Planning and Evaluating School Professional Development

Planning and Evaluating School Professional Development

0.50 USBE Credit
This microcredential focuses on the critical leadership skills of planning, organizing, conducting, and evaluating professional development. An essential component of professional development activities involves ongoing and systematic evaluation procedures.


To earn this 0.5 USBE credit microcredential, you will submit two evidence items demonstrating your ability to plan, organize, conduct, and evaluate effective professional learning activities for educators. You will also submit a reflection. Click the Learn More button for more information.


You will be charged $20 by the badge provider. You'll be charged at the point you submit your badge for final review.


The key learning metric in the K-12 environment is student achievement. It is defined as the amount of academic content a student learns in a determined amount of time. One of the key motivators for student achievement is professional development programs for K-12 teachers.
One of the most recent research studies, “Reviewing the Evidence on How Teacher Professional Development Affects Student Achievement,” was conducted by the U.S. Department of Education in 2007; it shows a significant metric that is still relevant today: Teachers who receive quality professional development can positively impact student achievement by 21 percentile points.
Look at it like this: A K-12 teacher in the United States typically impacts 25 students in every class. During a career, that teacher touches about 4,000 students’ lives. Thus, the return on investment is 25 times greater when investing in K-12 teacher professional development.
Few efforts have been made to evaluate the results of professional development beyond the brief responses requested at the conclusion of workshops which assess participant reaction to the session. It is an especially critical time for the K-12 education field to emphasize the evaluation of professional development for at least two reasons:
(a) Given the certainty of diminishing resources and competing priorities, the luxury of unfocused and unexamined professional development no longer exists. Increasing responsibility is bringing to K-12 education new demands for accountability.
(b) If K-12 education practices are to respond to rapidly changing technological and social structures, professional development is the primary vehicle for meeting that challenge.


Professional Development: Professional development is important because education is an ever growing, ever changing field. This means that teachers must be lifelong learners in order to teach each new group of students. Professional development not only allows teachers to learn new teaching styles, techniques, and tips, but also interact with educators from other areas in order to improve their own teaching. Though some short workshops are effective in introducing new topics, the most effective workshops are taught over time and involve hands on activities and interaction. This also allows for more questions and discussions to occur throughout the presentations. Ongoing professional development is critical for teachers who wish to be great at their jobs and offer the best to their students each day.


Bottom-Up Approach / EdCamps
The "unconference" or "edcamps" have led the way with new bottom-up approaches or grassroots professional development opportunities. Teachers in the field are deciding what they want to learn about, and then the information they garner is tailored to their needs. An "edcamp" starts out by several people coming together in a common location, hopefully with internet capability and other possible tools for success. The participants come up with topics in education that they want to learn more about. Some "edcamps" have a theme, and some are wide-open to be determined. Participants put their ideas on a large board or wall and a facilitator determines the trends in what people want. Then manageable groups are devised pertaining to a certain topic and participants are led to that location. The beauty of a true "edcamp" is if you are not getting what you want in that group or it isn't meeting your needs, you are allowed to get up and go to another group. While in a group, there is no real leader. There might be someone that helps start discussions, but does not present or lead the group…they also might help moderate to keep people on the chosen topic (to an extent). Another great quality of this format is that people can bring with them anything that pertains to the topic: books, pictures, videos, and etc.… They can also use BYOD, bring your own device, to research the topic while in the group. After a set amount of time, participants can chose to stay and continue the conversations on this topic, or they may choose to move to another group. I believe this is the ultimate bottom-up approach to professional development that is definitely empowering to the participants.

Teacher Leaders
The more healthy a teaching staff, the higher number of teachers who are teacher-leaders. The ability for an administrator to build leaders within the school is important to the culture of learning. I believe I don't have all the answers and I am not an expert on all topics…I believe others on our staff can support and do a better job by my empowering them to lead. Teachers step up, many times without pay or compensation, and feel a sense of service and leadership, They want to make sure our school is the best place to work and learn, and spreading their expertise is how they can support our school. Some administrators have a hard time giving up power and control; I think this negatively affects student achievement and hampers creativity. My job as principal is to make sure all students are thinking and being responsible. If I start with that premise, I also would want my teachers to do the same. They can glean so much from each other in our school, and truly my only job is to model professionalism, cultivate school culture, promote a growth mindset…and get the heck out of the way!

Cultivating culture through professional development is all about putting an emphasis on relationships. I believe a school will self-destruct without focusing on how to treat students, parents, community members, and colleagues. From day one, we preach 212 degrees of customer service. At 100 degrees, we support each other, seem positive, greet others occasionally, and help our customers…kids and parents. But, at 212 degrees, the boiling point, we are going out of our way to support kids, parents, and community members. We are making connections to all these people and put relationships first. When anyone enters our school we are saying hello and asking them if they need support. We go out of our way to make sure the needs of all stakeholders are met. We treat each other with a high level of respect. We greet each other everywhere in the school, we even set up times to meet outside of the school day to create even stronger bonds with the people we work with. We continually are creating, cultivating, and growing a place where everyone likes to work, learn, and "go to solution" daily!

Problem Solving
The amount of decisions a teacher or principal make in one day is incredible! A teacher makes roughly 1,500 decisions in a school day or four per minute. Professional development focusing on problem solving is essential! We constantly make decisions about students on curriculum, instruction, assessment, and behavior. In addition, we are also making decisions on making sure our kids get their basic needs met: food, clothing, and safe housing! We meet as a staff weekly to discuss problem solving strategies in our professional learning community (PLC) time.

