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Equity. Access. Excellence.

Professional Development for Teachers and Leaders

Teacher practice is refined through ongoing structured collaboration among teachers within the school system.

We offer professional learning sessions to deepen teacher knowledge of pedagogy and content and to guide district leaders to effectively support their teachers. 

Research shows that good teaching can be learned, so our professional development protocols help you create district structures that facilitate and sustain ongoing learning.

We offer school and system professional learning in two strands—sessions for teachers and sessions for leaders. Read more about each strand, or email us to learn more about how we can bring these professional learning sessions to you.


Professional Learning Sessions – Leader Strand

In these sessions, your leadership team—representatives from throughout the system, including central office administrators, campus administrators, instructional coaches, and key teacher–leaders—use our suite of research-based processes and tools to strengthen existing district structures and support your standards-based instructional system.

Your team will learn about—and practice using—a set of protocols to help you zero in on key policies and practices that you and your colleagues can leverage to improve your local education system.

Our professional learning sessions for education leaders focus on processes and skills for

  • collecting data about the instructional program,
  • aligning curriculum, instruction, and assessment, and
  • collaborating with colleagues, including classroom teachers, to improve the instructional program in mathematics and science.

Explore the professional learning sessions for education leaders below or email us for more information.

  • ASSESSING AND ADVANCING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE STANDARDS: A SET OF STRATEGIC LEVERS

    Key leaders from all levels of the district system, including district and campus administrators and lead teachers, will engage in structured collaborative conversations about the implementation of the standards.

    After identifying the current state of district structures and practices, this representative group will craft recommendations to district decision makers for advancing district-wide implementation of the College and Career Readiness standards for mathematics and for English language arts—and of analogous standards for science and for social studies when they are available.

  • Study the Standards

    In this session (also listed in the teacher strand of sessions), teachers and leaders will work toward deep understanding of the purpose, intent, depth, and clarity of the standards. This session is also designed to foster a sense of urgency and a commitment to engaging in an ongoing study of the standards on campuses and throughout the district.

    Teachers and leaders will learn and practice using tools to explore the horizontal and vertical alignment of the standards. These tools can be leveraged among groups of teachers to build a common understanding of the standards and to strengthen system-wide capacity for continuing study of—and alignment of the instructional program to—the standards.

    You will also explore ways to use the standards to guide decisions around teaching, learning, and assessment.

    This session is offered regularly with a focus on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills or the Common Core State Standards. It can be tailored to any state or national education standards.

  • Classroom Walkthrough for Continuous Improvement

    Campus principals, instructional coaches, lead teachers, and district instructional leaders learn how to implement the Dana Center’s updated Classroom Walkthrough for Continuous Improvement processes and tools.

    By engaging in video-based practice walkthroughs, participants will strengthen their understanding of the Dana Center’s data-collection “look-fors,” which are aligned to the expectations outlined in college and career readiness education standards.

    Classroom walkthroughs are a quick and easy way to gather real-time data on the real-world implementation of your instructional program. Our unique classroom walkthrough process provides you with tools and resources to use for your continuous improvement process.

    In this session, you will practice using the data collection tool to accurately gather, aggregate, and analyze the data to identify patterns and trends. You will also learn and practice a process for promoting meaningful, reflective conversations and for generating classroom-level actions to strengthen your program.

  • Collect, Analyze, Reflect, and Act (CARA) Cyclical Improvement Process

    The Dana Center’s CARA protocol supports a collaborative process that involves teachers and leaders in reflective conversations designed to lead to action, usually in the classroom. District instructional leaders, campus principals, instructional coaches, and lead teachers will learn how to implement the Dana Center’s CARA cycle for continuous improvement.

    Participants will have opportunities to explore the CARA cycle and see it modeled so that they will be comfortable using it in their schools. The cycle can be used with any kind of school or district data that you want to collect. When used regularly, the process is an effective tool for monitoring and adjusting the practices studied.

  • Systems Thinking, Systems Changing

    Key leaders from all levels of the system, including district and campus administrators and lead teachers, will engage in a change simulation designed for use by collaborative teams. 

    Participants will gain a deeper knowledge of the change process and will experience planning for—and leading—organizational change.

  • Structures to Support the Implementation of Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum

    District instructional leaders, campus principals, instructional coaches, and lead teachers will engage in a process to identify and analyze the current state of critical structures (processes and procedures) necessary for successful implementation of the guaranteed and viable curriculum. Participants will learn ways to support 

    the ongoing work of teachers in developing and implementing the district curriculum framework and 

    the collaborative endeavors of professional learning communities throughout the system.

  • Instructional Leadership Academy

    The instructional leadership team, a group of key teacher-leaders (frequently, leaders who coach teachers) will engage in a yearlong study of instructional leadership. 

    This study is designed to enhance your success as an instructional leader by providing ongoing professional learning.

    Through a series of sessions that connect multiple content emphases—including adult learning theory, facilitation skills, best practices in education leadership, and theoretical frameworks for instructional leadership—members of this team will develop and refine the knowledge and skills necessary to facilitate successful system-wide implementation of your chosen education standards. 

