How Curriculum And Professional Learning Intersect

By Frederick Brown and Stephanie Hirsh
February 2018
Vol. 39 No. 1
Research has found that high-quality curricula have a significant impact on student achievement (Steiner, 2017; Chingos & Whitehurst, 2012). But a curriculum is not effective on its own. It requires teachers who understand it and use it with intentionality and professional judgment. This means teachers who know the curriculum and their students well. It also means teachers who have the time and support to hone their practice collaboratively in a way that brings the curriculum alive and advances student learning (Wiener & Pimentel, 2017). Learning Forward will explore this critical topic deeply throughout our publications and at our institutes and Annual Conference. The two articles that follow are a key starting point. In the first, p. 57, Learning Forward Executive Director Stephanie Hirsh takes a

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Stephanie Hirsh and Frederick Brown

Stephanie Hirsh ( is executive director of Learning Forward.

Frederick Brown ( is deputy executive director of Learning Forward.


Chingos, M. & Whitehurst, G. (2012, April). Choosing blindly: Instructional materials, teacher effectiveness, and the Common Core. Washington, DC: Brown Center on Education Policy.

Steiner, D. (2017, March). Curriculum research: What we know and where we need to go. Standards Work, 1-13.

Wiener, R. & Pimentel, S. (2017, April 2). Practice what you teach: Connecting curriculum & professional learning in schools. Washington, DC: The Aspen Institute.

Hirsh, S. & Crow, T. (2017). Becoming a learning team: A guide to a teacher-led cycle of continuous improvement. Oxford, OH: Learning Forward.

Instruction Partners. (2017). What does it take to implement a strong curriculum effectively? Nashville, TN: Author.

Kane, T., Owens, A., Marinell, W., Thal, D., & Staiger, D. (2016, February). Teaching higher: Educators’ perspectives on Common Core implementation. Cambridge, MA: Center for Education Policy Research, Harvard University.

Opfer, V.D., Kaufman, J.H., & Thompson, L.E. (2016). Implementation of K-12 state standards for mathematics and English language arts and literacy. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corp.

Learning Forward. (2011). Standards for Professional Learning. Oxford, OH: Author.

National Policy Board for Educational Administration. (2015). Professional Standards for Educational Leaders 2015. Reston, VA: Author.

Chief Learning Officer/Deputy at Learning Forward | + posts

Frederick Brown is Learning Forward’s chief learning officer/deputy, where he leads the association’s business services and membership teams as well as overseeing program content for the Learning Forward Academy and conferences and institutes.

Stephanie Hirsh retired in June 2019 after 31 years with Learning Forward, an international association of more than 13,000 educators committed to increasing student achievement through effective professional learning. Hirsh led the organization as its executive director for the last 13 years where she presented, published, and consulted on Learning Forward’s behalf across North America.

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