Scheduling a meeting with your administrator can feel daunting. Whether you’re gearing up to discuss a difficult schedule, make a plea for more budget money, or meet about a recent observation, chances are, nerves are high. After all, your administrator holds a lot of power.
It’s normal to be nervous, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to have meaningful discussions with them. Administrators want their teachers to be the best they can be. Unfortunately, sometimes, they just have no idea how to support their art teachers. This can be true of Fine Arts Directors as well. Many have a strong background in music but don’t know exactly what it takes to run an art classroom.
That’s where PRO Learning comes in, and asking your administrator to pay for it on your behalf is much easier than you think. In fact, teachers in over 200 school districts across the country already get access to PRO without having to spend a single cent themselves!
Let’s talk about why having access to PRO is so important and how to make your administrator jump at the chance to purchase it for you and your colleagues.
To dive into this important topic, I consulted with the people on our team who know the most about helping administrators come on board, the AOEU District Sales Managers! They have the insider knowledge to help you make the most of your ask, and I’m incredibly excited to share what I learned from them.
What is PRO?
If you haven’t heard yet, PRO is on-demand, personalized professional development just for art teachers. The PRO Library is comprised of dozens of Learning Packs, each containing engaging videos and premium downloadable resources. You can browse hundreds of videos and downloads in the current library. Plus, we regularly add new Learning Packs. Art teachers everywhere are sure to find content relevant to their needs.
And just think, with PRO, you may never have to sit through a PD day about math ever again!
Getting Your Administrator On Board
When art teachers see PRO, the excitement is palpable. “Oh my gosh! It’s like Netflix for art teachers!” is something we’ve heard again and again. Teachers love the fact that they can dive deep into topics that interest them whenever they want and use PRO on PD days where they’d otherwise be sitting through irrelevant content.
But, what might surprise you is that administrators are just as excited about PRO as teachers are.
As AOEU Founder, Derek Balsley, put it, “For the longest time, finding quality PD platforms for art teachers has been literally impossible. Now, there’s a personalized solution for art teachers. Admins are jumping on it because they’ve always wanted to give their art teachers high-quality, equitable PD, and now there’s an affordable way to do that!”
AOEU’s District Sales Manager, Simeon Cardwell, echoed this sentiment. He told me, “Highlighting that this is an ‘easy button’ for administrators that can save time and provide high-quality ongoing PD is a win/win for both the teachers and the district.”
As I mentioned, we already work with over 200 school districts who invest in PRO for their teachers. Let’s dive into how to add your district to this list!
Gearing Up to Ask
You might be wondering how to turn the excitement about PRO into a tangible result. I asked the AOEU District Sales Managers for some specific tips to help you out. Tapping into their knowledge about what has worked for art teachers in the past, here’s what they told me.
3 Tips for Asking Your Administrator to Pay for PRO Learning
1. Don’t be discouraged by the cost.
It can feel difficult for art teachers to ask for money on their behalf. The truth is, PRO is actually much more affordable than similar platforms for general classroom teachers.
As Simeon put so well, “Administrators will likely see PRO as a great investment. Art teachers should enter the meeting with confidence in their own value and in the value of a resource that pays for itself many times over.” After all, PRO will boost morale, reduce employee turnover, and fulfill governmental requirements for personalized professional development. What administrator could say no to that!?
2. There is power in numbers.
Before your meeting, it’s a great idea to reach out to other art teachers in your district. AOEU’s Chief Growth Officer, E.J. Caffaro, spelled out why this is so important. “Since art teachers don’t get to see each other very often, they might think they are the only ones who have discovered AOEU. Most likely, other art teachers in the district are reading this same article and also thinking about asking their admins for access to PRO.”
Plus, as Simeon told me, “If multiple teachers are united in the belief that PRO is a valuable resource for them and their growth as teachers, they have a stronger voice with their leadership.”
In short, the more art teachers you can get on board with the idea, the more persuasive your argument will be!
One more reason to get a group together is cost. A district can get bulk pricing options. You can contact the Sales Managers at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more. Or, give AOEU a call at (515) 650-3198. We will make sure you get the information you need!
