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Our professional development in recent years has been focused on building teacher competency with Common Core State Standards and accompanying instructional practices, with a concentration on literacy and language development.
This year we also added the focus of mathematical practices and math discourse as we implement our newly adopted Common Core Math curricula in the K-5 and 6-8 grade spans. We began our transition to the CA Common Core
State Standards in 2012, and each year since then have focused our PD on areas of need identified through local and state assessment data, student demographics, and observations of classroom instruction. Since the majority of our students are English Learners, and the Common Core emphasizes literacy and communication skills across content areas, we have focused our PD in these areas.
All teachers in our district participate in structured professional development 1-2 Wednesday afternoons per month at the site or district level, in addition to 3 full days of professional development each school year. Teachers are supported to implement the strategies they learn in these PD sessions by knowledgeable colleagues at their school site, and continuous grade level collaboration, student concern support meetings, coaching, and data meetings.
Teachers have the additional opportunity to attend half-year professional development series after school focused on balanced literacy strategies including Guided Reading, Writing Workshop, or student-centered math practices. Participants of these yearlong series receive yearlong one-on-one coaching to support implementation of these strategies.