Webinar Helps Principals Build Better Professional Learning

By Learning First Alliance and Learning Forward

Professional learning is extremely important to student learning, and for students to succeed, schools must invest in the adults who teach them.

Learning Forward focuses on professional learning as a vehicle for school improvement, and its Deputy Executive Director Frederick Brown brought examples of principals' strategies to help teachers guide their students to college- and career-readiness in a webinar produced by Learning Forward and the Learning First Alliance on Aug. 18, 2016. A related webinar will be held on Aug. 30, 2016.

In the first webinar, which can be replayed, Brown discussed the importance of teacher efficacy—the collective responsibility by school faculty to reach a desired outcome for student achievement. He also detailed Learning Forward’s backmapping model for professional learning strategies:

  • Analyze student learning needs;
  • Identify characteristics of community and staff;
  • Develop outcomes and goals;
  • Identify educator learning needs and goals;
  • Examine research on professional learning methods;
  • Plan for implementation and evaluation;
  • Implement, sustain, and evaluate the methods.

An example of effective professional learning has taken place at Mary Harris “Mother” Jones Elementary in Prince George’s County, Md., a school that has a highly diverse, high-poverty student population. There, teachers must help students learn basic language skills as well as academic skills, said Niki Newman-Brown, the school’s former principal. She helped those teachers understand the transitions between elementary and middle school and implemented a writing curriculum that helps children express themselves.

Learning Forward will continue the conversation with a second webinar for district administrators: Leading Districts for College and Career Readiness: A Professional Learning Framework for District Administrators. This interactive webinar, to be held on Aug. 30, 2016 from 4-5 p.m. ET, will feature Nikki Mouton of Georgia's Gwinnett County Public Schools and Learning Forward’s Brown discussing the importance of leadership, system-wide collaboration, and the link between adult and student learning. For more information and to register, visit: http://bit.ly/LFA_Webinar_Aug30.