When the Philippine Professional Standards for Teachers (PPST) became a DepEd policy in 2017,  Ms. Marylou Argamosa—Principal I of Palapas Elementary School in Ligao City—was hoping there would be similar standards to guide school heads in supporting their teachers.

“In my mind, our professional practice as principals would be better guided if we had a set of standards that is easy to understand and follow, and can enable us to complement the work and career continuum of our teachers,” said Ms. Argamosa. “When I started working with RCTQ and DepEd in validating every domain, strand and indicator of the draft Philippine Professional Standards for School Heads (PPSSH), I said to myself ‘This is it. This is what we’re waiting for’.

Ms. Argamosa’s insights were shared by Dr. Marife Morcilla, Education Program Supervisor at the Division of Lipa City, Batangas, about the Philippine Professional Standards for Supervisors (PPSS). Both documents are now official policies of the Department of Education.

School heads and supervisors from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) pose with the team from the BHROD and members of the PPSSH-PPSS technical working group during the orientation on the leadership standards held at Hotel Koresco, Cagayan de Oro City on 10-12 December 2019

“We are very excited that DepEd supervisors now also have our own guide for our professional practice with the PPSS. This is the first time that supervisors have a national document to follow as we perform our tasks in our respective districts and offices,” Dr Morcilla said.

Both Ms. Argamosa and Dr Morcilla are among the almost 50,000 school leaders nationwide who will put the PPSSH and the PPSS into practice. DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones recently signed DO 24, s. 2020 or the National Adoption and Implementation of the PPSSH, and DO 25, s. 2020 or the National Adoption and Implementation of the PPSS. The two department orders were released this week for national implementation.

‘Preparing DepEd for transition into the future’

In a statement, Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said “the changes of various national and global frameworks in education and the changing characteristics of our 21st century learners necessitate a call for the rethinking of our professional standards for our school heads and supervisors.”

“This is part of our efforts to prepare the Department for the transition into the future. We want to develop effective school leaders beyond our terms and beyond our lifetime for the future of education,” said Secretary Briones added.

RCTQ worked with the Bureau of Human Resource and Organizational Development (BHROD) and the National Educators Academy of the Philippines (NEAP) in the development and validation of the standards and their respective policies since 2018.

RCTQ joined the TWGs for the PPSSH and the PPSS during their presentation of the draft standards to the DepEd regional directors on 24 September 2019.

DepEd Undersecretary for Planning, Human Resource and Organizational Development, and Field Operations Jesus Lorenzo Mateo said that the development of the PPSSH and the PPSS is one of the Department’s key reforms in improving the quality of education.

“Quality learning outcomes are produced by quality teachers, who are supported by effective school leaders,” Undersecretary Mateo said. “Ensuring the delivery of quality education requires clear professional standards that are responsive to the demands of the dynamic education environment.”

BHROD Director Jennifer Lopez said workloads of school heads and supervisors have increased over the years and many of them end up engaging more in administrative functions.

“These policies will help them focus also on their roles as school leaders that support teacher quality,” Director Lopez said.

Product of Philippines-Australia partnership

The landmark policies are a product of a long-standing partnership between the Philippine and  Australian governments through Australia’s support to RCTQ in improving the Philippine education through applied research on teacher quality.

“The development and adoption of professional standards for school heads, supervisors and teachers are significant milestones in DepEd’s efforts to improve teaching quality,” said Richard Sisson, acting Australian Ambassador. “We are pleased that in time for National Teachers’ Month, DepEd has adopted these evidence-based policies, which will help align the education system with global standards while responding to the Philippine context.”

“Teaching quality has been at the core of Australia’s education cooperation with the Philippines for more than 30 years, and we look forward to continuing our productive partnership,” Mr Sisson said.

With Australia’s support, a partnership between the Philippine Normal University (PNU) and the University of New England (UNE) Australia through the SiMERR National Research Centre was established in 2012, giving birth to RCTQ.

Professor John Pegg, Director of the SiMERR National Research Centre, said that “the new standards for school leaders that reflect career stages provide a groundbreaking development internationally, and they will support the  development of human capital in the Philippines.”

The PPSSH and the PPSS aim to i) set out clear expectations of school heads and supervisors along well-defined career stages of professional development from beginning to exemplary practice; ii) engage them to actively embrace a continuing effort to attain high levels of proficiency; and iii) provide support for professional learning and development, help identify development needs and facilitate the uniform assessment of performance.

Contribution of PNU and RCTQ to Philippine education

Philippine Normal University President Dr. Bert J. Tuga said the new policies demonstrate PNU’s contributions in upgrading the quality of Philippine education.

“As the National Center for Teacher Education, our mandate is to assist DepEd in charting policies that improve teacher education and help school leaders deliver their respective work in leading and ensuring quality of education in public schools,” Dr. Tuga said.

“The issuance of these policies, which complement the previously-issued policy adopting the RCTQ-supported Philippine Professional Standards for Teachers (PPST), strengthened PNU’s reputation as leader in teacher education,” Dr. Tuga added. The PPST was officially adopted and implemented by DepEd in August 2017 through DO 42, s. 2017.

RCTQ Director Dr. Gina Gonong said the professional standards “support our school leaders to be most effective as they focus on deepening their pedagogical expertise, capacity to lead teaching and learning that has a positive impact on student outcomes, strong interpersonal skills, and management and leadership skills, including business and strategic acumen.”

As of 31 August 2020, DepEd employs 43,448 school heads and 5,550 supervisors nationwide.

Nationally-validated standards

Photo shows the PPSSH-PPSS project team led by RCTQ Director Dr. Gina Gonong (seated, 3rd from left), members of the the technical working group (TWG) and the regional facilitators during the orientation on the leadership standards at Red Hotel, Cubao, Quezon City on 3-5 December 2019.

In 2019, some 5,000 school heads and supervisors from 16 regions converged in 17 various regional locations nationwide to participate in the series of national validation of the draft standards organized by DepEd and RCTQ. The validation helped verify the proposed domains, strands, and indicators across four career stages vis-à-vis the realities in their actual practice. They ensured that the final versions of the standards represent the voices of the education leaders who will eventually be in the forefront of their implementation.

The development and validation of the PPSSH and the PPSS were overseen by its Advisory Board chaired by BHROD Director Jennifer Lopez and co-chaired by NEAP Director John Arnold Siena. The Advisory Board’s members were regional directors Dr. Arturo B. Bayocot (R10), Wilfredo E. Cabral (4A, formerly of NCR), Dr. Juliet A. Jeruta (former RD of Region 7), Dr. Ramir B. Uytico (R8), Dir. Ma. Gemma M. Ledesma (R6), Dr. Gilbert T. Sadsad (R5), and Dr. Diosdado M. San Antonio (former regional director of Region 4A and current Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction). Outside of DepEd, the Board’s members were Dr. Evelyn C. Cruzada, former Assistant Secretary, Office of the Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Juan Miguel M. Luz of Asian Institute of Management; and Ms.  Ma. Lourdes D. Pantoja, former Director IV, BHROD.

When the Philippine Professional Standards for Teachers (PPST) became a DepEd policy in 2017,  Ms. Marylou Argamosa—Principal I of Palapas Elementary School in Ligao City—was hoping there would be similar standards to guide school heads in supporting their teachers. 'In my mind, our professional practice as principals would be better...