Stages and Tools for the Local Education Agency (LEA)
Professional Learning System Framework
School districts can use learning plans to help identify a solution to an identified problem and clarify what needs to be learned for the work to be more effective and efficient. A learning plan is a collection of strategies or designs selected in order to ensure that educators understand and can apply practices that improve their own performance and student outcomes. Learning plans help create a supportive environment that allows individuals and teams to reflect on and learn from their own and others' experience, and then create action plans to deepen their practice around what they are learning.
Learning plans help educators envision the future. Funding for Title IIA occurs annually, and you may want to consider creating a learning plan for a one-year period to allow district and school staffs time to determine what changes they will need to make for the next year. The learning plan will be instrumental in this phase to guide the advancement, selection, and implementation of high-quality instructional materials (HQIM) (see Tool 3.1).
A logic model is a useful tool that declares the short-term and intermediate goals essential for achieving success over time based on the concept of backward design (see Tool 3.2).The logic model gives markers for assessing progress and making modifications along the way. The logic model outcomes clearly define what we should see happening as a result of our work along the way.
Start with a diagnostic assessment
Work through the appropriate tools
Finish with reflection questions
Under ESSA, school systems are required to report to the state and publicly post information on how they use Title IIA funds (i.e. Section 1111(h)(1)(C)(x)) and the impact of their investments on improving educator effectiveness Sections (i.e. Sections 2101 and 8101(21)(A)). In the past, most school systems have not been intentional about monitoring and assessing the quality and impact of their professional learning. The lack of consistent impact data may contribute to a lack of confidence and support by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and Congress in continued investments in Title IIA. Inconsistent data may also result in new requirements under ESSA that states and districts will ensure systematic reporting on the impact of Title IIA professional learning investments.
Historically, the evaluation of professional learning has relied on teacher satisfaction and attitudes. But these measures will no longer satisfy the level of reporting expected by Congress, the ED, and state education agencies (SEAs). By establishing clear logic models for each major Title IIA investment, school systems create structures that ensure they have the data they need throughout as well as at the end of the fiscal year. After creating a logic model and applying Tom Guskey's (2002) framework, Five Levels of Evaluation (see Resource 3.1), school systems can plan and collect valuable information for program improvement and documentation of impact.
The bottom line is this: If both individuals and systems are committed to collecting data that tell the story of their professional learning experience, they should have data necessary to report on its impact. It may not be as easy as we portray it, and for that reason, leaders at all levels must be prepared to step in and support teachers through the process.
Guskey, T.R. (2002). Does it make a difference? Evaluating professional development. Educational Leadership, 59(6), 45-51. Available here.