Massive investments in educator professional development do not necessarily result in improved student outcomes, leading researchers to wonder if professional development needs some rethinking. A new report from PIE Network partner Education Resource Strategies offers an inside look at four school systems that are doing Professional Development (PD) well.
Since upgrading their PD systems in response to new College and Career Ready Standards, each district has seen an increase in student achievement. The report, Igniting the Learning Engine: How school systems accelerate teacher effectiveness and student growth through Connected Professional Learning, details how these school districts moved away from one-size-fits-all workshops toward engaging and adaptive collaboration with content experts to support teachers as they refine their craft. The four districts vary in size, region, funding, and system type, yet all are experiencing growth in student achievement. ERS discusses a few common themes to their approach that could be applied in other areas.
With rigorous standards in place, quality PD is increasingly important. For PIE Network members, this report is a valuable inside look on how school districts can improve their student outcomes by transitioning toward more connected professional learning. In making these important changes, school districts will need partners at the state level. These districts can serve as a great example of what PD done right can look like for groups who hope to improve their states’ systems of educator support.