    You will learn how to effectively use the Dana Center’s proven tools, strategies, and processes—including 

    • a rigorous study of your standards for increasing alignment of curriculum, instruction, and assessment; 
    • group and team development strategies; 
    • our Collect, Analyze, Reflect, and Act (CARA) school improvement process; and
    • our unique approach to classroom walkthroughs.

    You will use all these resources to collaborate with teachers to improve instruction and to help ensure that all students master the content described in your district’s standards and leave school prepared for college and careers.

  • Making the Most of your Coaching Investment

    Could you use a coherent set of tools and processes for initiating or strengthening your local instructional coaching program?

    In this session, you will 

    • explore several innovation configurations—maps showing levels of implementation of an innovation—for a district coaching program, 
    • acquire easy-to-use tools for gathering data, and 
    • learn how to use supporting tools and processes in collaborative work with teachers. 

    You will also determine how these tools and processes fit within your current coaching program and map out implications and next steps for your program.

    These resources are designed to support coaching initiatives throughout implementation, from initiating the conversation to assessing the need in your district to guiding the work of your coaches.

  • USING THE CONCERNS-BASED ADOPTION MODEL TO SUPPORT IMPLEMENTATION OF A CHANGE INITIATIVE

    Change is a process, not an event. When your system begins implementing an innovation, it is critical that you actively engage the individuals who will implement the change. 

    Leaders and change facilitators need tools to help gather data about people’s attitudes, beliefs, feelings, behaviors, and actions with respect to the specified change.

    Developed from the research of Gene Hall and Shirley Hord, the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM) describes, explains, and predicts emotions and behaviors throughout the change process. 

    Two of the CBAM components, Stages of Concern and Levels of Use, are particularly helpful to change facilitators in diagnosing and determining interventions to support the users of the innovation.

    In this session, you will learn about the Concerns-Based Adoption Model and how to use Stages of Concern and Levels of Use to support the individuals responsible for advancing and monitoring the implementation of a school system’s change initiative.


Professional Learning Sessions – Teacher Strand

In these sessions, your teacher teams—representatives from a given K–12 core content area, organized by content areas and grade-level bands—first engage in the foundational work of gaining a common depth of understanding and fluency with the standards. 

They then build on this knowledge to collaboratively develop a district curriculum framework that guides the instruction delivered in every classroom in every school in the district.

Explore the professional learning sessions for education leaders below or email us for more information.

  • ​Study the Standards

    In this session (also listed in the leadership strand of sessions), teachers and leaders will work toward deep understanding of the purpose, intent, depth, and clarity of the standards. This session is also designed to foster a sense of urgency and a commitment to engaging in an ongoing study of the standards on campuses and throughout the district. 

    Teachers and leaders will practice using tools to explore the horizontal and vertical alignment of the standards. These tools can be leveraged among groups of teachers to build a common understanding of the standards and to strengthen system-wide capacity for continuing study of—and alignment of the instructional program to—the standards. 

  • Extending Our Study: Professional Teaching Model

    Teachers in teams organized by subject matter and/or grade band will study the standards to develop their understanding of the horizontal and vertical alignment of the student expectations and to plan lessons that address implications for classroom practice. 

    This study and lesson development will focus on areas within the standards in which the scope or rigor of the content shifts significantly—and for which there are potential challenges to classroom implementation.

    By using diagnostic, goal-setting, mapping, and monitoring tools, these teachers will initiate or strengthen professional learning communities among their colleagues, with the goal of improving standards-aligned teaching and learning throughout the school or district.

  • Scope and Sequence

    Through collaborative processes, teams of teachers, divided into grade-banded groups particular to content, will parse the standards into a document that outlines the relevant standards taught within units of study.

    The resulting scope-and-sequence document—and the processes learned—will provide a foundation for continued work by teacher teams to design units of study and create common lessons, and a platform from which to build a system-wide district curriculum framework for implementing the standards.

  • Units of Study


    Representative teachers from the identified grade levels will develop units of study that are aligned to the standards identified in the Scope and Sequence document. These units will include 

    • an overview of the unit (total number of days, student learning expectations for both the content and the processes to be learned, and essential questions the students should be able to answer by the end of the unit) and 
    • a clarification of the standards within a vertically aligned instructional program.
  • Implementation

    Teacher team members and their colleagues draw on the processes they learned during the Scope and Sequence and Units of Study work, to engage as independent teams to

    • Study the Units of Study collaboratively,
    • Plan common lessons, and
    • Document any revisions/refinements necessary in the Units of Study. 
  • Study the Standards:Instructional Materials Analysis & Selection

    Teachers will engage in and learn a process for examining available instructional materials through the lens of the standards. This vetting of resources will provide viable options to bolster the District Curriculum Framework with aligned supporting resources.

  • Curriculum Framework Refinement

    Teachers will implement the refinements necessary to strengthen the District Curriculum Framework.

    Participants will analyze the documentation they gathered through the collaborative process of implementing the curriculum framework, reflect on how well the framework aligns vertically and horizontally to the standards, and determine which refinements will strengthen the framework.
     

Collaborative Online Professional Learning

Engage with experts and educators with our collaborative online courses for professional learning. These sessions are more than a webinar. They are an interactive and engaging learning experiences.

Learn more