Professional Learning

Professional Learning Communities, or PLCs, have become crucial in designing school-wide strategies dedicated to helping students achieve their potential. The resources included in this toolkit are intended to help you meet the challenges presented by today’s educational landscape through effective professional learning and development opportunities.

All Professional Learning toolkit files

A zip file containing all downloadable Professional Learning Toolkit resources  

What is a Professional Learning Community?

Teachers working collaboratively and holding themselves accountable for the results

The Changing Role of Teachers

New tasks and challenges call for developing new abilities and setting aside old habits

Components of a Successful PLC

A comprehensive checklist that details what all thriving Professional Learning Communities have in common

Developing a Professional Learning Community

How principals can convince their staff that implementing a Professional Learning Community is worthwhile

Building Leadership

The role of the principal is critical in creating a school-wide environment of collaboration

Implement Effective Professional Learning Communities

A checklist for principals in creating a culture of continuous learning for their schools

PLC Peer Observation

Structured peer observations help teachers improve learning for all students

Mentoring and PLCs

Professional Learning Communities can act as dynamic support systems for teachers

PLC Teams

Utilize existing team structures and focus on what effective teams do to help all kids learn

How PLCs Impact Student Success

A PLC gets teachers working together as members of a high-performing, collaborative team  

The School District as a PLC

The PLC concept can extend beyond teachers and schools when district leaders become emphatic about district-wide learning goals

Developing a Learning Community

This resource from Microsoft* offers simple steps on launching enriching Learning Communities.

Learning Communities and Support

This Microsoft* resource offers ‘anytime, anywhere’ approaches to K-12 learning and explores new technology for transforming learning outcomes.

Building Leader Educator Capacity

This Microsoft* Education Transformation Framework helps fast track system-wide transformation by summarizing decades of quality research.

Teacher and Leader Capacity

This Microsoft* resource shares research revealing that top schools place an intensive focus on training, mentoring and collaborative working groups.

Seven Lessons Learned From Implementing Micro-credentials

This Friday Institute for Educational Innovation resource explores opportunities for educators to engage in rigorous professional learning.

Micro-Credentials and Professional Learning

Micro-credentials create new pathways for professional development: making learning more relevant to a teacher’s needs.  

 

State Digital Learning Exemplars

This Friday Institute for Educational Innovation resource examines how states are providing digital learning opportunities. 

Social Network Formation and its Impact on Learning

Written for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation MOOC Research Initiative, this report explores peer interaction in MOOCs for K-12 educators.

Implementation Stories: Rhode Island

This resource chronicles the experiences of Rhode Island school leaders with the Leadership in Blended and Digital Learning (LBDL) program.

The Digital Learning Transition MOOC for Educators

The Alliance and the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation offers lessons learned about new approaches to professional development.

Five Tips For First-rate PD

From specificity to inclusivity, these five tips help simplify and energize the professional learning process.

 

Rethinking Professional Learning and Assessment

Teacher-created assessments that have students applying skills to meaningful tasks directly connects assessments to curriculum.

Content-Focused, Expert-Led Collaboration at Achievement First

This ERS brief explores how Achievement First ignites the engine of professional learning. 

Drafting an Effective Professional Learning Plan

Drafting a professional learning plan is a critical step in setting teachers up for success.

Finding Time for Collaborative Planning

In this brief, ERS shares practical strategies for how principals can create more collaborative planning time.  

Frequent, Growth-Oriented Feedback at DC Public Schools

This ERS brief details how DC Public Schools connects professional learning to day-to-day instruction. 

Comprehensive Curricula and Assessments in Louisiana

In this brief, ERS shares how the Louisiana Department of Education is improving teacher learning.

Modeling Student-Centered Professional Learning

Professional learning should be teacher-centered: allowing educators to experience student-centered learning strategies in action.

Supporting Teachers with Design Thinking

Design Thinking can take root in a teacher’s pedagogy, laying the foundation for students to become independent learners. 

 

Google Classroom for Professional Learning

With Google Classroom, educators from different schools are brought together through profound professional development experiences. 

Get Cross-functional with Teacher Proficiency

The intersection of support from leadership, peer coaching, and measurable outcomes provide a collaborative forum for teachers.

Building the Next Generation of Teacher Training

Professional learning needs an inquiry process that encourages and supports educators as they engage in the impact of their development. 

