By Vickie Baldwin, Director of Institutional Advancement

In the 2018-2019 academic year, Eastside Prep launched the faculty Professional Development Project (PDP). While slowed a bit by a year of COVID and remote learning, the PDP for faculty is well under way. Eleven faculty members have successfully completed the PDP and ten are currently engaged in the process. Matt Delaney, Director of Academic Design and Integration, describes the faculty PDP:

“Different than other industries, from the moment a teacher starts their career to the moment they retire, they have the same title: teacher. For thirty years, Dr. Macaluso has been incubating a model that provides a career ladder for independent school teachers.

The PDP is a growth-oriented model that is, definitively, collegial in nature. Each faculty candidate is supported for a full academic year by a Portfolio Feedback Team facilitated by a colleague. The facilitator plans meetings with the faculty member, moderates monthly team meetings, provides logistical support for class observations, and keeps the PDP process focused on the past, present, and future development of the faculty candidate.

As we look to EPS’s next twenty years, we continue to reflect on and evolve EPS programs like the PDP.”

Professional development is a community value at EPS, so as soon as the faculty Professional Development Project was well along, plans began to take shape to extend the program to EPS educators in all settings. Ian Corey-Boulet, Learning Support Specialist, is the first of the school’s faculty to begin work on a PDP focusing on Guided Study Hall. The process is being adapted to meet the needs of GSH teachers and Corey-Boulet started his PDP journey last fall.

As Corey-Boulet continues his process, work has already begun on a Staff Professional Development Project (SPDP) to make a similar process available to non-teaching employees. Beginning in fall 2022, an advisory group was formed to begin planning the process and anticipate the outcomes of the first iteration of the SPDP. Sam Uzwack, Head of School-elect, Tina Hadden, Director of Administrative Services, Casey Otley, Director of Finance and Operations, Cheryl Schenk Miller, Director of Enrollment Management, and I began meeting to outline the process and determine what portions of the faculty method would easily adapt to the process for the growing and disparate group of non-teaching employees. Uzwack and Schenk Miller have both served on PDP teams (with both serving on Ian Corey-Boulet’s PDP team currently) so they brought particular expertise and perspective to our discussions. In those conversations, several things quickly became clear:Ÿ

  • The Staff PDP process needed to mirror many aspects of the faculty version, with the process being as robust and the outcomes as meaningful for the employee and the institution.
  • While much of the faculty PDP would adapt to non-teaching staff, some new components and methods would need to be introduced.


  • To enrich an individual’s skill set while elevating the greater school community and culture in the process.
  • To help all employees feel the power of the mission and the vision in action.
  • Through a team framework, provide a wider view of the school community beyond day-to-day responsibilities.

And then three domains, or areas of focus, were identified. These closely mirror some aspects of domains identified for faculty but also take into consideration the unique aspects of non-teaching positions at a school:


Staff identify knowledge pertaining to their specific roles and responsibilities.


Staff indicate how their work within their specific team or discipline advances their own efforts and those of the school.


Staff reveal how community values and the school’s mission and vision are shown in their own work and efforts.

The Eastside Prep Staff PDP makes impactful professional development opportunities available to all employees, acknowledging
the important role that non-teaching staff play in the life of our school and in the lives of our students. Efforts on the Staff PDP continue as we begin working with our non-teaching staff over the coming months to finalize details for this exciting work. Once details are finalized, the first cohort will be identified this year and will finalize their SPDP process within the 2023-2024 academic year.

Finding Common Threads



What has serving on a team been like? Serving on a team has provided the opportunity to build empathy through understanding someone else’s role, responsibilities, and mindset. By design, there are multiple and varied roles within a school environment, and serving on a team allows a window into someone else’s world. I’m eager for other faculty and staff to share in this experience!

How have you helped shape the first PDP focused on learning support? We’ve been engaged in a group process to distill what is most essential in the work of all faculty—mentorship and intellectual engagement for the benefit of individual student needs—and how it translates to the learning support context. I appreciate that Ian has been willing to be the first to go through this process and work to shape it for others.

How has that effort helped you in outlining guidelines for the staff PDP? Much like finding the commonalities between teaching in a larger classroom and teaching in a learning support environment, we’ve been able to find common threads between the faculty process and staff process. Most specifically, we’ve noted that the core values do not change, no matter the role at Eastside Prep. That first common thread is leading us to other insights.

Taking Stock


What has the process been like for you? I’ve really enjoyed working on the PDP so far. One of my favorite parts of the process has been getting to share my work with colleagues who serve on different teams or teach in different disciplines. They’ve been able to learn more about what I do and give me feedback with a fresh perspective. I’ve always appreciated that the Learning Support program is central to the academic experience at EPS, and collaborating with a diverse group of colleagues to revise the PDP process for my role feels like a natural extension of that.

What are the benefits of going through the process? I’ve enjoyed having the chance to reflect on all aspects of my teaching practice as a learning specialist. This is my third year at EPS (and my second since we returned from remote school), so it feels like a great moment to take stock of the work I’ve been doing in the Guided Study Hall program, figure out what’s working well vs. what can be improved, and make a plan for the next few years so I can keep getting better. Basically, I’m doing the kind of work that I ask my students to engage in all the time.

What adaptations have been made to the process to fit better into your mode of teaching? The role of a learning specialist is more akin to an academic coach than a classroom teacher. I spend most of my time helping students make progress toward their goals and respond to the challenges they’re facing in their classes. A lot of this work happens one-on-one, and it looks
different for every student. Another big difference from classroom teaching is that you can’t always plan ahead for what’s going to happen in class. A big part of my job is showing up and being ready to help students deal with whatever challenges they’re confronting at the moment. One of the most interesting parts of my PDP has been figuring out how to describe this kind of work—which takes so many different forms, depending on the day—and develop criteria for evaluating it that are specific and measurable, but also flexible and open. At times, it’s been tricky to get the balance right, so I’m grateful that I’ve had lots of helpful input from my discipline group as well as my PDP team.