Recommendation One:

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

 

Role Group Strategies: Community, Teachers, Principals, District Office, Policymakers

Community
Learn about the changing nature of schooling, and support professional development for educators that increases instructional capacity and student achievement.

Helping Every Student Succeed: Schools and Communities Working Together
Study Circles Resources Center (2002).
http://www.studycircles.org/en/Resource.14.aspx
This tool explains how study circles engage community members in school improvement efforts and provides the discussion materials necessary for a series of four study groups. Group discussions begin with consideration of what each participant considers a “good education” and progresses to deciding upon specific actions for change.

Test Your Professional Development IQ
The National Staff Development Council. (2003, August/September)
http://www.nsdc.org/library/publications/tools/tools8-03pdiq.cfm
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.

Professional Development: A Primer for Parents and Community Members
The Finance Project and the Public Education Network
http://www.publiceducation.org/Teacher_Prof_Dev/resources.asp
This primer explains the basic concepts behind professional development for teachers, describes characteristics of high-quality programs, and outlines the role parents and community members can play in ensuring high-quality professional development.

What’s going on in my child’s school:  A parent’s guide to good schools.
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (2000)
http://www.sedl.org/pubs/family31/
The schools that our children attend look significantly different than the schools of previous generations.  Often, this difference can cause concern in parents who are unfamiliar with the nature of today’s schools.  This resource is designed to introduce parents to best practices in education.  It outlines effective instructional practice and details the kinds of professional development that teachers must engage in to improve student learning.

 

Community
Make the professional development of teachers a focus of businesses and community organizations.  Conduct a “Community Inventory” to identify and promote professional learning resources available within the community, and create “Community Liaison” positions designed to facilitate communication between schools and available community resources.

 

"Finding Common Ground:  Working with the Community to Provide High-Quality Professional Development"
Teachers take charge of their learning: Transforming professional development for student success

Renyi, J.  (1996). 
The NEA Foundation for the Improvement of Education
http://www.nfie.org/publications/charge/section4.htm
A portion of this guide to professional development is dedicated to engaging the community in efforts to improve teacher development and student learning. The author describes successful partnerships in specific schools and districts that involve parents or businesses and other professionals in student and teacher learning. It also includes a series of recommendations for creating a "network of learners" consisting of students, parents, teachers, and the community.

Partnership pays off for business and schools
Curtis, D. (2000, September 1). Edutopia Online. The George Lucas Foundation.
http://www.glef.org/php/article.php?id=Art_441&key=008
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 and content-based presentations to students in schools across America.

Community
Create school-community partnerships designed to provide teachers with knowledge and technical expertise.  Develop “Teacher-in-Residence” and “Teacher-on-Loan” programs with businesses, museums, universities, and academic organizations, immersing teachers in current professional content knowledge and scholarship.

Business Partnership Resource Page.
The George Lucas Educational Foundation. 
http://www.glef.org/php/keyword.php?id=008
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.

Connecting with Experts in the Real World
Demee-Benoit, D.  (1999, September 1). Edutopia Online. The George Lucas Educational Foundation
http://www.edutopia.org/connecting-experts-real-world
This article outlines several outreach programs from science centers, zoos, aquaria, botanical gardens and natural history museums that are providing professional development to teachers.  Such partnerships can help schools to provide the kinds of instruction necessary to improve student achievement and to promote deep levels of content knowledge among their teachers.

Los Angeles Educational Partnership.
The George Lucas Educational Foundation. 
http://www.glef.org/php/orgs.php?id=ORG_300256
Established in 1984 by a group of business, community and education leaders, the Los Angeles Education Partnership is a collaborative designed to support the Los Angeles Public School System.  The group supports schools in a variety of ways, including providing professional development for and facilitating collaboration between educators.  It also involves teachers in reforming curriculum, instruction and assessment.  This link connects to a short description of the Partnership that provides contact information and a direct link to the Partnership’s homepage.

Community Partnership Resource Page
The George Lucas Educational Foundation. 
http://www.glef.org/php/keyword.php?id=189
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.

