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Connected Professional Learning for Teachers

Four school systems are redesigning professional learning for the age of high academic standards

The introduction of college- and career-ready standards (CCRS) profoundly raises the bar for teaching and learning in American schools—and for professional development. We studied four school systems that are rising to the challenge and seeing growth in student achievement, even as they work with large populations of high-need students. Each system took a different path, but we found that they all relied on three elements:

  • Rigorous, comprehensive curricula and assessments
  • Content-focused, expert-led collaboration
  • Frequent, growth-oriented feedback

These school systems made these common, research-backed practices powerful by integrating the elements in one cohesive strategy, tightly connected to the work teachers do every day. We call this "Connected Professional Learning."

It requires significant shifts in how school systems organize resources—moving away from one-size-fits-all workshops and pay for advanced degrees—toward time and instructional leaders to help teachers engage with the curriculum and adjust to student results. In "Igniting the Learning Engine: How school systems accelerate teacher effectiveness and student growth through Connected Professional Learning," we explore what these strategic practices look like, how to organize resources, and where to get started. Below, we also share a Diagnostic Assessment tool, in-depth case studies, and other tools to support the shift.

Executive Summary of Igniting the Learning Engine (PDF)

Igniting the Learning Engine (PDF)

Tools and Other Publications

Teacher Professional Learning Diagnostic Assessment

Assess how your school system supports curriculum, collaboration, and feedback and compare yourself to strategic practices in our case study systems.

Connected Professional Learning: In-Depth Case Studies

Learn more about the professional learning practices of our case study systems, including detailed data on how each allocated resources such as people, time, and money. 

Professional Learning Toolkit

Access the tools and resources used by our case study systems to support Connected Professional Learning (such as curriculum guides, collaborative planning protocols, sample schedules, and more).



Media and blog coverage of Connected Professional Learning

Related resources from ERS

Related resources from other organziations:


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