3. Enter the meeting with a clear written plan.
According to AOEU’s National Sales Manager, Ben Jensen, “Teachers need to show they’ve put a lot of thought into the purchase.” He advises teachers to bring a written plan that spells out the advantages of PRO. Furthermore, Ben says, “If a teacher can take the time to connect the features of PRO to their needs in the classroom, an administrator will find it harder to turn down.”
In addition to preparing your own thoughts, Simeon suggests taking the handy download below to your meeting. Having a hard copy of the PRO brochure to leave with your administrator will make a lasting impression!
Hopefully, entering the meeting with these three tips will get you a “yes.” However, your administrator might have some questions or concerns for you, and it doesn’t hurt to be prepared!
Common Administrator Concerns and How to Address Them
While many administrators will be excited to provide you with the type of professional development you deserve, they might have some questions about PRO. Let’s look at a few common inquiries and how to handle them. Of course, it’s a good idea to connect your admin with our Learning Advisors (email@example.com) to go over any specific concerns they have!
Question 1: How can I be sure this is something that will actually get used?
Administrators might be worried they’re shelling out money for yet another PD offering that will just “sit on the shelf.” Your answer to this question should be that you’ve thought about how to fit PRO into your schedule. You might mention you’d like to use PRO during scheduled professional development days, to earn PD hours throughout the school year, or even at home to gather new ideas for upcoming lessons.
Furthermore, many art teachers are using PRO to help reach personal or district goals, either on their own or in PLCs.
Highlighting the ability to watch videos and download resources at any time is key here. Another thing to mention is how the PRO Library is regularly updated with new Learning Packs. This means there are always new videos and resources to explore!
Question 2: We already have professional development planned for the year. Why do we need this, too?
According to Simeon, sometimes administrators discount PRO because they already have PD scheduled for the year. His advice is to “Challenge the notion of ‘business as usual.’” Is a few full or half-days of PD a few times a year truly adequate?
This is an opportunity for administrators to provide you with professional development that is truly meaningful. This personalized, art-specific PD will allow you to grow as a leader in your school, district, and field.
Question 3: I don’t really have time to take on setting up a new system.
Another concern administrators might have is about the time it takes to get PRO up and running. Luckily, AOEU has an amazing system in place to help a school district with the onboarding process. Our School Success Manager, Cindy Tolliver, provides customized virtual training, so everyone feels comfortable and confident. Cindy told me, “New apps and platforms can be intimidating, so we feel it’s important to show how user-friendly PRO is and offer opportunities for teachers to ask questions as they get started.”
Here’s Cindy at a virtual training. Look at all that group of happy art teachers with their administrator!
In addition, there are built-in touchpoints to see how things are going. Finally, the AOEU team is never more than a phone call or email away to help with anything your administrator might need!
Question 4: How do I know this content is vetted? What kinds of standards does this content meet?
Admins will be happy to know that PRO content producers are experts in the field of art education. In addition, where appropriate, PRO content is aligned to the National Core Art Standards. Each time AOEU develops a PRO Learning Pack, we consider how the content supports student growth and make sure the ideas shared can be applied in any art room.
Each Learning Pack is also aligned to AOEU’s Professional K-12 Art Educator Teaching Framework. The Framework is comprised of 56 competencies that aim to optimize art teacher effectiveness.
Finally, your administrator can feel good about the fact that this product is coming from The Art of Education. We are a leading source of professional development in the art education world. Our website is visited over one million times each month by hundreds of thousands of art teachers. Over 70,000 art teachers subscribe to our emails, and we serve over 1,500 graduate students each year.
For More Information
If you would like more information about PRO Learning or want to connect your administrator with our team, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Learning Advisors at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our phenomenal customer service team would also be happy to help get you the information you need. You can call (515) 650-3198 or email email@example.com.
So, what are you waiting for!? As Simeon put it so well, “In my experience talking to teachers and administrators, they both want the same thing. Teachers want engaging PD that makes their teaching better and their classrooms easier to run, and admins want to provide it.” Your administrators would love to fill this need for you, but they might not know PRO even exists!
Finally, I’d like to leave you with these wise words from Simeon, “Your request is important. If you approach your leadership with confidence and a plan, you will have a high degree of success. We have over one hundred districts this year who use PRO who hadn’t heard of it a year ago to testify to that.”
What questions do you still have about PRO?
Is there any other information we can provide to make talking to your administrator easier?
Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.