Critical Issue:  Establishing Collaboratives and Partnerships
Peterson, K.  (1995). North Central Regional Educational Laboratory
http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/educatrs/leadrshp/le300.htm
This Critical Issue Report outlines ways in which school administrators can make connections to community groups, enlisting their partnership in addressing many of the non-academic issues that interfere with student achievement. It recommends "action options," describes implementation pitfalls, profiles a number of schools successfully engaging the community, and provides an extensive list of resources and contacts.

Developing Effective Partnerships to Support Local Education
School Communities that Work: A National Taskforce on the
Future of Urban Districts (2002).
http://www.schoolcommunities.org/Archive/images/Partnerships.pdf
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
http://www.glef.org/php/article.php?id=Art_894&key=008
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.

Teachers
Become reflective practitioners by collaborating with colleagues, creating critical friends groups, or participating in action research.

Their Key to Survival:  Each Other
Gingold, H.  (2004, June). Classroom Leadership, 7(9). 
http://makeashorterlink.com/?U1263262B
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.


Teacher Collaboration Supports Instructional Change
The North Central Regional Educational Laboratory.  (2003, Summer/Fall) 
http://www.ncrel.org/info/notes/fall03/nrfall03.pdf
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.

The Buddy System
Wagner, Tony. (2005). Teacher Magazine
http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2005/01/01/04view.h16.html
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.

Redesigning Professional Development:  Critical Friends
Bambino, D.  (2002, March). Educational Leadership, 59(6), 25-27. 
http://www.nsrfharmony.org/gene/Bambino_2002.pdf
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.

Themes in Education:  Action Research
Ferrance, E.  (2000). Themes in Research. Northeast and Islands Regional Educational Laboratory.
http://www.alliance.brown.edu/pubs/themes_ed/act_research.pdf
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.

What is Action Research?
Sagor, R.  (2000). 
Guiding School Improvement with Action Research.
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
http://snipurl.com/nvd7
This chapter from the book Guiding School Improvement with Action Research by Richard Sagor introduces the concept of and processes involved in action research.  He discusses the impact action research has on building reflective practitioners, achieving school-wide priorities, and building professional cultures and outlines a seven-step process common to any action research project.

Teachers
Pursue certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Teacher Diary:  On the Road to National Certification
Starr, L.  (2003, August). Education World.
http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/diary_2003/teacherdiary.shtml
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).
http://www.nbpts.org/candidates/guide/
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.
http://www.educationworld.com/a_issues/chat/chat100.shtml
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.

Teachers
Attend professional development sessions offered by the North Carolina Teacher Academy and other state sponsored professional development offerings.

The North Carolina Teacher Academy
http://www.ga.unc.edu/NCTA/NCTA/index.htm
Funded by the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Teacher Academy offers week-long professional development sessions throughout the summer months.  Several of these sessions focus on school leadership.  Teachers are provided with room and board, continuing education credits, and an honorarium of $100 per day for participating.

Teachers
Request and participate in professional development offerings 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)
http://www.idra.org/Newslttr/2002/Aug/Jack.htm#Art1
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)
http://www.ncela.gwu.edu/practice/itc/
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)
http://www.ccsso.org/content/pdfs/BestPractices.pdf
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.
http://www.edutopia.org/magazine/ed1article.php?id=Art_1391&issue=nov_05
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.

Principals
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
http://www.financeproject.org/Publications/profiles.pdf
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).
http://www.schoolstowatch.org/what.htm
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).
http://www.wested.org/online_pubs/teachers_who_learn/TeachLearn.pdf
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.

Principals
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). 
http://makeashorterlink.com/?U1263262B
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
http://snipurl.com/nz7f
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
http://snipurl.com/WigginsMcTighe
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
http://www.bestpracticescenter.org/pdfs/toolkit.doc
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
http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2005/01/01/04view.h16.html
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.

