Evaluation and Support

Professional Development

Four core principles should guide the professional development of teachers:

1. Make sure that the teacher evaluation system has the capacity to drive professional development.

2. Professional development should be structured as a collaborative effort by a group of teachers answering DuFour’s critical questions: what do we want students to learn, how will we know they’ve learned it, and what will we do if they don’t?

3. Look as much as possible to the expertise, talent, and skills of teachers working with teachers as the most sustainable form of professional development.

4. Use external consultants for new undertakings where internal expertise may be lacking, but have a plan for growing that expertise.

A Word from Kate Walsh

A Word from Kate Walsh

One of the more frustrating and costly phenomena in teaching has been the woeful inadequacy of most professional development. It typically starts with lackluster student teaching experiences, and continues with inadequately funded inductions of new teachers, check-the-box re-certification requirements, and packing an auditorium to work on the new district-wide initiative. 

A substantial amount of money has been spent on professional development with little return on investment.

TNTP's The Mirage estimates that we spend $18,000 per teacher per year on professional development-related efforts, without substantial improvement in teachers' performance.  

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As of 2017, only 33 states have policies linking teacher evaluation systems with teachers' professional development.

States should encourage and support districts to use professional development appropriately--not because ten days have been set side, but because principals and teachers identify specific areas of growth. That process can only happen by linking evaluation systems to professional development.

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States leading the way:

Louisiana, North Carolina, and New York require districts to give teachers feedback on their performance as part of their evaluations. That feedback then drives professional development so that each teacher receives training and support based on his/her needs identified through those evaluations. 

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What we've learned:

A strong mentoring and induction program can help turn a teacher's first year from a struggle to a success. 

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What kind of mentoring and orientation programs do districts provide to new teachers?

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Districts certified by NCTQ as a Great District for Great Teachers earn this honor in part because they provide strong mentoring and support to new teachers and they align professional development with their teacher evaluation systems. 

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Explore Professional Development

Explore Professional Development by clicking on the blog posts and publications. Filter the content by selecting subtopics below.

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