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Professional Development: A Gift to Staff that Raises Student Achievement

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

Did you know teacher professional development makes a world of difference in student achievement?


The season of giving is upon us. December marks a time of meaningful celebrations across so many cultures and traditions! From Christmas to Hanukkah to Pancha Gonapati to Hogmanay to Posadas Navideñas to Bodhi Day/Rohatsu to the Feast of Our Lady Guadalupe, people join together to share stories, traditions, food, songs, prayers, in many instances tangible gifts, and to earn more about their culture or religion… their world.


This makes December a perfect time to reflect on our purpose for going into our profession and remember what a wondrous gift and an honor it is to educate students, parents, and, for many of us, also educating our staff. It is so important to be our best because our children’s futures depend on us knowing and doing all that we can to help them be their best. In my twenty years of experience as a principal and district administrator over curriculum, assessment, and professional development, I was responsible for supporting hundreds of teachers, a team of directors, academic coaches, coordinators, and support staff. During this time, I learned that one of the most important things that I could do for my staff was to shepherd their continued education and growth as professionals.


The National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (housed under the U. S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences) began their 2007 report title

Reviewing the evidence on how teacher professional development affects student achievement with this point in bold print:


Of the more than 1,300 studies identified as potentially addressing the effect of teacher professional development on student achievement in three key content areas, [. . .] This report finds that teachers who receive substantial professional development—an average of 49 hours in the nine studies— can boost their students’ achievement by about 21 percentile points.


In the October 12, 2011 Education Week article, Marzano on Developing Teachers, Dr. Robert Marzano elaborates on the value on developing teachers and relates his beliefs that “effective teachers are made, not born.” Researchers and educational outlets, such as Dr. John Hattie, Learning Forward, and Bryan Goodwin, CEO of McREL International, have gifted us with evidence-based strategies for the impactful effects of collective teacher efficacy, reasons why professional development matters, and the case for teachers being reflective and purposeful about their own professional growth. The care for our continued growth is something to be held to a high value because we have important work that makes a world of difference.


Professional development is the gift that keeps on giving. Teachers and teacher leaders deserve to have all the tools needed to provide students with everything they need to craft futures that shine as brightly as this festive season.


So, with that sentiment, we here at CASIE wish you all the joys that come with the celebrations upon us and the hope that you will be appreciated for the wonderful work that you do!


Upcoming professional development opportunities offered by CASIE:


Learning Labs


IB Workshops

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