While arc offers extensive training opportunities for staff to sharpen their skills, Sterling Williams, arc‘s very own Special Projects Manager, reflects on the importance of professional development to him.
Professional Development. We sign up for it. We schedule it in our calendars. We even choose what lesson we’re going to learn. But in life, professional development doesn’t always work that way. Not for me, not for you, not for our students.
I’ve played the role of both trainer and trainee, when it comes to professional development; but perhaps the greatest and most significant learning experiences have happened unexpectedly. And while I’m tempted to run off a list of all of ways that I have been challenged this school year and had my own professional development, I remind myself of the students we serve.
For most, the support that we provide means the world to them. And I don’t just mean the tutoring, or the pizza, or even the free giveaways. I’m talking about our PRESENCE. On a daily basis, our young people see us as their heroes. And that goes for the new hires to the veterans and the front line staff to the home office team.
The arc shirt that unites us, shows everyone that we’re committed to being excellent for our students and bringing out that very same excellence in them. With so much uncertainty surrounding the field of After School, now is the time for us to raise the bar within ourselves and with our young people. And when we see how it brings out the best in our students, we must showcase it to the world, so there will be no doubt as to what role we play in developing the leaders of tomorrow.
That is our challenge. That is our professional development.
Sterling Williams is arc’s Special Projects Manager, overseeing our Language in Action Program and Lifesaver program in collaboration with LAUSD’s Beyond the Bell, among others.