Experience Matters in Professional Development for Schools

Experience Matters in Professional Development for Schools

This post is taken from a conversation with Joseph Maiello, Professional Development specialist for CITE. CITE offers CTLE-Approved Professional Development for schools in NYC. Last year alone we helped over 170 schools, working with administrators to achieve their vision for their schools. CITE’s professional staff of PD facilitators is built on experience. All of the CITE PD facilitators are experienced administrators at the building and/ or district level, who adapt any topic to fit the needs of the particular school they’re working with.

Experience matters

Since CITE’s PD facilitators adapt every topic to the needs of the particular school, or build a topic from the ground up along with the administrators, our depth of knowledge makes a big difference in the quality of professional development schools get.

How do schools pick Professional Development topics? 

Sometimes an administrator will say, what are the other schools doing? What seems to be the topic everyone needs? Or the administrator may know that with the ELLs in their school, there’s a certain thing to look at, and we build something around that need. We’ll think about ways to help teachers be more inclusive in that case, or work on specific classroom strategies. 

For more popular topics in professional development for teachers and parents, click here.

How does the CITE PD staff’s depth of experience help a school?

Sometimes, a principal will ask how other schools responded to a workshop and what made it effective: how many hours they devoted, how the workshop went, and how it helped afterwards. We have a wealth of experience to draw from, and can provide specific instances of what worked and what didn’t.

What is the main way in which CITE’s PD Professionals work?

I always take the road that this is a trust building operation. People have been burned by PD before (from other companies). Sometimes a school’s experience with PD leaves them cold — they have a workshop, the person leaves, you never hear about them again. That’s not how we work. We see our people. We’re around. You’re not just the guy at COSTCO checking things off the truck.

I’ve found that honesty works, experience works. An administrator will ask us details upfront, like: if we do the workshop, how much time until we see the effects of this? What should we expect? We’ll tell them, people have to come for a certain amount of time, and if we do it we’ll do the workshops this particular way, based on what the administrator needs. After that the staff come for this number of visits, so we can see how this is developing. If after the 3rd or 4th week we’re not seeing change, we need to take a different approach. It’s all about the school’s best interest. We work from this framework: what are we seeing and how do we adapt? And we base our observations off of the depth of experience our PD facilitators bring. If our people give a suggestion and it’s not working, we have to adapt, drawing from our experience.

What about when the Chancellor rolls out new guideline or initiatives? Can our PD staff help schools with those?

We’re all plugged in, our facilitators. What does the chancellor want schools to work on? We know that. It’s our job to stay current. We’ll tell the schools all about them. It’s like this: the chancellor stresses student engagement and learning, so here are our options to translate that into actionable steps for your staff. What is directed instruction? Let’s break that down into helpful actions.

Schools may not be clear at first, because there is so much coming at Principals. But we are clear on these, and we can work with their staff. What’s coming down from the Chancellor and how can you translate that to your staff? We can make that happen.

Can we do something in directed learning? Yes we can. Student led instruction. Yes. There is so much coming at a principal, we can take translating these initiatives into meaningful classroom work off their desk. It’s breaking down the new buzz words into actions. We’re an ally, a confidante, a support. We want you to tap into the depth of knowledge from our facilitators. How that occurs is up to what you need.

So, CITE’s facilitators don’t use a one-size-fits-all approach?

This is the principal’s footprint, not ours. We can give you ideas, but it’s what the principal sees and wants to address. We can tell you some ways we’ve approached a topic in various schools, and you can have any variation you want. Because of the number of schools we’ve worked in, and the number of variations our staff has designed, we are comfortable making these workshops custom fit. So, experience matters in this way. Think of it as a wedding, you hire a DJ and you tell him what to play. It’s not his wedding. The DJ doesn’t tell you. Same with the PD.

How many schools have CITE’s PD facilitators worked in?

Last year, we worked in over 170. In the past 3 years, we’ve been in over 450. over the past 8 years, we’ve worked in 750.

What about parent workshops?

We have a whole range of topics, from Video Screen and Game Addiction, to Cyber Bullying, to non-screen related topics like Homework Without Tears. And we can present in Spanish, Mandarin, Portuguese, French or Italian.

For more popular topics in professional development for teachers and parents, click here.


Carl Sanfilippo: 516-817-8435 • Carl@citeprograms.com 

Joe Maiello: 917-843-9221• JoeM@citeprograms.com

Matt Zagami: 516-426-2786 • Matt@citeprograms.com


CITE is the Center for Integrated Training and Education. For over 25 years, CITE has and continues to train TEACHERS (Early ChildhoodProfessional CertificationSpecial Ed,Grad CoursesBilingual coursesDASA); COUNSELORS (SchoolMental Health MastersAdvanced Certificate); and ADMINISTRATORS (SBLSDLPublic AdminDoctorate) in all five boroughs of NYC, Yonkers, Westchester, and Long Island.

CITE PD offers CTLE-approved in-school professional development tailored to your school’s needs and your vision. Info: citepd.com

We now also offer an undergraduate degree completion program in psychology.