Professional Development for Teachers and Leaders
Effective teacher practice is refined through a structured, collaborative effort among teachers within the school system.
We offer professional learning sessions to deepen teacher knowledge of pedagogy and content and sessions to guide district leaders to effectively support their teachers. Our professional development protocols assume that good teaching can be learned, and that such learning depends on district structures that facilitate ongoing professional learning.
We offer school and system professional learning in two strands—teachers and leaders. Read more below about each different strand, or email us to learn more about how we can bring these professional learning sessions to you.
Professional Learning Sessions – Leader Strand
In this suite of sessions, your leadership team—representatives from throughout the system, including central office administrators, campus administrators, instructional coaches, and key teacher–leaders—will engage in a set of research-based processes and tools to help you strengthen existing district structures to provide the necessary support for a standards-based instructional system.
Specifically, your team will learn and practice using a cohesive set of protocols to help you zero in on key effective policies and practices that you and your colleagues can leverage to improve your whole education system. Our professional learning sessions for educational leaders focus on processes and skills for collecting data about the instructional program, for aligning curriculum, instruction, and assessment, and for collaborating with colleagues including classroom teachers, to improve the instructional program in mathematics and science.
Assessing and Advancing the Implementation of the College and Career Readiness Standards: A Set of Strategic Levers
Key leaders, representing 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 CCR 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), representative teachers and leaders will work toward a deep level of 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. Educators learn how to use a set of structured tools to strengthen alignment through collaborative conversations focused on the standards. Using these tools, you will explore how to use the standards to guide decisions around teaching, learning, and assessment.
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.
This session is offered regularly with specific focus on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills and for the Common Core State Standards, and can be tailored to any state standards.
Classroom Walkthrough for Continuous Improvement
Campus principals, instructional coaches/lead teachers, and district instructional leaders will learn how to implement the Dana Center’s updated Classroom Walkthrough for Continuous Improvement processes and tools.
By engaging in practice walkthroughs (through watching videos), participants will strengthen their understanding of the CWTCI data-collection “look-fors” which are aligned to the expectations outlined in college and career readiness standards.
Classroom walkthroughs are a quick and easy way to gather real-time data on your curriculum and instructional program. Our unique classroom walkthrough process provides you with a suite of tools and resources to use in implementing our continuous improvement process.
In this session, you will learn and practice how to use 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 improve your program.
Collect, Analyze, Reflect, and Act (CARA) Cyclical Improvement Process
CARA is 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, and instructional coaches / 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 data that the school and/or district collect. When used regularly, the process is an effective tool for monitoring and adjusting.
Systems Thinking, Systems Changing
Key leaders, representing 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 Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum
District instructional leaders, campus principals, and instructional coaches/lead teachers will engage in a process to identify and analyze the current state of critical structures (processes and procedures) that are necessary 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 year-long study of instructional leadership that is designed to enhance your capacity to function successfully as an instructional leader by providing on-going professional learning.
Through a series of sessions that connect multiple content emphases—including adult learning theory, leadership practices, facilitation skills, and theoretical frames for instructional leadership—members of this team will develop and refine the knowledge and skills necessary to facilitate the system-wide implementation of your chosen education standards. Specifically, 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 of these resources to collaborate with teachers to improve instruction and help ensure that all students master the TEKS and are 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 instructional coaching programs?
In this session, you will explore a number of “innovation configurations” 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 a system embarks on implementing an innovation, it is critical to 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 this suite of sessions, your teacher teams—made up of representatives from a given K–12 core content area and 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 develop a District Curriculum Framework that guides the instruction delivered in every classroom in every school in the district.
Study the Standards
In this session (also listed in the leadership strand), representative teachers and leaders will work toward a deep level of understanding of the purpose, intent, depth, and clarity of the standards. This session is also designed to foster among teachers and leaders 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 representative teams will study the standards to develop their understanding of the vertical and horizontal 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 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.
Scope and Sequence
Through collaborative processes, representative 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 (organized by quarter).
The resulting 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 commitment to implementing the standards.
Units of Study
Representative teachers in the identified grade levels will develop Units of Study (by quarter) 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.
In this phase, 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
Representative 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
In this phase, representative 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 experience.Learn more
Get in Touch
We collaborate with state districts and teachers to develop innovative curricula, resources, and professional development.