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. 

Ten Reasons Why Teachers Must Be Magic. A Special Letter From Santa!

A reflection on belief, hard work and the great deal of magic in the education profession by Mike Gorman.

Blog
To Evaluate or Not to Evaluate: That Is NOT the Question

This article from The National Commission on Teaching and America's Future takes a clear-eyed look at teacher evaluation: bringing together policymakers, practitioners, and researchers to discuss a vision for cohesive systems that assess and support teachers based on where they are in their career and their development.

News
From Quicksand to Solid Ground: Building a Foundation to Support Quality Teaching Across the United States
From Quicksand to Solid Ground: Building a Foundation to Support Quality Teaching Across the United States

The Transforming Teaching Project at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education has released a white paper describing a policy vision for teaching: From Quicksand to Solid Ground: Building a Foundation to Support Quality Teaching Across the United States.

Publication
Building Literacy Capacity: The Conditions for Effective Standards Implementation
Building Literacy Capacity: The Conditions for Effective Standards Implementation

In the just-released report Building Literacy Capacity: The Conditions for Effective Standards Implementation, new research from the National Center for Literacy Education (NCLE) presents a profile of what it takes to get standards implementation right.

Publication
Driving Dynamic School Transformation

Transforming schools today requires a coordinated approach involving tech tools, professional development and learning systems. Read as Leslie Wilson looks at a critical challenge highlighted in the K12 Edition of the Horizon Report and discusses ways to address it. 

Blog
Don't Forget to Stop and Celebrate Successes

How often do you take the time to celebrate successes at your school? Read about how one district has designed a win-win for all! 

Blog
Edtech on the Horizon Proves Both Promising and Challenging

The Horizon Report for K-12 reveals some wicked challenges. Read as Leslie Wilson explores school approaches to meeting these challenges. 

Blog
Reminder for Leaders - Recognition Matters

Education technology and those of us who work in it have kind of taken it on the chin over the years. We’re told that it technology too expensive and that we can’t prove the value. Teachers and students complain that they don’t have sufficient support or get enough PD, but those are the first budgets cut. We’re put on the hot seat for getting ready for online assessment without sufficient resources or guidance. Then we get blamed for not protecting student privacy and data security. And why can’t we make up our minds when it comes to devices and BYOD?

Blog
5 Tips for the ISTE Exhibit Hall

How do you make the best of the exhibit hall at a large Ed-Tech Conference? Read Bob Moore's insider tips just in time for ISTE15.

Blog
Removing Roadblocks

For true innovation to take place, leaders need to build a culture of support for teachers. View Donna Tueber's valuable tips for bringing the right culture into being.

Blog

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