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GROTON — Starting with a 10 percent staff satisfaction rate, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Katie Novak has set high goals in her mission to raise that rate at least eight times over.

But first, as the Groton-Dunstable Regional School Committee met Wednesday, there were new faces at the table and a new chairman at the helm. Groton member Jeff Kubick was elected chairman, and Peter Cronin of Groton and Jennifer McKenzie of Dunstable were welcomed aboard.

Novak led the presentation on professional development, focusing on three areas.

“One approach we took was to survey the staff regarding what topics they would like to have covered,” Novak said. Having purchased a number of “Mindset Books,” they ran book clubs with staff and administrators.

Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck developed the Mindset idea, which her website describes like this:

“In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success — without effort. They’re wrong.”

The explanation continues: “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work — brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities. Teaching a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity in the worlds of business, education, and sports. It enhances relationships. When you read Mindset, you’ll see how.”

“We read them first and then provided items such as a guide, a reflection paper and suggested lessons to accompany the book club discussions,” Novak said. Eighteen books covering 18 topics for discussion were acquired and 52 people participated.

Some of the professional development work was the result of feedback from a statewide survey of teachers by the Massachusetts Department of Education. The DOE asked about their learning environments, and from there, the administration created a “multi-part series” as another component of professional development.

Novak said, “We requested proposals for ideas for a 10-hour mini-course that staff could take on our scheduled half-day professional days. We wanted to be sure to cover the various school levels as well as various academic topics…This ended up being seen as a very popular change. People loved the multi-part series and staff members were able to learn from their colleagues.”

The third professional development initiative was summer graduate courses offered in-house that would be credited through Fitchburg State University. The courses will be designed by Groton-Dunstable and approved by Fitchburg State, providing three credits per course.

Superintendent Dr. Kristan Rodriguez interjected, “She wouldn’t say this about herself, but Dr. Novak will be teaching some of the Fitchburg State-credited courses for us at no additional cost to the district as she is an adjunct teacher at Fitchburg State.”

Novak said the administration will conduct its own professional development survey regarding the staff’s satisfaction with the new initiatives.

“We had a starting base of 10 percent satisfaction and after implementing these programs this year, the satisfaction level increased to 25 percent,” said Novak.

Complimenting the approach to improving professional development, Cronin asked, “What would be an acceptable level of satisfaction?”

“It’s difficult to measure,” said Novak. “Would I be happy with 100 percent? Yes! But basically, we’re not going to feel like we’re done with the work until we reach at least 80 percent.”

Novak continued, “We want to celebrate learning. We are encouraging sharing at staff meetings and through websites. Our plan also includes putting together a professional development brochure so that everyone can see what’s going to be offered and what the options are.

“In summary, the three main highlights coming out of this year’s objectives,” Novak said, “is that we are proactively working, we are designing a brochure and increasing communications, and we are continuing to grow staff satisfaction.”

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