Index
Excellent Teaching and Learning Every Day

Definition of Professional Development

President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act, the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, on December 10, 2015.  


“Learning Forward’s focus in this new law is its improved definition of professional learning," said Stephanie Hirsh, executive director of Learning Forward. "We’ve long advocated for a definition of professional development in federal policy that aligns with our Standards for Professional Learning. We concentrated our advocacy energy on this element of the legislation because that definition applies to the references to professional development that appear throughout the law."


Read Hirsh's full comments, and the full definition below: 


"PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT — The term ‘professional development' means activities that—

"(A) are an integral part of school and local educational agency strategies for providing educators (including teachers, principals, other school leaders, specialized instructional support personnel, paraprofessionals, and, as applicable, early childhood educators) with the knowledge and skills necessary to enable students to succeed in a well-rounded education and to meet the challenging State academic standards; and
"(B) are sustained (not stand-alone, 1-day, or short term workshops), intensive, collaborative, job-embedded, data-driven, and classroom-focused, and may include activities that—
"(i) improve and increase teachers'—
"(I) knowledge of the academic subjects the teachers teach;
"(II) understanding of how students learn; and
"(III) ability to analyze student work and achievement from multiple sources, including how to adjust instructional strategies, assessments, and materials based on such analysis;
"(ii) are an integral part of broad school-wide and district-wide educational improvement plans;
"(iii) allow personalized plans for each educator to address the educator’s specific needs identified in observation or other feedback;
"(iv) improve classroom management skills;
"(v) support the recruitment, hiring, and training of effective teachers, including teachers who became certified through State and local alternative routes to certification;
"(vi) advance teacher understanding of—
"(I) effective instructional strategies that are evidence-based; and
"(II) strategies for improving student academic achievement or substantially increasing the knowledge and teaching skills of teachers;
"(vii) are aligned with, and directly related to, academic goals of the school or local educational agency;
"(viii) are developed with extensive participation of teachers, principals, other school leaders, parents, representatives of Indian tribes (as applicable), and administrators of schools to be served under this Act;
"(ix) are designed to give teachers of English learners, and other teachers and instructional staff, the knowledge and skills to provide instruction and appropriate language and academic support services to those children, including the appropriate use of curricula and assessments;
"(x) to the extent appropriate, provide training for teachers, principals, and other school leaders in the use of technology (including education about the harms of copyright piracy), so that technology and technology applications are effectively used in the classroom to improve teaching and learning in the curricula and academic subjects in which the teachers teach;
"(xi) as a whole, are regularly evaluated for their impact on increased teacher effectiveness and improved student academic achievement, with the findings of the evaluations used to improve the quality of professional development;
"(xii) are designed to give teachers of children with disabilities or children with developmental delays, and other teachers and instructional staff, the knowledge and skills to provide instruction and academic support services, to those children, including positive behavioral interventions and supports, multi-tier system of supports, and use of accommodations;
"(xiii) include instruction in the use of data and assessments to inform and instruct classroom practice;
"(xiv) include instruction in ways that teachers, principals, other school leaders, specialized instructional support personnel, and school administrators may work more effectively with parents and families;
"(xv) involve the forming of partnerships with institutions of higher education, including, as applicable, Tribal Colleges and Universities as defined in section 316(b) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1059c(b)), to establish school-based teacher, principal, and other prospective teachers, novice teachers, principals, and other school leaders with an opportunity to work under the guidance of experienced teachers, principals, other school leaders, and faculty of such institutions;
"(xvi) create programs to enable paraprofessionals (assisting teachers employed by a local educational agency receiving assistance under part A of title I) to obtain the education necessary for those paraprofessionals to become certified and licensed teachers;
"(xvii) provide follow-up training to teachers who have participated in activities described in this paragraph that are designed to ensure that the knowledge and skills learned by the teachers are implemented in the classroom; and
"(xviii) where practicable, provide jointly for school staff and other early childhood education program providers, to address the transition to elementary school, including issues related to school readiness."

Resources for more information about the definition

 

Stults Road Elementary:
PD in Action (105 mb)

Stults-Road-PD
MP4-icon Right-click here to download
A Powerful New Definition of
Professional Development (101 mb)

Professional-Development
MP4-icon Right-click here to download
Stults Road Elementary:
PD in Action (119 mb)

Stults-Road-study
MP4-icon Right-click here to download
Explanation of Proposed
Definition (65 mb)

explanation-proposed-definition
MP4-icon Right-click here to download
Ford Middle School:
PD in Action (87 mb)

ford
MP4-icon Right-click here to download
John H. Reagan High School:
PD in Action (73 mb)

reagan
MP4-icon Right-click here to download

Visit our Learning Forward YouTube channel for additional videos.




We appreciate the production support of School Improvement Network.