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NMSI Blog

Professional Development Equips Educators with Valuable Tools

Professional development (PD) can take people from competency to excellence. Due to circumstances - the pandemic, for example - and technological advancement, the teaching profession constantly evolves. In addition, the ever-changing education landscape, including district guidelines and curriculum standards, continuously change, making it challenging for teachers to keep up with trends and best practices in the field.

Professional development transforms teachers into better educators by creating relevant and tailored course instructions for today’s students. Some research found that student achievement can improve by as much as 21 percentile points due to teachers’ participation in well-designed professional development programs.
 
There is always room for growth and improvement. Participating in PD can provide educators with new ways to sharpen skills. While gaining experience in the education field is a great teacher, PD opens people to new possibilities, strategies, knowledge and skillsets. And with more knowledge comes more confidence.
 
Education is a never-ending process. Therefore, K-12 education administration and school administrators need to encourage teachers to pursue professional development to ensure the best learning outcomes for their students and be more effective and satisfied in various aspects of their work.


 

Benefits of Professional Development

 

Teachers Learn Better Teaching Methods

When educators discover new teaching strategies through professional development, they can go back to the classroom and make changes to their styles and curricula to better suit the needs of their students. In addition, teachers' PD makes them more efficient in their presentations and course evaluations by exposing educators to new delivery methods, evaluation styles, and record-keeping strategies.
 

Teachers Develop Better Organization and Planning Skills

In addition to the hours spent presenting in the classroom, teachers spend much of their time on student evaluations, curriculum development and other paperwork. Professional development training can help teachers better plan their time and stay organized, making them more efficient and giving them extra time to focus on students rather than the paperwork.
 

Teachers Gain Knowledge and Industry Insight

Professional development programs enable teachers to expand their knowledge base in different subject areas. In addition, taking advantage of PD gives educators more knowledge and industry insight.

 

The Pandemic Increases the Need for PD


Few things have impacted the field of education and the need for PD as much as the COVID-19 pandemic. While administrators and teachers pivoted rapidly to employ alternative options so students could continue to learn, there were consequences. Teachers and students struggled with technology, advancements, increased mental health issues and measurable learning loss. All of these issues expanded the scope of teaching.
 

Delivering High-Quality PD


Although numerous PD options are available, they’re not all created equally. Sustainable and meaningful PD should consist of learning experiences that cultivate teachers' skills and knowledge. Whether PD is delivered in-person or as a hybrid or virtual model, high-quality PD focuses on content, collaboration, provisions for feedback and reflection and personalized coaching and support.
 
The National Math and Science Institute understands the importance of continuing education for teachers and school leaders. NMSI’s unique approach is based on its coaches, who are all active or retired teachers, and the collaborative nature of the programs. Teachers are engaged and encouraged to participate rather than simply attend a lecture.
 
This hands-on and peer-to-peer approach enables NMSI to empower teachers at all levels. The NMSI options include Professional Development, Curriculum Support and Teacher Villages. The success story of Pittsburgh Public Schools is one example of NMSI’s successful PD program. Although this program addressed AP, the supports are applicable for non-AP teachers.

 

Moving Forward


Investing in educators helps them feel valued and instills confidence with improved student performance as the end goal. Federal relief funds - The American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) - present a unique opportunity to deliver high-quality PD for educators.
 
Because technology and professional development play a critical role in addressing learning loss and learning challenges, they qualify as part of the 20 percent requirement stating the funds must be used to provide evidence-based interventions that address learning loss.
 
Equipping educators with the skills and tools to improvise student outcomes through professional development can help pave the way to mitigate learning loss and increase student achievement. Working with NMSI will enable you to develop a comprehensive plan to address learning loss and configure a better learning environment throughout the year.