Recommendation Four:
Plan PD that is aligned with school and district goals and promotes evaluation and follow-up.

Role Group Strategies:

Engage in action research to evaluate the impact that professional development has had on teaching and learning.

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.

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.

What is Action Research?
Sagor, R.  (2000). 
Guiding School Improvement with Action Research.
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
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.

Serve on school improvement teams.  Provide leadership related to the importance of carefully planning professional development.  Advocate for professional development that is well-planned and aligned with school and district goals.

A Handbook for School Leadership Teams
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.  (2004).
This handbook, developed by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, is a valuable tool for any school attempting to evaluate and define the work of their leadership teams.  Sections cover guidelines for the operation of school leadership teams, roles and responsibilities of members of leadership teams (including parents), the process of developing a school improvement plan, and a checklist for tracking school improvement planning.

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.

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.
Professional Development:  Learning From the Best
Hassel, E.  (n.d.). The North Central Regional Educational Laboratory.
This toolkit includes step-by-step directions and "action planner tools" for designing, implementing, evaluating, improving and sharing professional development. Detailed appendices describe the criteria for the US Department of Education's National Awards Program for Professional development, profiles of winning schools, and summaries of resources and research.

Reinventing Education Change Toolkit
IBM (2002).
This toolkit, provided free of charge to anyone working in K-12 education, is designed to help school and district leaders to guide the school reform process.  The toolkit can be used to diagnose an environment for change, collaborate with members of a school change team, read real-life vignettes from education colleagues, plan a change initiative, and connect with educators worldwide.

School’s out…it’s time to learn!  Careful planning and follow-through make summer professional learning programs shine 
Holloway, K. (2003). Tools for Schools.
This article outlines a six-step process  for planning effective summer professional development activities. Emphasis is placed on using student data to drive decision-making and setting specific goals. Also included are sections providing suggestions on locations and costs as well as follow-up sessions.

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.

Designing Powerful Professional Development for Teachers and Principals
Sparks, D.  (2002). National Staff Development Council.
This book, provided free of charge on NSDC’s website, outlines the critical components of effective professional learning programs and the steps that schools and districts should take to ensure that the professional growth of their teachers and principals is maximized.  Topics covered include:  Setting the stage for powerful professional learning, providing a context for professional learning, developing school leaders, and developing teachers.

Provide leadership in the evaluation of professional development programs.

Eight Smooth Steps:  Solid Footwork Makes Evaluation of Staff Development Programs a Song
Killion, J.  (2003, Fall). Journal of Staff Development, 24(4).
Many schools work to provide high-quality professional development opportunities, but fail to evaluate the benefits or achievements of those programs, limiting their overall impact on future professional development planning.  This article outlines an eight step process for evaluating a staff development opportunity.  A link to an accompanying pdf contains questions and worksheets that can be used to assist in evaluation and follow up.

Keeping Professional Learning on Track With Evaluation
The North Central Regional Educational Laboratory.  (2004, Spring).

This newsletter describes five areas on which evaluation of professional development programs should focus: teacher reaction, teacher learning, organizational support, classroom implementation, and student learning outcomes. Under each topic, the authors provide sample surveys and provide instructions on how to use the information gathered.  

Self-Assessment of Your School’s Professional Development:  Rubric for a Powerful Conversation
Alabama Best Practices Center
This rubric, adapted from the National Staff Development Council’s standards for professional development, can help administrators to assess their efforts to provide teachers high quality professional development.  Designed to determine if professional development is data driven, research based, focused on quality teaching and carried out in learning communities, this tool also helps administrators to work through a strengths/needs assessment and to create an action plan for their schools.

Facilitator: 10, Refreshments:  8, Evaluation:  0:  Workshop Satisfaction Misses the Point 
Mizell, H.  (2003, Fall). Journal of Staff Development, 24(4).
Evaluating the impact that staff development has had on the teaching practices within a building is critical to determining a course of action for educators.  Traditionally, however, the evaluation of staff development opportunities is limited in scope, focusing on topics unrelated to student achievement or teaching.  This article details these failed attempts at evaluating professional development, examines the reasons that school-based staff developers continue to use ineffective approaches to evaluation, and outlines a more effective method of evaluating the impact of professional development.  



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