Small Working Arcadia Groups (SWaGs) were launched in Arcadia Unified in October 2014 to provide educators with personalized professional development and participation in district-level problem solving opportunities. In contrast to traditional sit-and-get professional development, SWaGs allow for educators to meet with peers for seven half-days throughout the school year to share resources, collaborate over vertical challenges, and tackle some of the biggest issues facing our district.
SWaG topics are suggested by educators, and each group is facilitated by educators, as well. The response from staff has been overwhelmingly positive, and the contribution to the district as a whole has been significant. Outcomes have included the implementation of a broader visual and performing arts program in the district, the implementation of a new character education program, and stronger vertical collaboration of teachers across all subject areas.
Group topics have ranged from exploring the implementation of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), looking for unique ways to engage students during physical education, and making a recommendation for a standardized character education program for the district. All of these efforts have increased engagement and brought new life to the old world of professional development.