Goal: Professional learning is a comprehensive, sustained and intensive approach to improving teachers’, principals’ and support staffs’ effectiveness in raising student achievement. In order to provide all students the highest quality learning environment in every school, all certificated and classified staff must be continuously engaged in professional learning. Evidence of success can be defined by the following elements, with examples listed in the accordion below.

Shared ownership and responsibility for professional growth

Teachers, administrators, and other education professionals actively support their own professional practices by using technology, eLearning, and social media to optimize learning and teaching. They are actively taking responsibility for their own professional growth through professional learning networks (PLNs), online communities of practice, eLearning, and social media (e.g., Twitter feeds, EdCamps, blogging and following bloggers, on-demand videos, etc.). Educators have access to collaborative tools and digital environments that break down classroom, school, and district walls. Professional development encourages, facilitates, and often requires that they individually and collaboratively create, join, and sustain professional networks both within and outside of the district, frequently leveraging the latest in social media. The district has established flexible policies and practices that encourage and credit the personalization of professional learning for teachers, administrators and other education professionals.

21st Century skill set

Educators have the opportunity to expand their knowledge and skills to address a 21st Century focus (e.g., critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, communication, technology competencies, self-direction, information literacy, etc.). Professional learning includes immersion in the learning sciences research to provide support and insights into more student-centered instructional practices and for the purposeful promotion of deeper learning/21st Century skills in all students. Educators master a variety of new, research-based instructional strategies to better engage students and prepare them for college and beyond. In doing so they broaden their own 21st Century skill set.

Diverse opportunities for professional learning through technology

Digital leaders model new types of professional learning and ensure that educators have access to (and the technology savvy necessary to leverage) professional development opportunities that are diverse, customizable and often supported by the latest technologies. Professional learning is available anytime in a variety of modes. Alternative models are supported through coherent policies and practices in the district.

Broad-based, participative evaluation

In order to promote goal-oriented, self-regulated professional behaviors, evaluation is participative (i.e., the educator who is the subject of evaluation is actively involved in goal-setting, collecting indicators of progress, and self-evaluative behaviors). Professional evaluation uses a broad set of indicators that includes student achievement, evidence of improved instructional practice, student engagement, and 21st Century skill attainment.