Recommendation Three:
Provide opportunities for teachers to assume responsibility for their own PD through formal and informal means.


Role Group Strategies:

Encourage a school culture that supports collaboration, experimentation and inquiry.  Make action research, critical friends groups, and lesson study components of school professional development plan.

Redesigning Professional Development:  Critical Friends
Bambino, D.  (2002, March). Educational Leadership, 59(6), 25-27.
Because of their shared experiences, teachers can often provide the most effective instructional support to their colleagues.  One model for this type of collaboration is the Critical Friends Group.  This article introduces the concept and benefits of Critical Friends groups and tells the stories of three schools that have implemented Critical Friends groups with great success.

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.

Treating teachers as professionals. 
Curtis, D.  (2000). Edutopia Online.
This article highlights Sherman Oaks Community Charter School, where teachers participate in daily conversations for 90 minutes while students have lunch, a study hall, and a recreation period supervised by community volunteers. Conversations focus on professional development, instructional methods, curriculum, and problem-solving for specific classroom situations.

Teacher Collaboration Supports Instructional Change
The North Central Regional Educational Laboratory.  (2003, Summer/Fall)
This guide from NCREL outlines strategies for adopting a collaborative approach to professional development.  Several different models of collaboration are introduced, real-life examples are shared, and practical observation tools are included.

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.

Action Research Tools and Resources
The Teacher Leaders Network
The members of the Teacher Leaders Network, a major initiative of the Southeast Center for Teaching Quality, recently examined the process and potential of action research as a school improvement tool.  This web page features an extensive list of action research resources.  Included are articles related to action research, sample action research projects, and reviews of books that are designed to introduce educators to the process of action research.

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.

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.

In ‘Lesson Study’ Sessions, Teachers Polish Their Craft
Viadero, D.  (2004, February). Education Week on the Web.
One popular new approach to professional development in education is the creation of Lesson Study groups in schools.  A common practice in Japan, lesson study involves a group of teachers designing, implementing, evaluating and revising individual lessons with the intent of developing teaching practices that are effective.  This article examines the process of lesson study and the efforts of teachers using lesson study in Patterson, New Jersey.

Introducing Schoolwide Action Research
Calhoun, E.F. (1994). How to use action research in the self-renewing school
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
This chapter from How to Use Action Research in the Self-Renewing School by Emily Calhoun introduces the concept of action research, describes two models of action research, and provides scenarios of two imaginary schools pursuing school improvement in different ways.

Themes in Education:  Action Research
Ferrance, E.  (2000). Themes in Research. Northeast and Islands Regional Educational Laboratory.
This booklet introduces the concept of action research, a process of careful reflection on practice that encourages collaboration and allows teachers to address issues that are pertinent to their settings.  It provides an overview of the history of action research, an explanation of a process for completing it, stories from two teachers who have completed action research, and links to additional action research resources.

Engage teachers in planning school-based professional development, ensuring that professional learning is based on existing needs.

Teacher Quality: Teachers Teaching Teachers
Christensen, Linda. (Winter 2005/2006). Rethinking Schools
Linda Christensen, a high school English teacher from Portland, Oregon, writes that teachers find professional development lead by classroom teachers to be the most productive. She describes her experiences with the Portland Writing Project, summer curriculum camps, and professional development days, all of which are teacher-lead and actively involve teachers in reflection, writing, and curriculum development.

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.

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.

Encourage teachers to pursue certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Teacher Diary:  On the Road to National Certification
Starr, L.  (2003, August). Education World.
This website connects to five diaries written by teachers working through the process of Board Certification in 2003.  Accompanied by an overview of the process of Board Certification, these diaries allow readers to understand the changes that teachers working for certification undergo and the type of reflection that the process encourages.

Beginning the Journey toward National Board Certification
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. (2003, August 26).
This guide from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards describes the certificates, standards, and steps involved in the process of National Board Certification.

NBPTS:  Building better teachers
Starr, L.  (2004, April). Education World.
This Education World interview with Joseph A. Aguerrebere Jr., President of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, outlines the process of board certification, as well as the benefits for teachers and students.  It is a brief and informative look at the potential that board certification has for changing teaching and learning in America.

Supporting National Board Certification:  Principals
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
This webpage provides a comprehensive set of resources that principals can use to encourage teachers to pursue National Board Certification.  It includes brochures detailing what principals should know about Board Certification, specific steps that principals can take to encourage teachers, contact information for principals that have successfully supported teachers pursuing certification, lists of the benefits of having NBCT’s on staff, and links to incentives offered at the state and local level for teachers pursuing certification.

Consider coaching and mentoring models for supporting professional growth in teachers.

