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. 

A Focus on Equity, Students, and Teacher Champions Leads to 1:1 Success in Oak Grove

In just two years, José L. Manzo, superintendent of California’s Oak Grove School District has led a dramatic transition from traditional classroom teaching to student-centered learning supported by Acer Chromebooks.

Innovation and Smart Planning Make for 1:1 Success in New Caney, TX

New Caney ISD managed to deploy nearly 11,000 Intel-based Dell Chromebooks, in grades 3-12, within a few months, thanks to careful planning, early and ongoing professional development, student input, and effective allocation of resources.

The Evolution of 1:1 in Three Maine Districts

15 years later, the statewide MLTI program, the first of its kind in the nation, is still going strong, although with a broader range of choices – including Windows and Chrome-based hardware. 

Creating 21st-Century Classrooms in a Large Texas District

Careful planning, pilot programs, parental involvement, faculty collaboration, and student leadership are all key to the success of Leander ISD’s mobile learning initiative.

Going Big (Texas Style) with One-to-One Laptops

Houston ISD is about to enter the third phase of its phenomenally successful 1:1 PowerUp initiative, which allows teachers in all 282 district schools to create a rich learning environment filled with project-based learning, 21st-century skills development, and coursework aligned to individual aptitudes and interests. 

Empowering and Untethering Teachers in Tolleson, Arizona

Lenovo laptops and wireless display (WiDi) for their teachers – as well as testing out a variety of technology options with their students – have been keys to moving forward in the Tolleson Union High School District.

Redefining Learning in Maine Township, Illinois

Teacher-led professional development, a student “genius desk,” a 1:1 initiative featuring Dell Chromebooks, and oodles of collaboration all characterize High School District 207’s transformative approach.

Small Pilots Lead to a Successful 1:1 Program in Hillsborough, NJ

Four years ago, when the Hillsborough Township Public Schools started discussing 1:1, they were determined to take a careful and thorough approach to hardware planning. Their decision to adopt Chromebooks and Android tablets grew out of three years of pilots involving a variety of devices.

Miami-Dade Focuses on Equity in its 1:1 Initiative

When you’re planning a 1:1 initiative for a district the size of Miami-Dade Public Schools – the nation’s fourth-largest district – it’s crucial to have the infrastructure and a PD plan in place, along with a vision and support at every level.

1Two1 in Richland County School District Two

Thoughtful planning and organization, a focus on equity, and choosing the right device were keys to a successful 1:1 for this South Carolina district.

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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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Setting Goals for the New School Year

The start of school is an exciting time and I often use it as a reminder for focusing on professional goals for the upcoming year. Here are some of the goals I’ve set for myself this year.

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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