Recommendation Three:

Structure the school/district calendar to allow for meaningful professional development activities embedded throughout the school year.


Role Group Strategies:

District Office
Add professional days to the school calendar.

Planning and Conducting Professional Development That Makes a Difference: 
A Guide for School Leaders

Southern Regional Education Board.
The authors provide a step-by-step guide to integrating a successful professional development program into a school.  Suggestions for making room in the school calendar include adding more professional development days, scheduling professional development activities during the summer, giving students early release, and using substitutes to allow teachers to attend workshops.

Think Outside the Clock: Create Time for Professional Learning
Richardson, Joan. (2002). National Staff Development Council.
This article gives suggestions for how to find time for professional development and describes a variety of approaches already taken by specific schools and districts.  The author suggests “banking” time by lengthening the school day, “buying” time by hiring more teachers or substitute teachers, creating common planning time, and adding professional days to the school year.

District Carves Out Time for New Teachers to Learn
Beerer, Karen.  (2002). Journal of Staff Development. 23 (4) 46-49.
This article describes the Quakertown (Pa.) Community School District’s approach to induction.  During their first five years, new teachers in this district spend an extra 15 contractual days in a New Teacher Academy, in addition to working with a mentor.  In the last four years, the district has had a retention rate of 89%.  The article describes the different focuses during the five years and shows a sample schedule of academy activities. 

How Boston Pilot Schools Use Freedom over Budget, Staffing, and Scheduling To Meet Student Needs 
October 2001. Center for Collaborative Education.
This report provides recommendations for scheduling professional development. They suggest scheduling professional development before and after the school year and holding weekend staff retreats at some points during the school year.  The report includes detailed information and schedules from a case study of professional development at Mission Hill School.

District Office
Consider alternative school schedules that allow for lengthier periods of class time and planning.

Alexandria Rounds Out School Year
Brulliard, Karin.  Washington Post. August 05, 2004.
This Washington Post article discusses Tucker Elementary’s new year round schedule – the first school to implement such a schedule in Alexandria, VA.  The author gives some context regarding year round schedules in the area and across the nation.  She also reports on parental support and some controversy regarding the schedule.

Gustav A. Fritsche Middle School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
This school’s website provides detailed information on their use of block scheduling. It lists observed benefits in terms of school climate, classroom issues, and curriculum, and provides a comparison of time on task under the block schedule and under a traditional schedule. The site also includes a detailed profile of the school’s demographics and a four-year timeline that outlines the process of fully implementing block scheduling at the school. Scheduling grids for each grade during the 2004-2005 school year are also available.


Critical Issues: Providing More Time for Professional Development
North Central Regional Education Laboratory (NCREL) (2004)
The authors discuss different means to create time for professional development ranging from “traditional strategies,” such as banking time or creating an extended day, to embedding it within the school day or taking advantage of online opportunities. They list “action options” for school board members, administrators, and teachers, in addition to profiling several schools that have taken creative approaches to integrating professional development. They also include a chart listing different strategies, their requirements, effects on parents, and costs.

“Finding the Time to Build Professional Development into the Life of Schools” 
Teachers Take Charge of Their Learning: Transforming Professional Development for Student Success. 
NEA Foundation for the Improvement of Education (NFIE). (1996).  Washington, DC.
NFIE gives two primary recommendations for finding time for professional development: flexible scheduling and an extended school year for teachers. Extending teachers’ contracts to include more days without students allows schools to plan major changes and teachers to learn new skills. The authors describe an extended-year program at the Boulder Valley, CO, School District, in which the district provided three schools with salary supplements to allow staff members to work an additional two weeks after the start of summer vacation. 

Finding Time for Collaboration 
Raywid, Mary Anne. (1993). Educational Leadership 51.1
The author offers 15 sample strategies for creating more time for teacher collaboration within schools.  She focuses on methods  that could be implemented without substantial costs to the school systems.  One strategy is for schools to move to a year-round calendar with three week intersessions, in which teachers could engage in more collaboration and professional development.

Scheduling Alternatives: Options for Student Success
Fager, Jennifer. (1997). Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory.
This is an online version of a booklet exploring block scheduling, four-day school weeks and year-round school.  For each of the three areas, the authors explain the potential benefits of that system, some concerns, and ideas for successful implementation.  The booklet includes specific examples of schools that have moved to block scheduling, a four year school week, or year round school.  Each example lists contact information, program information, observed outcomes, and keys to success.

Making Time for Teacher Professional Development
Eric Digest. (1996).
This digest from the Educational Resources Information Center makes recommendations for how districts and schools can find time for professional development.  It includes suggestions such as using teaching assistants to cover class time, lengthening school on four days and giving early release on the fifth, and block scheduling.

Scheduling: Year Round School
Education Commission of the States. (1997).
This brief explains key concepts of year-round schooling such as the single and multi-track designs.  It lists the benefits of year-round schooling, like the potential to reduce overcrowding, opportunities for remedial instruction during intersessions, and less need to review previously taught material, and also discusses potential drawbacks.  The authors do not advocate or oppose year-round schooling, but they recommend that schools dealing with decreasing tax revenues and overcrowding consider the idea.

Time Out: Time is a Resource We Still Haven’t Figured Out How to Use Wisely
Christopher Cross and Milt Goldberg. Edutopia (Sept. 2005)
This article describes the extent to which the clock and traditional schedules control schools. The authors claim that our adherence to such schedules has created five false premises that negatively affect school reform, including the belief that schools can be transformed without giving teachers time to learn more and reorganize their work. Throughout the article, the authors connect time to school reform issues such as the achievement gap. They argue that transforming schools into places where learning takes place in innovative ways will require more time for both teachers and students.


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