Professional Learning News - March 2017



Partnership broadens our reach and impact


Learning Forward
Our nation's education system is in the midst of big and exciting changes. States are creating their plans for supporting students and teachers under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which will shape public schools for years to come. At the same time, teachers are taking on new roles and helping students develop skills like critical thinking, media literacy, and intercultural understanding, which are more important than ever before. One thing we know for certain is that it's essential we hold firm to a vision of excellent teaching and learning for all students. This is a belief that has driven both Learning Forward and the National Commission on Teaching & America's Future (NCTAF) for years.


A glimpse into Canada's practices helps us examine our own


Learning Forward via Education Week Teacher
Learning Forward recently commissioned and supported a study on the state of professional learning in Canada. You can read about the study as well as the reports and papers resulting from it in the February 2017 issue of The Learning Professional. "When first asked why Learning Forward invested in this study, I said we not only wanted to continue to deepen the field's understanding of what professional learning looks like worldwide, but also wanted to offer a gift to the Canadian members who would host our Annual Conference in December 2016," writes Stephanie Hirsh, Executive Director for Learning Forward.


ESSA and the reinvention of the professional development wheel


The Huffington Post
With the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), districts have an opportunity to reinvent their professional development practices. Just as effective teaching does not follow a one-size-fits-all model, effective professional development should not either. The needs of an elementary teacher do not match those of a junior high mathematics teacher and are certainly quite different from those of a fine arts educator. ESSA recognizes this, requiring that professional development be " ... sustained, intensive, collaborative, job-embedded, data-driven, and classroom focused."

Professional development, mentors key to retaining good teachers


The Explorer
Schools and districts across the country are tasked with stabilizing the teacher shortage while ensuring new teachers are prepared to meet the needs of their students. Andy Drotos Ph.D., executive dean for the College of Education at University of Phoenix, attributes the loss of new teachers to the lack of continuing teacher development, induction and other educator support programs. "We need to focus on helping teachers grow professionally and be reflective in their practice," Drotos said.



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Teachers in schools with strong organizational capacity feel more prepared to teach Common Core standards


The University of Chicago
As schools across the country begin implementing the Common Core State Standards, a new study from the UChicago Consortium on School Research shows that teachers in Chicago Public Schools with high levels of organizational capacity, such as teacher collaboration, instructional leadership, and teacher influence, are more likely to report feeling prepared to teach the new standards.

How the STEP model uncovers local bright spots and transforms instruction


Education Week
Exceptional teachers understand what students should know and do. These teachers know how to help every student make steady progress toward their goals every day. Exceptional teachers, however, are rare. As a nation, we need to figure out how to support more teachers to become our best teachers. Traditional professional development has largely failed. Most teachers are not improving fast enough to ensure that their students are prepared to pursue rigorous college and career opportunities. It is therefore critical that we focus more squarely on the ongoing engagement and effective development of teachers to propel meaningful improvements in teacher effectiveness.





Give the Gift of PD
What's the best gift you can give your educators this holiday season? Something that means the world and never loses its value? How about the gift of personalized and meaningful PD? It's the gift that keeps on giving, and we know just where you can get it! LEARN MORE


Can micro-credentials reboot professional development?


Education Next
Remember merit badges? The reward for kids who master new skills has been rebooted — for their teachers. So-called "micro-credentials" work a lot like scouting badges. Teachers complete a specific activity to develop a critical competency for their role, and earn a micro-credential based on showing mastery of the skill. They can collect micro-credentials to document growing expertise and share their accomplishments in the classroom.

An invitation to dialogue about teachers and teacher education


The Huffington Post
Consider this a personal invitation to you, the reader, to read a short document so you can take action. The document, titled "Connecting the dots to build the future teaching and learning," is an invitation to see the big picture of teacher support and to take action connecting the dots in ways that can produce systemic change. This document was produced collectively by a team of educators from multiple countries and continents. As we set out to produce a guide that would have practical value to creating essential and adequate support for teaching, we decided that we would craft a simple tool that would invite a process of policy dialogue and support the professional development of teachers.


One-of-a-kind math coaching project receives Maine Department of Education grant


Sun Journal
The University of Maine at Farmington has announced that its one-of-a-kind Maine Mathematics Coaching Project has received a $174,848 grant from the Maine Department of Education's Math and Science Partnership Project. First launched in 2015, the project is the only mathematics coaching preparation in Maine and one of only a handful nationally that requires participation by both the teacher and their school administrators. This significant component not only helps educators understand and adopt new instructional strategies, but also provides them with the district-level support that can insure their success.





CAR - The Connected Action Roadmap
A process of school improvement that brings coherence to the work of educators by connecting standards, student learning, assessment, professional learning, educator effectiveness, and school climate and culture to the work of professional learning communities.
Learn more about CAR and how to use its blended online learning modules. Call (609) 860-1200.


7 areas to consider when deepening your impact


Education Week
We seem to always be looking for silver bullets. We ask questions like, "Where do I start? Or How can I have a bigger impact?" or look to Twitter and social media to find a guru, edu-celebrity or thought leader to help. They make it look so easy ... online. Unfortunately, it's easy to be a thought leader. It's hard to be a practitioner. It's easy to inspire others but it's harder to leave them with actionable steps to take to move forward.



Are your improvement efforts getting the results you want?

Learning Forward supports leaders at all levels in transforming their systems into learning systems, where all educators engage in a measurable and scalable cycle of continuous improvement. Our high-impact consulting services provide you with the tools to transform professional learning, increase educator capacity, and improve student achievement.



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Apply for grants and scholarships from the Learning Forward Foundation!


Learning Forward
Applications are available now for four grants from the Learning Forward Foundation. Funds are available to support learning leaders seeking to address their greatest challenges using professional learning. The four grants support learning teams, principals, Learning Forward affiliate organizations, and applicants to the Learning Forward Academy. The Foundation awards thousands of dollars each year to committed learners — put your application in today! Application deadline for all grants and scholarships is March 15.


Take your professional learning to a new level with Learning Forward's Academy


Learning Forward

The applications deadline is March 15.

The Learning Forward Academy is a multi-year blended learning community that is customized to tackle your biggest challenges related to adult and student learning. Build knowledge and skills and collaborate with coaches and other participants to develop solutions that will transform your organization.

Read our Q&A with past Academy graduates.

Transform your practice and your organization through this unique learning experience.

For questions, contact:

Kristin Buehrig
Programs Associate

Now accepting applications for individuals and teams. Apply today.




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