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Igniting the Learning Engine

How school systems accelerate teacher effectiveness and student growth through Connected Professional Learning

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.

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