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


Role Group Strategies:

Examine other schools that have been recognized for having high-quality, results-driven staff 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.

Establish and sustain an environment that supports reflection, collaboration, and teacher development.

Their Key to Survival:  Each Other
Gingold, H.  (2004, June). Classroom Leadership, 7(9).
This article from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development describes the work of four teachers in Liverpool, N.Y. who created a “collaborative teacher network” designed to support one another throughout the school year.  The four teachers worked as a team, planning lessons and instruction, evaluating the results of their teaching, and refining their professional practice.  They set aside time each week to meet with one another, and kept in regular contact via email and phone calls.  As a result, their teaching improved and they each developed skills required of reflective practitioners.

Improving Relationships within the School House
Barth, Roland S. (March 2006). Educational Leadership
Roland S. Barth, a former teacher and principal and the founder of the Principals Center at Harvard University discusses different relationships among teachers and administrators in schools that affect the overall school climate and student learning. He identifies four primary types of relations: teacher isolation, adversarial relationships, congenial relationships, and collegial relationships. He focuses on collegial relationships, which are characterized by sharing best practices or “craft knowledge,” observing colleagues’ teaching, and rooting for each others’ success, and he explains what school leaders can do to create collegiality within their school.

Examining the Teaching Life
Wiggins, Grant and Jay McTigue. (Mar. 2006). Educational Leadership
Grant and McTigue suggest that “learning about learning” should be mandatory and that schools should develop a Learning Bill of Rights that provides criteria for ensuring effective peer review and self assessment. Although they recommend that school staffs develop their own principles, the authors provide nine sample principles to spur discussion. They also discuss how to promote these principles in schools in a way that does not offend individual teachers.

Redefining Professional Development and Instructional Leadership Through Dialogue
Alabama Best Practices Center
Communication is vital to building consensus and shared vision within a school. This toolkit outlines a plan for engaging schools in Teacher Dialogue Forums -- structured conversations designed to help teachers reflect on real classroom experiences as well to examine research on topics related to school reform.  The authors outline the process for establishing Teacher Dialogue Forums and give detailed plans for specific forums related to professional development and instructional leadership.

The Buddy System
Wagner, Tony. (2005). Teacher Magazine
Tony Wagner, a principal and former high school English teacher, contrasts the team work characteristic of other professions with the isolation of teaching. He suggests “lesson study” groups as the most effective form of collaboration and observation and recommends implementing a system for peer feedback school-wide rather than making participation voluntary.

Design or select professional development offerings based on established standards for success.

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.

Sustaining School Improvement:  Professional Development
Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.  (2003).
This document outlines the key elements of effective professional development programs, offers strategies that school leadership teams can use when establishing professional development programs, provides a rubric for evaluating professional development within a school and shares a ‘success story’ from Witters/Lucerne Elementary School in Thermopolis, Wyoming.

Instructional Module:  Teacher Supervision and Development
Prince, B.  (2004). The George Lucas Educational Foundation.
This instructional module is designed to help school leaders provide on-going professional development for teachers. The site addresses a variety of topics pertaining to teacher learning, and for each topic, the module links to articles and videos along and recommends related activities.

Design Your Professional Development Program:  Where to Start
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
This tool provides a good starting point for planning high quality professional development.  It contains a comprehensive survey that helps schools and districts to identify areas of need and details many of the best practices in professional development.

Designing Powerful Professional Development
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
This guide presents a framework for designing effective professional development and describes how to plan, monitor, and evaluate the professional development efforts implemented under that framework. The authors also summarize key research findings on the importance of effective professional development.

Planning and conducting professional development that makes a difference:  A guide for school leaders. 
Southern Regional Education Board.  (2002)
This guide outlines a step-by-step approach to conceiving, creating, developing, implementing and evaluating school-level professional development opportunities.

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.

Effective Staff Development Raises Student Achievement
The Alabama Best Practices Center.  (2001, Winter). Working Toward Excellence, 1(2).
This newsletter from the Alabama Best Practices Center outlines the characteristics of high quality professional development and provides many examples of schools that have taken steps to increase the quality of the professional development opportunities offered to their faculties.  It also includes a list of online resources related to professional development.

Professional Development Analysis
McREL. (2005). McREL Insights - Professional Development Analysis.
In this report, McREL synthesizes existing research on the influence of standards-based professional development on teaching and student learning. The authors find that the most successful professional development is coherent, of considerable duration, pertains to specific subject matter or teaching strategies, and involves the collective participation of teachers and active learning. On the basis of the summarized research, McREL offers a series of recommendations, such as focusing on the particular needs the district, to increase the effectiveness of professional development.

Redefining Professional Development: Schools Can Become True Learning Communities for Teachers
The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement (Feb. 2006)
This newsletter synthesizes decades of research to provide characteristics of successful professional development and provides recommendations on how to maximize its effectiveness. Namely, the authors recommend greater focus on professional development from educators, policymakers, and administrators. They also advocate varying the format of different professional development offerings, actively engaging teachers by responding to their learning styles and interests, and broadening the definition of professional development to include peer observation and collaboration.

Offer professional development pertaining to teaching second-language learners or students with individual education plans.


Excelling English Language Learners: An Innovative Professional Development Program
Intercultural Development Research Association (2002)
This article describes the ExCELS program – a professional development program developed by the Intercultural Development Research Association that focuses on English Language Learners. The program focuses on teacher training, technical support, teacher mentoring, partnerships with parents, and forming ESL learning communities that encourage collaboration among ESL teachers, content area teachers, and administrators.


In the Classroom: A Toolkit for Effective Instruction of English Learners
National Center for English Language Acquisition (2005)
This is a collection of resources and strategies for improving instruction of English Language Learners. It summarizes research and effective practices that pertain to school skills, elementary grade-level content, secondary grade-level content, addressing diverse needs, home/school connections, and interrupted formal schooling.


Immigrant Students and Secondary School Reform: Compendium of Best Practices
Council of Chief State Schools Officers (2004)
The report contains recommendations in six areas, including professional development, pertaining to best practices for teaching English language learners in high schools. The authors advocate sustained and comprehensive professional development programs for all teachers who teach English language learners. A section entitled “best practices in theory” articulates principals of successful professional development pertaining to English language learners, and “best practices in action” describes exemplary programs.


No Train, No Gain
Shreve, Jenn. (Nov. 2005) Edutopia.
This article addresses the rising numbers of English language learners (ELL) in American classrooms and the lack of preparation to teach such students. The author discusses the rapid increase in ELL students and the areas most affected. She describes an effort in New York City to provide more professional development pertaining to teaching ELL students, suggests that all school districts set aside more money for professional development related to teaching ELL students, and recommends employing ELL specialists as mentors for other teachers.

Develop strong school-community partnerships designed to provide support to the professional development of classroom teachers.  Tap into businesses, museums, community advocacy groups, and universities as resources for professional development.

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.

Community Partnership Resource Page
The George Lucas Educational Foundation.
This webpage provides a variety of resources from the George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF) on school and community partnerships.  It includes articles describing programs in specific school districts and research on the importance of community involvement in general.

Developing Effective Partnerships to Support Local Education
School Communities that Work: A National Taskforce on the
Future of Urban Districts (2002).
This paper describes design and operating principles used in effective education and community partnerships. The authors emphasize that partnerships should focus on equity in addition to results and aim to affect youth engagement and development.

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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