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

NSDC Standards for Staff Development
The National Staff Development Council (2001)
http://www.nsdc.org/standards/index.cfm
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). 

http://www.mcrel.org/PDF/LeadershipOrganizationDevelopment/5031TG_profdevfolio.pdf
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.
http://glef.org/modules/TSD/index.php
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
http://www.ascd.org/trainingopportunities/ossd/planning.html
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
http://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/profdev/guidelines/ncguidelines/guidetodesigning.pdf
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)
http://www.sreb.org/programs/hstw/publications/profdev/00V02_ProfDevGuide.pdf
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)
http://www.nsdc.org/library/publications/tools/tools8-03pdiq.cfm
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). http://www.bestpracticescenter.org/pdfs/wte2.pdf
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.
http://www.mcrel.org/PDF/ProfessionalDevelopment/5051IR_Prof_dvlpmt_analysis.pdf
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)
http://view.exacttarget.com/?ffcb10-fe9b10707664077c7c-fe5b1c72706d037f7517-fefc1575706602
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.

Principals
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)
http://www.idra.org/Newslttr/2002/Aug/Jack.htm#Art1
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)
http://www.ncela.gwu.edu/practice/itc/
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)
http://www.ccsso.org/content/pdfs/BestPractices.pdf
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.
http://www.edutopia.org/magazine/ed1article.php?id=Art_1391&issue=nov_05
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.

Principals
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. 
http://www.glef.org/php/keyword.php?id=008
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.
http://www.glef.org/php/article.php?id=Art_441&key=008
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. 
http://www.glef.org/php/keyword.php?id=189
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).
http://www.schoolcommunities.org/Archive/images/Partnerships.pdf
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
http://www.glef.org/php/article.php?id=Art_894&key=008
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.

District Office
Establish/adopt standards for high-quality professional development. 

NSDC Standards for Staff Development
The National Staff Development Council (2001)
http://www.nsdc.org/standards/index.cfm
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.

Sights and Sounds of Implementing Standards
Hirsh, S.  (2004, February). Results. National Staff Development Council
http://www.nsdc.org/library/publications/results/res2-04hirs.cfm
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.


Sustaining School Improvement:  Professional Development
Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.  (2003). 

http://www.mcrel.org/PDF/LeadershipOrganizationDevelopment/5031TG_profdevfolio.pdf
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.

Test Your Professional Development IQ
The National Staff Development Council. (2003, August/September)
http://www.nsdc.org/library/publications/tools/tools8-03pdiq.cfm
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.

Examining the Teaching Life
Wiggins, Grant and Jay McTigue. (Mar. 2006). Educational Leadership
http://snipurl.com/WigginsMcTighe
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.

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.
http://www.tcrecord.org/ExecSummary.asp?ContentID=10979
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.



Learner-Centered Professional Development
Hawley, W.D., and Valli, L.  (2000, August). Phi Delta Kappa Research Bulletin, 27.
http://www.pdkintl.org/edres/resbul27.htm
This brief from Phi Delta Kappa outlines nine basic principles of learner-centered professional development, which provide a guide for schools and districts in the development, implementation, and assessment of these new techniques to increase teacher learning.

Professional Development Analysis
McREL. (2005). McREL Insights - Professional Development Analysis.
http://www.mcrel.org/PDF/ProfessionalDevelopment/5051IR_Prof_dvlpmt_analysis.pdf
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)
http://view.exacttarget.com/?ffcb10-fe9b10707664077c7c-fe5b1c72706d037f7517-fefc1575706602
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.

District Office
Examine/promote/adopt models for professional development that have been successful in other areas with similar demographics.

Profiles of Selected Promising Professional Development Initiatives
Cohen, C., Gerber, P., Handley, C., Kronley, R., and Parry, M.  (2001, June). The Finance Project
http://www.financeproject.org/Publications/profiles.pdf
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).
http://www.schoolstowatch.org/what.htm
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.

Teacher Quality: Teachers Teaching Teachers
Christensen, Linda. (Winter 2005/2006). Rethinking Schools
http://www.rethinkingschools.org/archive/20_02/ttt202.shtml
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.


Teachers Who Learn, Kids Who Achieve:  A Look at Schools with Model Professional Development
WestEd Regional Educational Laboratory. (2000).
http://www.wested.org/online_pubs/teachers_who_learn/TeachLearn.pdf
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.

District Office
Promote professional development opportunities that are job-embedded and learner-centered, encouraging collaboration and reflection among colleagues.  Create district “professional development planner” positions to coordinate the efforts of schools and school-based staff developer positions to focus efforts on the needs of all learners within a building.

Improving Instruction Through Collaboration
Jolly, A.  (2001, February).  Middle Ground.