Multi-Delivery Methods / Technology
As we know that learning isn't always asynchronous, we need to change our professional development offerings to mirror this change. Students can take classes in person, online, with mixed media, in a team environment, and these tasks can even be project-based. Teachers need the same. Some learn better by reading and implementing, than by getting modeled a strategy or team teaching. Some learn better when they can have more time to dig into a topic, then rushed through a topic in the devoted hour for PLC that week.


Testimonial: Provide a letter of support from your Mentor principal documenting your effectiveness in modeling lifelong learning by continually deepening understanding and practice related to content, standards, assessment, data, teacher support, evaluation, and professional development strategies.

Other: Using one of the guides below in Resources (Guide A, B, C) or another of your choice or as directed by your district, submit a no more than 5 page, double spaced report outlining the planning, organizing, conducting, and evaluation of a school-based Professional Development Activity which you have led as a part of your Internship or leadership activities.

Candidates are required to make 2 evidence submission(s).

Review Criteria

Evidence demonstrates that the candidate acts as an agent of continuous improvement and fosters a professional community of teachers and staff to promote each student's academic success and well-being.Evidence demonstrates that the candidate develops licensed faculty and staff members' professional knowledge, skills, and practice through a variety of opportunities for learning and growth, guided by understanding of professional and adult learning and development.Evidence demonstrates that the candidate delivers actionable feedback about instruction and other professional practice through comprehensive systems of evaluation and supervisory practices that support development of licensed faculty’s knowledge, skills, and practice as described in the Utah Effective Educator Standards.


  1. Reflect on the skills, concepts, and tools you have utilized as you have engaged with teachers in professional development activities you have directed as an administrative intern or school leader.

  2. Reflect on benefits you have observed in K-12 learners who have been students in teacher’s classes for whom you have developed and addressed professional development opportunities.

  3. Describe future plans and approaches to engage in developing your skills, concepts, and tools of Professional Development in your current or future educational context and setting.

Review Criteria

Reflection demonstrates that the candidate led professional learning that occurred within learning communities committed to continuous improvement, individual and collective responsibility, and goal alignment.Reflection demonstrates that the candidate led professional learning and aligned its outcomes with performance standards for teachers and school administrators as described in rules of the State Board of Education, and performance standards for students as described in the core standards for Utah public schools adopted by the State Board of Education pursuant to Section 53E-4-202.


A Primer for Continuous Improvement in Schools and Districts
This brief orients educational practitioners to the continuous improvement process and how it can work in educational settings. The brief provides an overview and includes references and resources that school and district leaders may find helpful as they seek to integrate continuous improvement cycles into their work to improve teaching and learning.

Best Practices for Professional Learning Communities
A professional learning community (PLC) involves much more than a staff meeting or group of teachers getting together to discuss a book they’ve read. Instead, a PLC represents the institutionalization of a focus on continuous improvement in staff performance as well as student learning. Called “the most powerful professional development and change strategy available,” PLCs, when done well, lead to reliable growth in student learning.

Effective Teacher Professional Development
Teacher professional learning is of increasing interest as one way to support the increasingly complex skills students need to succeed in the 21st century. However, many teacher professional development initiatives appear ineffective in supporting changes in teacher practices and student learning. To identify the features of effective professional development, this paper reviews 35 methodologically rigorous studies that have demonstrated a positive link between teacher professional development, teaching practices, and student outcomes. It identifies features of these approaches and offers descriptions of these models to inform those seeking to understand how to foster successful strategies.

Find What Works
The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) reviews the existing research on different programs, products, practices, and policies in education. Our goal is to provide educators with the information they need to make evidence-based decisions. We focus on the results from high-quality research to answer the question “What works in education?”

Guide A: Planning and Conducting Professional Development That Makes a Difference - A Guide for School Leaders
You may use this document as a guide to create your Outline evidence submission.

Guide B: Professional Development Plan - Winchester Public Schools
You may use this document as a guide to create your Outline evidence submission.

Guide C: Professional Development Plan - Hampton School District
You may use this document as a guide to create your Outline evidence submission

Handbook for Professional Learning Activities
The Handbook for Professional Learning is a comprehensive resource that offers step-by-step guidance on the stages of planning, implementing, and evaluating professional development at schools. It includes: ● a year-long view of possible professional learning cycles, ● a menu of differentiated professional learning options, ● needs assessments, ● intervisitation guidelines, and ● a checklist for planning professional learning throughout the year.

Standards for Professional Learning
Integrating theories, research, and models of human learning into the planning and design of professional learning contributes to its effectiveness. Several factors influence decisions about learning designs, including the goals of the learning, characteristics of the learners, their comfort with the learning process and one another, their familiarity with the content, the magnitude of the expected change, educators' work environment, and resources available to support learning. The design of professional learning affects its quality and effectiveness.

Theories of Teaching and Learning: What do they mean for Educators
Education has always been awash with new ideas about learning and teaching. Teachers and administrators are regularly bombarded with suggestions for reform. They are asked to use new curricula, new teaching strategies, and new assessments. They are directed to prepare students for the new state standardized test or to document and assess students’ work through portfolios and performance assessments. They are urged to use research-based methods to teach reading and mathematics. Among educators, there is a certain cynicism that comes with these waves of reformist exhortations. Veteran teachers often smile wryly when told to do this or that, whispering asides about another faddish pendulum swing, closing their classroom doors, quietly going about their business. How are educators to sort the proverbial wheat from the chaff as they encounter these reform proposals?

Visible Learning: John Hattie
Professor John Hattie is a researcher in education. His research interests include performance indicators, models of measurement and evaluation of teaching and learning. John Hattie became known to a wider public with his two books Visible Learning and Visible Learning for teachers. Visible Learning is a synthesis of more than 800 meta-studies covering more than 80 million students. According to John Hattie, Visible Learning is the result of 15 years of research about what works best for learning in schools. TES once called him “possibly the world’s most influential education academic”.


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