Action steps for implementing Standards for Professional Learning

By Learning Forward
August 2022

Standards for Professional Learning set the vision for high-quality professional learning by defining the content, processes, and conditions that lead to great teaching and learning for all students and educators.

When states, provinces, school systems, and other jurisdictions adopt Standards for Professional Learning in policy and tie adoption to the actions that impact practice — for example, integrating standards into educator performance processes or requiring standards alignment in district planning — practice changes as a result. And when policymakers are convinced by compelling evidence that standards strengthen outcomes in schools, they adjust policy to reinforce their use.

Learning Forward believes that all educators have a role to play in advocating for Standards for Professional Learning adoption and implementation, no matter their role or positional authority. This tool is designed to help you plan the action steps that make sense for your role and stage of implementation.

For more information on standards policies and practices, visit, where you’ll find Action Guides by role, an explanation of how standards lead to change, and many more resources. More detailed guidance for adopting standards into policy will be available soon.

Action steps for systems that have adopted the standards

Adoption of Standards for Professional Learning creates alignment and coherence across the system. At the state level in the U.S., state boards of education adopt Standards for Professional Learning in formal policy. In some states, the standards are written into state regulations and code, either with the full list of standards or referencing the publication and website. Districts may also adopt the standards.

If your state, province, or district has adopted the standards, you can use them as a catalyst for immediate action. Review the following action steps and note which you have already done, are beginning to do, should consider doing, or are not ready to consider.

Other action steps for state and provincial policy

In addition to adopting Standards for Professional Learning as policy, states and provinces can use and embed the standards into policy in other ways. Review the following actions and mark whether your state or province has already done this, is beginning to do this, should consider doing this, or is not ready to consider this.

Other action steps for districts and schools

If Standards for Professional Learning have not been adopted at the state or province level, there are still many ways to embed the standards within systems. Review the following actions and mark whether your district, state, or province has already done this, is beginning to do this, should consider doing this, or is not ready to consider this.

Actions educators can take as policy leaders and advocates

If formal policy is not within their sphere of influence, educators can still use Standards for Professional Learning as frameworks and guidance in a variety of ways and advocate for their adoption. Classroom educators, team leaders, and coaches can increase the likelihood of standards adoption by reaching out to policymakers with documentation of their impact. Review the following first steps and consider where you stand with each of them.

Download a fillable pdf here.

Learning Forward is the only professional association devoted exclusively to those who work in educator professional development. We help our members plan, implement, and measure high-quality professional learning so they can achieve success with their systems, schools, and students.

The Learning Professional

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