The New Drill: On Site Coaches Focus on Teachers, Not Students, in the Battle to Boost Literacy
Rubenstein, Grace. (Feb. 2006) Edutopia.
This article describes a program in Beaverton, Oregon that employs coaches to work with teachers on improving their students’ literacy. The program is not only innovative because of the coaching model, but also because these literacy efforts focus teaching literacy at the high school level. In addition to describing the program in Oregon, the article also reports on positive results from a similar coaching program in Alabama.

Two Faces of Mentoring
The George Lucas Educational Foundation.  (1999, September 1). Edutopia Online.
This article features interviews with four mentor teacher trainers from a technology support program offered in Rhode Island, who describe the advantages of one-on-one mentoring relationships over traditional means of professional development.

Coaching Moves Beyond the Gym:  Successful Site-Based Coaching Offers Lessons
Galm, R., and Penny, G.S. (2004, Spring). Journal of Staff Development, 25(2).
This article from the Journal of Staff Development outlines the growing practice of using teacher-leaders within a building to provide on-going professional development and support to teachers and highlights the benefits of coaching on student achievement.  A description of five keys to developing quality coaching programs provides communities with a starting point for establishing their own site-based professional development programs.

‘Making Our Own Road:’ The Emergence of School-Based Staff Developers in America’s Public Schools
Richard, A.  (2003, May). The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation
School-based staff developers are becoming increasingly common in America’s public schools.  These professionals, often former teachers looking for an opportunity to advance within teaching, are charged with serving as instructional leaders within their buildings.  This guide from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation outlines the role of school-based staff developers.  It provides an overview of the need for such positions, a description of the kinds of people filling school-based staff development jobs, several suggestions about the types of roles that school-based staff developers can fill within a school, and an examination of the benefits of school-based staff development programs.

School Based Coaching – A Lit Review
Green, Terry. (2004). National Staff Development Council
This document presents a review of literature supporting school-based staff developers or coaches. The author provides detailed definitions of key terms and then discusses research pertaining to a variety of coaching models. The publication also includes a list of practical tools for use by schools and districts.

School-based…or not?  School-based Staff Development is Still a Fuzzy Concept for Many Districts
Richard, A.  (2004, Spring). Journal of Staff Development, 25(2).
Answering six questions related to the effectiveness of school-based staff development, this article examines the potential of this method as well as the mistakes that many schools make in implementation.

Facilitate online learning opportunities for educators.  Incorporate online opportunities into school-based professional development plans.

Anytime, Anywhere
Tardif, S.S.  (2004, July/August). Access Learning.
This link provides descriptions of five of the best online professional development opportunities so that teachers and administrators are not overwhelmed by the amount and variety of information online.   It also provides an online professional development "shopping list" to help readers evaluate different programs on their own.”

Concept to Classroom Workshops
Disney Learning Partnership.
This site created by Thirteen Ed Online and the Disney Learning Partnership provides access to free online learning workshops designed to help teachers apply important concepts in their classrooms.  Topics range from multiple intelligences and teaching to standards to cooperative learning and webquests. Opportunities to apply these workshops towards professional development credit are also available.

E-Learning for Educators: Implementing the Standards for Staff Development
National Staff Development Council (2001).
This guide discusses the potential of e-learning to enhance professional development and the drawbacks of relying too heavily on this form of learning. The authors provide guiding questions and a decision matrix to ensure that online professional development opportunities meet the quality standards outlined by the National Staff Development Council and result in real teacher and student learning.

Keys to quality:  Five questions to ask before you choose an online professional development provider
Nussbaum-Beach, S., and Norton, J.  (2004).  Access Learning.
This article is intended to guide teachers through the selection of online professional development opportunities.  In addition to listing five key questions about professional development resources, the author recommends elated resources ranging from established standards for online professional development opportunities to rubrics for evaluating online professional development opportunities.

Online professional development collection
Cable in the Classroom.
Cable in the Classroom is an organization dedicated to improving teaching and learning in America by increasing the use of instructional technology.  This link highlights high-quality online professional development programs.  The page includes course descriptions, links, and samples of selected coursework from some of the best electronic learning opportunities.

Successful Online Professional Development
Treacy, B., Kleiman, G., and Peterson, K.  (2002, September).  Learning and Leading with Technology, 30(1), 42-47.
Online professional development opportunities offer many advantages including schedule flexibility for participants as well as content flexibility allowing for direct connections to classroom practice.  This article outlines a model for establishing online professional development programs and describes elements of successful ones.  It also provides descriptions of counties that are currently using online professional development opportunities with their faculties.

Harvard from Home:  How the right mix of online and in-person professional development can lead to lasting improvements in classroom practice
Nussbaum-Beach, S., and Norton, J.  (2004). Access Learning.
This article from Access Learning magazine examines the advantages and disadvantages of online professional development.  It explains the importance of balancing online professional development with face-to-face interaction and includes a list of related resources, which offer online learning opportunities for teachers.



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