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Schools must get smarter about teacher PD

Rigorous professional development can close, and possibly prevent, learning gaps

Tracy-Epp.pngA teacher’s time is precious—I can attest to that as a former teacher and school principal. School years are jam-packed with teaching, planning, data analysis, testing, and supporting students as they meet their learning goals.

Throughout, teachers make time to hone their skills and to stay current in their subject areas through observation, feedback and practice. And yet, despite billions of federal and local dollars spent every year on PD, far too many teachers say the experience does little to help them support their students. From the classroom to the district level, teachers want more from their PD.

They want, and deserve, professional development experiences that challenge them and translate directly to the classroom in meaningful ways. Fortunately, the education community has come a long way in its understanding of valuable PD. Teachers must have the opportunity and support to connect with worthwhile programs. Anything else is a lose-lose.