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Funding Collaboration and Professional Learning for Teachers

Collaboration and professional learning for teachers is foundational to successfully and sustainably implementing most other improvement strategies. This school year and beyond will be shaped by the capacity of educators. 

To transform experiences and outcomes, leaders must put systems and structures in place that build teacher capacity and expand opportunities for teachers to collaboratively plan and coordinate student supports.

This downloadable guide explains how districts can successfully and sustainably improve professional learning and collaboration and provides concrete examples of staffing and scheduling models that you can implement today and improve over time.

We also cover how ESSER funding can enable leaders to significantly increase professional learning and collaboration in the near-term to support teachers’ response to pandemic-related needs, and how to strategically invest your ESSER funding in these efforts for the most impact.





Download the guide


What Is Professional Learning?

High-quality professional learning requires leaders to provide a mix of meeting and coaching structures, while also protecting individual teachers’ planning time.

What Are Examples of Professional Learning, and Why Is Professional Learning Important for Teachers?

Professional learning goals for teachers include improving student engagement and/or outcomes, maintaining core instructional time, and improving teaching practices. Multiple factors can help them achieve these goals, including:

  • Growth-oriented observation and feedback.

  • Individual planning time.

  • Filling expert roles.

  • Shared content team meetings.

  • Shared student team meetings.

  • Specialized team meetings.

Collaborative professional learning helps teachers develop more comprehensive curricula and assessments; improve content and pedagogical knowledge; and positively impact classroom practice and student learning.


Download Our Guide on Professional Learning and Collaboration for Teachers to: 

  • Better understand professional learning and its research-based benefits.

  • Learn how you can invest in professional learning and collaboration.

  • Discover how to fund professional learning and collaboration in a sustainable way with revenue infusions like ESSER.

  • Find out how to strategically schedule and staff for professional learning and collaboration.

  • Explore common challenges and concrete professional learning examples.




Additional Resources on Professional Learning for Teachers


Guide: Reimagining the Teaching Job

Reimagining the teaching job requires challenging core assumptions about how we organize people, time, and money in American public schools. This means replacing the traditional siloed, one-size-fits-all teaching model with a collaborative approach centered on expert-led educator teams that share the work of planning, teaching, and supporting students. Read our guide to learn more.  

Toolkit: New Teacher Support 

In strategic schools, new teachers’ roles are fundamentally different from those of their experienced peers. The Growing Great Teachers Toolkit is based on ERS' experience working with several school systems to reorganize resources for new teacher residencies and support. 

Brief: Finding Time for Collaborative Planning 

Research shows that collaborative planning time between educators is an important part of professional development. In this brief, we provide context on how American teachers currently spend their time and offer practical strategies for how principals can create more collaborative planning time. 



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