Professional Learning News - February 2017


The Academy model: A Q&A with graduates


Learning Forward
Establishing problems of practice and engaging in face-to-face networking can have a huge impact on any professional learning program. Read on to see how these strategies have contributed to transforming the practice of two graduates of Learning Forward's Academy.


Texas district increases professional development for newer teachers, sees positive signs in preventing teacher turnover


Waco Tribune-Herald
Waco (Texas) Independent School District officials say they are seeing signs of success in their work to tackle high teacher turnover rates. Waco ISD's teacher turnover rate is the best it has been in four years, according to recently released Texas Academic Performance Report data from the Texas Education Agency. The majority of turnover last school year was among first-year teachers, so the district has started a professional development push specifically geared toward keeping teachers who are either new to the field or new to the district.


Rural Mississippi district personalizes learning for teachers and students


Education Week
You might not think of eastern Mississippi first when it comes to education innovation, but Dr. Philip Hickman, Superintendent of CMSD, is working to change that perception. Hickman believes personalized learning should be a reality for both students and teachers. Since Hickman arrived almost three years ago, the district has increased the level of professional learning and provided "side by side coaching." The coaches focus on cycles of 30-day non-negotiables, setting goals, and improving practices. The coaching model is supported by professional learning communities, which meet each week.



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Time to sharpen your axe


Brewton Standard
Abraham Lincoln once said, "Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." President Lincoln understood that people who excel take time to sharpen their skills. They never stop developing, growing, learning and improving. It takes more than desire to excel — it takes skill and preparation. Therefore, you are never wasting your time when you're sharpening your axe. Teaching is a dynamic profession that requires teachers to continually update their professional skills.





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


Shared leadership: A key to turning around schools


The Huffington Post
Shared leadership begins with staff development. While districts should continue to choose priority core initiatives they would like their schools to address, they should also allow school sites to determine additional priorities that best meet the needs of their community. And administrators need to invite teachers to voice their thoughts around the selection of schoolwide priorities.



Helping you help others

MHS has been a leading publisher of scientifically validated assessments for over 30 years. We are proud of the high quality our assessments stand for.



Data room promotes collaborative teaching


News Tribune
Data is helping teachers at California (Missouri) Elementary School know their students better. Teachers know their students' strengths and weaknesses before they even enter the classroom in August. Then, throughout the year they have academic data to show trends or deficiencies, which they can compare with other collected information, such as attendance or behavior issues. In support of the application of this information, the school has cultivated a group approach based on shared leadership.





It's Time to Refocus

Use eleot® to perform classroom observations that take a look at what really matters in your classroom – your students. LEARN MORE


Texas elementary school fosters improvement for teachers


Herald Banner
Teachers advocating for instructional and classroom improvement via peer-to-peer counseling is a concept being explored at Wright Elementary, in Weatherford, Texas. The concept, known as "opportunity culture," is a statewide initiative to push for classroom innovation, said Tra Hall, Wright Elementary principal. These teachers divide their time between observing and coaching other teachers, along with engaging with students in intervention groups. The concept revolves around coaching, which is different than training.



Is your PD improving achievement?

Strong leadership and ongoing support for teachers is key to PD having a lasting impact on instruction and student achievement. Linda Diamond shares the secret.



Study says UK schools have no funds to train teachers


BBC News
There are 20,000 teachers in schools in England without any budget to train them, according to research by the Teacher Development Trust. Teacher quality has often been highlighted as the key to raising school standards and this research warns of a serious gap in funding. David Weston, chief executive of the Teacher Development Trust, said the findings were "extremely concerning." The study says 600 schools have "wiped out" their budget for professional development.


5 non-negotiables of project-based learning professional development


Education Week
Running any form of professional development can be a daunting task, whether it is at the district level, at a conference, etc. At the beginning of the planning process, facilitators often don't have much more than a blank slate and a job such as, "You have [insert amount of time] to teach your audience about [insert topic]." I have been leading project based learning (PBL) professional development for several years, and I have found that preparing with certain non-negotiables in mind always provides me with a comfortable starting point, and assists in making my sessions that much more effective.





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.


New Mexico education chief pushes change in teacher evaluations, supports professional development programs


New Mexico Political Report
New Mexico Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera said she will push for legislation to reduce the amount of weight that student test scores play in teacher evaluations. Skandera said she is responding to input that the Public Education Department received during a statewide listening tour to solicit feedback on what the state can do to prepare for implementing the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act guidelines, which go into effect next summer. She said she will also do more to support teacher professional development programs.



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.


Webinar: Advancing State Learning Systems through ESSA: Vision, Strategies, Tools, and Exemplars


Learning Forward
Join Learning Forward and EducationCounsel at 2 p.m. ET, Feb. 14, for a free webinar that showcases how state-level education stakeholders can leverage ESSA to build powerful learning systems for all educators and students. Such systems offer all learners the culture, structures, and supports for continuous improvement. The webinar will explore:

  • What effective learning systems entail and why they matter
  • ESSA's definition of professional development and how ESSA can support learning systems
  • Concrete ideas for using the local ESSA planning process to advance district learning systems
  • Powerful tools to use in taking next action steps as states develop consolidated plans and support districts

This webinar is intended to support educators and other stakeholders in state education agencies who have responsibility for the implementation of ESSA and for supporting effective professional learning at the state level.

Register for this free 60-minute webinar here.




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