information around an initiative’s core concepts. In addition to deepening knowledge, the courses provide opportunities for individuals to reinforce the principles introduced into their own professional practices and to share their insights, learning, methods, and growth from this work with others (including those beyond the PLC). This plants the seeds to establish school-wide understanding and practices, the beginning of transformation, and to prepare for future work.

In many cases, a course also provides time and space for work to support youth partners in an initiative.

During in-person meetings the course participants will meet together as a professional learning community to provide the opportunity to:

  • Gain an understanding of the initiative as a whole.
  • Engage in problem solving with shared implementation challenges.
  • Further explore strategies as a learning community.
  • Develop ideas and plans for sharing their work, growth, and ideas with colleagues.

The majority of the course work will occur on a virtual (Google Classroom) platform. This work will take place regularly. Routine checking and use of the virtual classroom is critical and can be expected to be done regularly. The classroom will be the primary avenue where faculty will provide consultation throughout this course.

As part of the work for the course, participants will review materials as well as read core texts. Participants will also explore additional articles and resources, be asked to reflect on and share the impact these have on your professional practices/approach to teaching, and comment on the reflections of others in the PLC. This will optimize the community of committed educators who are engaged in this work. The site will also house a rich compendium of supplemental resources.

Within the classroom, course participants will:

  • Reflect on their learning and shifts in their professional practices.
  • Identify and discuss the impact of these shifts on the learning of youth with whom they work.
  • Reflect on what others are learning and practicing.
  • Discuss problem solving, in particular around implementation and work to establish school-wide understanding and practices.
  • Document and share effective strategies.

Proficiency-based Assessment:

Each course is designed on a proficiency-based model with identified learning targets. You will regularly assess and document your evolving level of competency in these areas, pursuing learning opportunities to reach mastery.

Written reflections regarding proficiency targets and application of principles to professional practices will be synthesized and shared with the instructors in mid-year and end-of-year reflection papers or via other chosen mediums.

Generally, these broader reflections will ask you:

  • What are the major take-aways from your learning?
  • What are the implications of this new learning on your practice?
  • What specifically has changed in your thinking since you started this course?
  • How can your learning be illustrated by describing the journey of one learner, and your relationship with that learner?Assessment Policy:The learning that occurs in each course is highly individualized and assessment should occur based on each individual’s ongoing improvement and progress. Evidence for that progress is therefore determined based on regular self and instructor assessment throughout the varying activities and discussions during every session, as well as:
    1. Reflections on readings and responses to others’.
    2. Mid- and end-of year reflections.
    3. Discussions and activities.

    Quality, professional writing and/or work is expected in all areas.

    In many cases, given the project-based work at hand, consistent follow-through with site-based work, like weekly or bi-weekly site-based team meetings to plan and implement actions, is necessary and also part of assessment.

    Unlike a fully evolved proficiency system, a course requires participants to receive their final assessment in a letter grade form for credit (through our SNHU partner) or professional learning hours. In many cases this is also necessary for districts to make final payment for the professional learning. You will therefore include in your final paper a rationale for a grade, based on your concluding assessment in the domains noted above. Instructors will review this rationale and issue or amend the proposed grade as deemed appropriate. If the grade is to be amended, the instructor(s) will discuss this with you in depth.

Attendance Policy*:

Attendance at in-person and virtual live sessions is very important in order to share your experiences and continual learning, and to contribute to the collaborative effort of the PLC. A great deal of dialogue, planning, problem solving, and instruction in a course will occur during in-person and virtual live sessions.

It is therefore mandatory to attend all sessions. Please plan ahead: look at your school’s complete master schedule and make the work a priority for the year.

In the rare event of an emergency, you would need to initiate immediate communication with your instructor to determine how to proceed.

*Please see a specific initiative’s syllabus, information flyer, and other communications for specific dates and times.

Contact Bruce Perlow

Email: bruce@upforlearning.org