The Power of Peer to Peer Professional Development

Mercy High School has put significant time and resources into professional development (PD) for the past three years.  The impetus of this was Mercy 2.0 which included the adoption of the iPad as a 1:1 device, becoming a Google Apps for Education school, and adding a new, required Design Foundations course to our curriculum.

We supported Mercy 2.0 with several PD formats.  For example, we brought in several highly skilled presenters and trainers.  But the after school workshops and drop-in labs led by peers within the building seemed to produce the best results. Peers have instant credibility and know their audience.  I don’t regret any of the help we enlisted and paid for from professionals.  But the peer-to-peer training made a real impression on me.  I admired the generosity of the trainers and the willingness of our staff to take advantage of the help.

2012 Professional Development Drop-in “Lab”


We are taking another major technology step into the next school year. And all of the professional development has been peer-to-peer.  The decision to replace Moodle with Schoology as our learning management system (LMS) was made by teachers and advocated to staff by teachers.Their leadership in this endeavor has been most impressive.  Besides evangelizing the move, these teachers have also become early adopters during the school year that is ending, trouble-shooting issues that will save their colleagues a lot of trouble.

During the busy month of May, the following teachers have lead after-school workshops for their peers that have been very well attended:

Schoology Overview / Lisa Robinet (Social Studies)

Using Schoology Calendar / Susan Smith (Art)

Communicating with Schoology Alison Kline-Kator (Religious Studies)

Uploading Resources to Schoology / Jan Wampuszyc (science)

Creating Rubrics with Schoology / Lisa Robinet  (Social Studies)

Creating Quizzes and Tests with Schoology / Joe Gerardi (Religious Studies)

In the summer we will be offering one-to-one tutoring through our drop-in labs.  The persons above will be joined by the following volunteer tutors: 

Abigail Youngerman (English / Social Studies)

Angela Harris (English / Social Studies)

Eleasha Tarplin (Math)

Lauren Marquard (World Languages / Social Studies)

Renee Loubert (World Languages).

Any major systemic change like this has its hurdles, but the peer-to-peer PD is effectively laying the ground work for our transition.

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