Educators have known for many years the importance of continuous learning for staying current in terms of professional skills and knowledge (Guskey, 2000). “The purpose of professional learning is for educators to develop the knowledge, skills, practices, and dispositions they need to help students perform at higher levels” (Learning Forward, 2015, para. 1). Learning Forward (n.d.) describes the relationship between professional learning and improved student results as a cycle in which educators change skills and beliefs and later use their new knowledge to better meet student needs. As teacher practices improve, students are more likely to meet performance expectations, and the cycle begins again with a new improvement focus.
The more relaxed pace of summer provides an ideal opportunity for teachers to engage in professional development activities and to reflect upon their practices in preparation for the upcoming school year. Consider taking advantage of some of the learning opportunities listed below.
Specifically Designed for Virginia Educators
- T/TAC William & Mary’s Online Training Modules
- T/TAC Online
Professional Organizations and Resources
- Association of Curriculum and Staff Development (ASCD) – offers online learning opportunities, as well as more traditional professional development programs
- Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) – online professional development for special educators
- The Teaching Channel – online community where teachers can watch, share, and learn diverse techniques to help every student grow
- Edutopia – offers an online library of videos showcasing evidence-based learning practices in K-12 settings
- The IRIS Center – provides a wide variety of resources on evidence-based practices and programs, including instructional modules and research summaries from federally sponsored sites
- PBS Teacher Line and PBS Learning Media
Face-to-Face Professional Learning
- Content Teaching Academy, James Madison University, June 22-26, 2015
- The Library of Congress Summer Teacher Institutes, June 22-26, July 6-10, July 27-31, 2015
- Kagan 2015 Summer Academy, July 6-17, 2015
Summer learning opportunities abound, and teachers can strategically select activities that are both enjoyable and will contribute to their learning objectives. Several resources on professional development are noted below to get your summer learning started!
T/TAC W&M publishes quarterly newsletters that cover a broad range of topics to support educators of students with disabilities. Visit the T/TAC Link Lines Newsletter to explore articles on various topics.
T/TAC W&M Library recommends several books from our library each month. Visit the T/TAC W&M Link Lines Newsletter website to view Library book suggestions and sign up to receive emails.
The following resources on professional development are available for loan through the T/TAC W&M Library. In the search field, type Staff Development or Administrative Leadership/Reform.
|Understanding by Design: Professional Development Workbook||Wiggins, G.||ST160|
|Online Professional Development for Teachers||Dede C.||ST166|
|The Teacher’s Ultimate Planning Guide: How to Achieve a Successful School Year and Thriving Teaching Career||Burke, L.||ST154|
|“Sit & Get” Won’t Grow Dendrites: 20 Professional Learning Strategies That Engage the Adult Brain||Tate, M.||ST156|
|Individualizing Professional Development||Husby, V.||ST157|
|Creating a Dialogue: On Professional Development||Burello, L., Ettinger, L., & Hoffman, L.||ST47|
|Learning Circles: Creating Conditions for Professional Development||Collay, M., Dunlap, D., Enloe, W., & Gagnon, G.||ST95.1|
|Planning Together: Professional Development for Teachers of ALL Students||Bull, B., & Bueschler, M.||ST51|
|The Best of Dennis Sparks||Sparks, D.||ST88|
|The Dance of Change||Senge, P., et al.||ST94|
|Tools for Growing the NSDC Standards||Richardson, J., & Hirsh, S. (Eds.)||ST75|
|What Works in the Elementary Grades: Results-Based Staff Development||Killion, J.||ST117|
|What Works in the High School Grades: Results-Based Staff Development||Killion, J.||ST118|
|What Works in the Middle: Results-Based Staff Development||Killion, J.||ST101.1|
|Why Can’t We Get it Right?||Speck, M., & Knipe, C.||ST100|
Guskey, T. (2000). Evaluating professional development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Learning Forward. (n.d.). Quick reference guide: Standards for professional learning. Oxford, OH: Author. Retrieved from http://learningforward.org/docs/pdf/standardsreferenceguide.pdf
Learning Forward. (2015). Who we are. Oxford, OH: Author.