Designing Professional Development

No one questions that excellent teaching is the key to student learning. The question we ask is: What skills will enable school leaders to improve the quality of teaching and learning for all students? Site-based professional development is an important vehicle to improve the quality of teaching and learning for all students. 

We realize how critical it is to provide school leaders with the skills necessary to support effective professional learning opportunities for teachers and school staff through a collaborative approach.  A report by the Institute of Education Sciences finds that substantial professional development — an average of 49 hours in the nine studies — can boost student achievement by about 21 percentile points (Yoon, Duncan, Scarloss & Shapley, 2007). An extensive research meta-study conducted by Professor John Hattie also indicates that professional development has a positive effect on student achievement (Hattie, 2009).

Effective professional development needs to address the highest-leverage instructional strategies that are focused on the specific needs of instructional staff as identified by the school leadership team through instructional analysis. The intent of our research-based professional learning series, Designing Professional Development, is to increase the skill of school leaders to plan, deliver and evaluate professional development that supports those highest-leverage instructional strategies.

We customize our Designing Professional Development learning series to meet the specific needs of school leaders. Some components of this professional development include:

Instructional Analysis

A one- to three-day session increases participants’ skills in using multiple sources of school data (including walkthrough observations, teacher evaluations, student achievement data, community and parent feedback, etc.) to determine the professional learning needs of instructional staff. The components of the CEL professional development architecture, Determining the Need for Professional Development, will be emphasized:

  • Consider the context.
  • Identify the need.
  • Articulate the clear teacher and student outcomes.
  • Articulate expectations for implementation.
  • Articulate the support plan.
  • Identify the structure and resources for the professional development opportunity.

Creating a Professional Development Session

A one-day learning opportunity focuses on the components of creating a professional development session. Participants will learn to write teacher and student outcomes, identify the big ideas, concepts, and sequence for the professional development session, identify the role of the instructional staff and the facilitators, and identify the process, activities and materials. This session will also address the role the principal plays in sponsoring professional development.

Creating a Comprehensive Professional Development Plan

A one-day learning opportunity focuses school leaders on developing short and long-range professional development plans that emphasize ongoing, job-embedded professional development. This session will increase the skill of school leaders in utilizing instructional support personnel such as instructional coaches to make sure professional development “sticks.”

Evaluating Professional Development

A strand embedded throughout the professional development series focuses on evaluating and adjusting professional development to ensure implementation fidelity.