TregoED Blog

How will ESSA change the face of your PD?

The Every Child Succeeds act is shifting control of funding for professional development from the Federal government to the state and district level.

Typical PD is about to change…

In many districts, typical teacher and educational leader professional development (PD) has been short term, “sit and get” workshops or conference sessions.   With the March 2017 ESSA PD planning deadlines looming, many states and districts are working to develop professional development plans to comply with the new definition and standards.  The ESSA defines professional development activities as “sustained (not stand-alone, 1-day, or short-term workshops), intensive, collaborative, job-embedded, data-driven, and classroom focused.” (S. 1177, Section 8002, page 295, paragraph 42).

So, what should 2017 PD look like under ESSA standards?

Sustained:  Sustained professional development should be a hands-on learning experience with practice time, followed by administrative expectations and support for application embedded in the work that needs to be done.  Following this, successes and failures should be shared, debriefing and coaching should occur and plans made for future applications.  Rinse and repeat to ensure that the current thinking permeates the culture of the district.

Intensive:  Intensive and rigorous work means nothing if it does not address academic achievement goals in a manner that will make a difference.  In order for strategies and solutions to work, they must be aligned with the needs of the students that we serve.  Determining those needs should be the first step in any focused work that we do.  Taking the time to analyze the data to determine true cause will ensure that your intensive work will address the real issues and your work will be focused on true solutions.

Collaborative: Many times work in school districts is done in silos, where expertise reigns, but despite the expertise certain pieces may be missing to make the initiative successful.  Including all stakeholders – parents, students, other departments, etc. ensures that you will have considered all the issues and perspectives necessary for successful implementation, including buy-in and potential problems and opportunities.

Job Embedded:  Professional development means nothing if the learning does not make it into the daily workings of the teacher or leader.  One way to ensure that it does is to have clear expectations and provide support and follow up by sharing successes and failures in a trusting and safe environment.

Data Driven: Many times we have lots of data, we are just not sure what is relevant and what is not or if there are pieces missing.  How do we determine what is and what is not relevant?  How do we organize the data so that it gives us the information that we need?  Using an established tool like Problem Analysis can help you make sense of the data you have and determine what needs to be done.

Classroom Focused: Helping our students achieve is always the ultimate goal of our educational system.  Budgets and logistics sometimes seem to be over-riding objectives when we make decisions.  Ensuring that we are using a decision making process that minimizes bias and keeps decision makers focused on the desired end results can make certain that our educational goals stay at the forefront.

TregoED is proud that all of our signature leadership workshops, which focus on problem solving and decision making processes, have always met the ESSA standards and would be happy to share how we can help you transform your district’s approach to problem solving and decision making to increase the capacity of your staff and move the district forward in student achievement.