Accountability in professional learning isn’t about requiring things. It is about making sure the learning is owned by the professional (the teachers, the leaders, etc.).
I really appreciate this approach to Personalized PD from a school leader perspective. This is something that we are starting to work on as an approach for our whole district, to varying levels of success. The one thing that caught my attention more than anything else was the idea that by making PD “optional”, you were actually increasing accountability rather than lowering it. I find this idea fascinating as it is entirely contrary to the narrative that is being created around most professional learning opportunities.
The traditional narrative is that in order to set high expectations for teachers, you have to require the PD that supports those expectations. You are offering up that because you are making PD optional, you are setting the expectations higher for yourselves as leaders of the professional learning experiences and higher for teachers who can make their own choices for how to achieve the goals that you have set for them. I believe you are also encouraging growth and reflection conversations much more frequently because the teachers have to make choices that are in their own best interest. They cannot blame anyone else if they do not achieve what they hoped for.