Four Elements of Personalized Professional Learning

The Future Ready Schools framework for personalized professional learning is poised to meet the needs of today’s schools.   

 

Building Teacher Autonomy

Establishing a culture of continuous improvement provides the structure teachers need to become empowered and to help students to be successful. 

One-to-one is Going Wonderfully in Webster Central School District, New York

Webster Central School District is using technology to help kids learn essential 21st Century skills so that they can be successful in the real world: showing perseverance, risk taking, collaboration, and the ability to think on their feet.

It's All About Collaboration at Springfield Public Schools

This urban Massachusetts district is raising test scores, improving college- and career-readiness, bridging the equity divide, and changing the culture with help from its 1:1 laptop initiative.

Professional Development Wins the Day in Baldwin County, AL

Coaching, teacher academies, annual conferences, online classes and other forms of professional learning are keys to the success of this district’s 1:1 Chromebook initiative.

BYOD + District-Provided Devices = A Winning Solution in Wake County

In this large NC district, the goal wasn’t 1:1 – it was offering students multiple ways to learn, collaboratively, with help from the technology of their choosing.

The Keys to One-to-One Success in East Noble, Indiana

Five years into a successful initiative, this Project RED Signature District serves as a positive example to others.

Adopt, Adapt and Improve: Metro Nashville Public Schools Redefines School Libraries

Tennessee's Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools is blazing trails in innovative library and media center design to bring true 21st Century literacy to 83,000 students in more than 150 schools.

 
Lessons Learned from a Decade of One-to-One

Next-generation Windows devices, wireless display, and Microsoft apps are some of the new tools that are helping New Jersey’s River Dell Regional School District get better at what they were already excelling at: empowering and inspiring learners.

Preparing 21st Century Thinkers with Fujitsu 2-in-1 Ultrabooks

Partner Success Story: Read about how the Fujitsu Lifebook T935 Convertible Tablet PC Ultrabook is empowering teachers and students at St. Thomas More Catholic High School to transform the educational environment.

Producing Next-Generation Learners in Grapevine, Texas

With an investment in Windows 10 laptops for middle school students and tools such as Minecraft ​EDU, Grapevine-Colleyille ISD is creating a robust and educational 1:1 environment.

1:1 in Lynnwood, WA, Improves Collaboration, Engagement, and Equity

Edmonds School District has built quickly from two small pilots to a full 1:1 program using Intel-based Chromebooks in grades 3-12. Learn why they’re happy they did.

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Teachers sharing in teachers' lounge
New Professional Learning Case Studies from ERS

ERS studied school systems with improving student outcomes to learn these best practices for teacher professional learning. 

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Teachers Walking Together
3 Tips to Create More Exciting Professional Development

At the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) Convention and Exposition, Steve Dembo demonstrated how to “de-zombify” professional development. 

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Role-Playing Game Helps Teachers Solve Complex Challenges

By working together through a process known as foresight gaming, or 21st century strategy simulation, educators can find creative answers to complex problems.

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Pushing Beyond Future-Ready: Creating a Bold Context for K-12 Libraries

Rethinking the school library means being bold and thinking in disruptive directions. The question is: in what direction? David Jakes gives you four ways to jumpstart your thinking.

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Class Using Digital Tools
Transform Teaching with the New SHI Digital Transformation Toolkit

The new Digital Transformation Toolkit —sponsored by SHI—provides vital information on the essential components of digital transformation in today’s schools and districts.

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Not the Same Old Story: Tech and Text Work Better Together

Just as deeper reading creates better writers, this skill helps students to break down narrative as media consumers so that they may become more skillful creators.

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Teen Literacies Toolkit
YALSA's Teen Literacies Toolkit

YALSA (the Young Adult Library Services Association) has just released its Teen Literacies Toolkit to help teens make sense of their digital world.   

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Product vs. Process?

A key element of school improvement is that learning should be more authentic. But is this a perspective that should be rethought?

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Standing in Line

Being innovative means different things to different people. David Jakes explains why process without product isn't innovative.

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Systemic Maturity Required

The "real work" when implementing technology is about engaging the entire system in creating new realities that best serve learners, communities and economies.

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The K-12 Blueprint: Produced by Clarity Innovations

Clarity Innovations matches the most promising technology with the evolving needs of education. By merging creativity, technology, and pedagogy, we create powerful learning experiences. Learn More