Teaching high standards demands top skills, and teachers want and need support to develop their practice so that their students can succeed. All told, $18 billion is spent annually on professional development, and a typical teacher spends up to 89 hours each year—more than two weeks— on district- and self-guided professional learning activities. Yet by many measures, including the views of teachers themselves, many current professional development offerings are not relevant, not effective, and most important of all, not connected to their core work of helping students learn.
Grantee Highlight: School By Design
Helping districts find time within existing schedules by making the most of available resources to create smarter master schedules. The software combines information—including staff numbers and role descriptions, graduation requirements, student achievement data, and bell schedules—to produce options to restructure existing resources to align with priority goals. Specifically, this tool helped our partner districts identify time within their existing school day to devote to evidence-based, teacher-driven professional development opportunities.
That’s why we support efforts like the Innovative Professional Development (iPD) Challenge, which is helping districts adjust their practice to improve teacher support systems and the availability of high-quality, teacher-centered, evidence-based professional development. Since no one knows teaching like teachers, iPD is personalized to what teachers need and ask for to help students learn. IPD has created a suite of designs and tools to support implementation at the district level. These tools prompt and enable iPD districts to develop strategies to create extra time for and enhance teacher collaboration. Partner districts in New York, NY, Bridgeport, CT, Long Beach and Fresno, CA, and Jefferson County, CO are developing learning tools and strategies focused on peer coaching, collaboration, and scalable modes of delivery.
Teachers Know Best
Teachers Know Best highlights feedback from 1,300 education professionals about their professional development. The Boston Consulting Group conducted a research study on professional development for teachers to help identify needs and opportunities for improvement. Subsequent research included a survey of 1,600 additional teachers.