Recommendation One:

Ensure professional development provides teachers with the knowledge and skills necessary to work with all learners.


Role Group Strategies:

Establish/adopt standards for school and district professional development opportunities. 

Sights and Sounds of Implementing Standards
Hirsh, S.  (2004, February). Results. National Staff Development Council
This article from the National Staff Development Council describes what a person would see and hear in a school district with standards-based professional development. The real-world examples map out steps that schools and districts could take to make standards-based professional development a priority.

Test Your Professional Development IQ
The National Staff Development Council. (2003, August/September)
This quiz, created by the National Staff Development Council, allows school leaders and community members to evaluate their understanding of quality professional development and to reflect on the nature of effective learning experiences for teachers.  Along with the correct answers to each quiz question, the website includes references for further reading and suggestions for various situations in which the quiz can spur productive discussion.

The Delivery, Financing, and Assessment of Professional Development in Education:  Pre-service Preparation and In-Service Training
The Finance Project.  (2003, November 2).
This report explains the current context of professional development with regard to the No Child Left Behind Act and summarizes a wide range of information on the requirements, delivery, financing and assessment of professional development for teachers, principals, and superintendents.

How do School Districts Affect the Quality of Professional Development Provided to Teachers?  Results from a National Sample of Districts
Desimone, L., Porter, A.C., Birman, B.F., Garet, M.S., and Yoon, K.S.  (2002) Teachers College Record, 104(7), 1265-1312.
Based on a study of the professional development practices of over 400 schools nationwide, this report outlines supports necessary to increase the capacity of districts to provide high-quality professional development.  It details the importance of aligning professional development to system standards, using data to drive decision-making, focusing on continuous improvement rather than isolated learning opportunities, and involving teachers in the planning of professional development.

NSDC Standards for Staff Development
The National Staff Development Council (2001)
The National Staff Development Council is widely recognized as a leader in the area of professional development for educators.  This web link connects to a list of standards developed by the NSDC for professional development opportunities.  The standards are broken into three categories:  Context Standards, Process Standards, and Content Standards.  These standards are useful as a “measuring stick” for communities examining the types of professional development opportunities available to their teachers.
Teaching and Learning:  Meeting the Challenge of High Standards, Professional Development
A+ Education Foundation
This chapter from a report by the A+ Education Foundation examines professional development.  It includes sections on setting high standards for professional development and moving beyond “sit and get” professional development sessions.  It also details the characteristics of high quality professional development opportunities that have the potential to increase student achievement.

Redefine teacher renewal requirements, mandating participation in job-embedded learning opportunities that target student needs.

Improving Instruction Through Collaboration
Jolly, A.  (2001, February).  Middle Ground.
Many times teachers are painfully aware of the shortcomings of their own instruction.  Frustrated by the isolation that plagues teaching and a lack of sufficient time, however, they often feel powerless to change the situation.  This article from the National Middle School Organization was written by Anne Jolly, an accomplished teacher from Alabama.  She expresses her feelings about her own professional development experiences and describes her efforts to bring change to her school by advocating for and coordinating whole faculty study groups.

Teachers Take Charge of Their Learning: Transforming Professional Development for Student Success
NEA Foundation for the Improvement of Education. (1996).  Washington, DC.
This extensive guide identifies ways in which schools and districts can provide time and funding for professional development, ways in which teachers can accept responsibility for their own learning, and ways that the community at large can support professional learning.

The Best Staff Development is in the Workplace, Not in a Workshop
Dufour, R.  (2004, Spring). Leading Edge, 25(2).
One positive change that is occurring in schools is the increasing tendency to recognize that the best professional development is job-embedded, happening in the workplace rather than a workshop.  This article by Rick DuFour from the Journal of Staff Development (Spring, 2004) examines this trend, focusing in particular on the steps that must be taken to ensure that job-embedded professional development produces results.  Four key questions about the nature of a school’s professional development opportunities and eight tips for leaders “who hope to foster powerful site-based staff development” are provided.

It’s About Time
Wade, C.  (2001). Teaching Quality in the Southeast: Best Policies and Practices, 7.
In this brief, a Wake County Public School teacher outlines the demands placed on a teacher’s time during the typical school day and discusses the importance of providing teachers with time for professional collaboration and reflection.

Develop a “model schools” program, recognizing schools and districts with effective professional development programs.

Profiles of Selected Promising Professional Development Initiatives
Cohen, C., Gerber, P., Handley, C., Kronley, R., and Parry, M.  (2001, June). The Finance Project
This report prepared by the Finance Project in 2001 profiles sixteen diverse professional development models. The descriptions include information on the program structure, costs and financing, results, and lessons learned from the particular model.

Schools to Watch
The Education Development Center.  (2004).
The National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform has established a program called “Schools to Watch,” which highlights middle schools nationwide that are academically excellent, developmentally responsive and socially equitable. This site outlines the Schools to Watch program and provides a virtual tour of four middle schools from across America. One of the chief criteria used in selecting schools to highlight was a high-quality, results-driven staff development program.

Teachers Who Learn, Kids Who Achieve:  A Look at Schools with Model Professional Development
WestEd Regional Educational Laboratory. (2000).
Schools that emphasize teacher learning generally experience increases in student achievement as well.  Investments in teacher learning therefore are worthwhile for communities and districts.  But what should teacher learning opportunities look like?  To address this question, the U.S. Department of Education developed the National Awards Program for Model Professional Development.  This report examines eight schools recognized by the National Awards Program for their investment in teacher learning and details common practices shared by these schools that acknowledge the importance of student centered goals, on-going job-embedded informal learning, and time for learning and collaboration.

Provide incentives for businesses to enter into partnerships with schools and districts.

Business Partnership Resource Page.
The George Lucas Educational Foundation.
This webpage features articles on how businesses can become involved in schools and the benefits of these partnerships. Articles and video clips profile successful programs in which companies provide grants, speakers, field trips, mentoring or job shadowing opportunities for students.

Partnership pays off for business and schools
Curtis, D.(2000, September 1). Edutopia Online. The George Lucas Foundation.
The Bayer Corporation has established one of the most successful business-education partnerships in their “Making Science Make Sense” program.  This article from the George Lucas Educational Foundation outlines the program which provides professional development opportunities for teachers as well as content-based presentations to students in schools across America.

Supporting good schools is good business
Goldberg, M.  (2003, September 23). Edutopia Online. The George Lucas Educational Foundation
This article outlines the importance of business support for schools. It describes the kinds of supports that businesses can provide, from monetary contributions to lobbying policymakers, and explains the role that businesses can play in the professional growth and learning of teachers.

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