Professional Development

Sessions for groups of educators, school leaders, and administrators aimed at improving the performance of students within a given school district, county, or state

Educator Development, Student Focused

In addition to our school intervention programs, we also have several professional development (PD) series and ad-hoc classes. Our main professional development series, The Rhythm of the Learner Year, is our most popular series, especially when supporting a school entering one of our intervention levels. In some cases, districts have needed additional professional development.

Educational Directions knows that “best practice professional development” should be output not input driven. This shifts the focus to student performance demands rather than the common emphasis on teacher performance changes, which are unrelated to the student expectations.

Sample PD Sessions

Closing the
Achievement Gap

The performance gap set introduces Educational Directions approach to “red flag” gaps in scores between and among groups of students. ED tries to move beyond labels and scores. POVERTY, RURAL, ESE, ESL AND INNERCITY are not treated as causes or seen as adequate reasons for designing programs.

This series examines issues that may be associated with the labels and develops the knowledge base needed for adults to probe student learning and performing work to identify points at which work breaks down and identify the cause of breakdown so that support and next step learning and performing work can be intentional and targeted to individual student needs. Participants will leave each session with session materials, individual plans and in most cases in basket activities. ED can provide short term or ongoing coaching if desired.

Turn Around School Improvement

Building Effective Learners: How Do Students Learn?

The first step in ED’s Turn Around School Improvement Program is the “How Students Learn” series.

This series focuses on building the knowledge base of participants in the areas of learning theory, brain development and student learning work. The series emphasizes the importance of student work experience in building proficient students and is the foundational understanding for building lessons for learners. Participants will leave each session with session materials, individual plans and in most cases in basket activities. ED can provide short term or ongoing coaching if desired.

Raising Student Achievement

The raising student achievement set examines state testing expectations and redefines how schools need to think about what has to be raised to “raise achievement.”

With the successful transition expectation in place, schools and teachers need to build cultures and systems that enable students to be “partners” in the learning process. Students must understand expectations and own their work and performance. These sessions build the thinking base for and provide strategies for building student focused learning systems. Participants will leave each session with session materials, individual plans and in most cases in basket activities. ED can provide short term or ongoing coaching if desired.

 

College Readiness & Successful Transitions

This series addresses the issue of college/career readiness and the ED approach to preparing students for success. Sessions deal with rethinking college and career entry expectations and relating the expectations to “best practice” class rooms. 

These sessions build the thinking base for and provide strategies for building student engagement and student performance. Participants will leave each session with session materials, individual plans and in most cases in basket activities. ED can provide short term or ongoing coaching if desired.

Special
Education

This session starts with the learning/performance expected of all students and at how “special students” need to be included in an equivalent developmental process.

It emphasizes the need to build an “outcome focused” thinking base, a proficiency centered culture and links between Special Education students and state testing expectations. It prepares SPED teachers to move their students toward defined outcome expectations. Participants will leave each session with session materials, individual plans and in most cases in basket activities. ED can provide short term or ongoing coaching if desired.

 

Early Childhood Development

ED has found that the window of opportunity for developing many learner competencies and characteristics connected to MS and HS problems is most open PK-3. 

For this reason, we developed an early learner series. This series focuses on linking the PK-3 program to HS exit expectations and on the need to build the whole learner. Specific goals, thinking levels and work patterns that are critical to PK-3 program are examined and linked to the development of independent learners, thinkers and performers. Participants will leave each session with session materials, individual plans and in most cases in basket activities. ED can provide short term or ongoing coaching if desired. 

Our professional development courses are customized to meet the needs of the specific district or region with which we are working. There is no one size fits all set of professional development sessions that we would use district to district or state to state.

Development Based on Research

Our company, EDUCATIONAL DIRECTIONS, was set up in 1998 to support schools in the move from the old “input” age of reform to the “output” focus required by the new requirements and our early work with schools caused us to rethink much of what we “knew” about reforming schools. We learned, for example, that changing planning processes or teaching strategies doesn’t work if we fail to address the thinking patterns that shape the way schools interpret the plans.

One example of thinking that caused problems involves the presumed cause of student performance. For many schools, failure meant that the student did not learn the material tested and plans reflected this. Our research, however, indicated that student performance rests on 5 “legs” and all affect performance. We knew that if a school’s planning, program and curriculum did not assess and develop all 5 legs, we could have students learn and know but still fail to “pass” a test.  Therefore, the 5 Legged Model is used throughout much of our Professional Development programs and serves as a cornerstone for the 

 

Knowledge

Attitude

Perceptions

Thinking

Experience