April 2016

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The Learning Professional

Published Date

In This Issue


With A Continuous Improvement Mindset, We Can Achieve Equity And Excellence

Literacy proficiency is foundational to every child’s success in school. Students take English language arts courses in every grade and apply their literacy skills in every course. Lacking literacy skills, students fall behind in all subjects. Every teacher is a literacy teacher, and every teacher is a learner. The educator’s learning cycle is similar to […]

Speak Up For Better Learning 

The Every Student Succeeds Act’s (ESSA) new definition of professional learning and its requirements for evidence along with the allowable uses of funds under Title ll have great potential for continuous improvement of teaching and learning. If states and districts engage teachers who understand their learning needs, the needs of their students, and effective professional […]


Abstracts: April 2016 Issue

Learning Forward Foundation Seeks Your Stories 

The Learning Forward Foundation wants to share stories that highlight the work and impact foundation grants and scholarships are having within the variety of settings in which foundation awardees and grantees work. If you or your team have received a foundation grant or scholarship and would like to share your progress and learning with the […]

Book Club 

The Transformative Power Of Collaborative Inquiry: Realizing Change in Schools and Classrooms By Jenni Donohoo and Moses Velasco This guide helps school leaders shape the development of a sustainable professional learning culture with practical suggestions and in-depth research. A follow-up to Jenni Donohoo’s Collaborative Inquiry for Educators: A Facilitator’s Guide to School Improvement, the authors […]

Finding The Sweet Spot

Earlier this year, I engaged in professional learning with a group of elementary school teachers. We were investigating Madagascar hissing cockroaches and how they behave under different conditions. Throughout the experience, teachers gathered observations to help construct a scientific explanation and developed additional questions to be researched and investigated. One of these questions had to […]

Agents For Learning Competition Spurs Teacher Engagement In ESSA

Learning Forward and the National Commission on Teaching & America’s Future (NCTAF) are hosting a competition that invites teachers to submit written proposals for the best use of federal funding for professional learning under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). As part of their effort to highlight the critical role of teacher agency in professional […]

Changes In Coaching Study Design Shed Light On How Features Impact Teacher Practice

What The Study Says Teacher coaching is a powerful form of professional learning that improves teaching practices and student achievement, yet little is known about the specific aspects of coaching programs that are more effective. Researchers used a blocked randomized experiment to study the effects of one-to-one coaching on teacher practice. When pooled across all […]

Differentiating the Flipped Classroom Eric Carbaugh and Kristina Doubet, associate professors in the Department of Middle, Secondary, and Math Education at James Madison University, lead the webinar Differentiating the Flipped Classroom. The professors and ASCD faculty members work closely with practicing teachers to help them meet the needs of diverse learners. Carbaugh and Doubet conduct […]


Evaluating evaluations, Feedback tools, Professional learning success, From improvement to learning, Deeper learning, Common Core support

Are You Professional Learning Literate?

I didn’t realize until recently that people use the term wine literacy — that is, being able to talk knowledgeably about the fundamentals of wine or being able to read a wine. The idea makes sense for talking about a field where there are experts and then there are people who buy bottles based on […]

The power of teacher agency

It may be a well-worn trope, but for many educators, the problem with professional learning really is a modern example of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” On the one hand, school leaders need professional learning to implement successfully a range of teaching and learning initiatives driven by the state and district. They rely on professional development […]

The View From The Principal's Office 

Educational leaders understand their role in creating a schoolwide goal of continuous learning for teachers and students. They know the importance of identifying and providing the resources and professional learning necessary to foster improvements with the greatest potential to increase student achievement (DuFour & Mattos, 2013). However, not all principals have a strong knowledge base […]

Dive Into The Deep End 

The Internet has opened new avenues for professional learning design — especially the use of text and video to extend learning and create opportunities for the social construction of knowledge. When text is paired with collaborative designs, participants engage in powerful learning, which provides quality time to think out loud together. Engaging adults in text […]

Delicate Layers Of Learning 

For middle and high school teachers facing the challenge of implementing the Common Core State Standards, disciplinary literacy instruction is a critical element — and one for which many are unprepared. Disciplinary literacy focuses attention on the reading, writing, and communication skills unique to each discipline (Moje, 2008; Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008). Students need to […]

Literacy Mash-Up 

In our work with middle and high schools, we often find teachers and leaders grappling with the same set of essential questions on how to incorporate literacy instruction across content areas: What does literacy instruction look like for someone who isn’t a literacy teacher? Does literacy in content areas mean literacy, content literacy, or both? […]

Common Goal Unites District

It was the morning of the last social studies content-area literacy studio of the year. Five middle and high school social studies teacher leaders, the high school principal, the superintendent for instruction, and a coach from the University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership gathered around a table in the middle school library in Evanston, […]

Tailored For A Perfect Fit 

Susana Velasco always thought she designed lessons for her kindergarten students to help them meet the academic standards for their grade. But now she feels better equipped to adapt instruction to meet the needs of all the children in her class — a skill she has developed through her school’s participation in the Literacy Design […]

Power Plan 

“There’s still a question on the table. How can we get our students to read more and better? I mean, they read what they have to, and they’re doing OK. But how do we ensure that they are ready for what comes after high school?” This comment, made by an English teacher at Health Sciences […]

Smart Currency

Policymakers and education professionals have emphasized the importance of literacy in a global economy many times this century — in no instance more directly than when a young U.S. senator from Illinois addressed the American Library Association in June 2005: “Literacy is the most basic currency of the knowledge economy we’re living in today,” then-senator […]

Up Close: Make The Connection 

Sometimes Learning Forward’s tight focus on the Standards for Professional Learning as the fundamental building blocks for meaningful educator learning can lead members to ask a logical question: What about content? Isn’t content-specific professional learning essential if educators are increasing their effectiveness in helping all students learn and perform at high levels? The answer to […]

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This issue celebrates the 2022 revision of Standards for Professional Learning. It explains how and why the standards have been updated, provides examples of how educators at all levels are applying them to improve their work, and shares tools for implementing standards in your own context.

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