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Developing Great Teachers and Leaders

Yesterday in Washington, The Chalkboard Project and the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future hosted a briefing on Developing Effective Teachers and Leaders. The purpose of the briefing was to explore ways to develop teacher and leader effectiveness by examining various initiatives, examples, and strategies. Participating in the panel were the Council of Chief State School Officers, Chalkboard (which was represented by both a staff member and teacher in a local school district), and the National Governor's Association. I also participated, representing Learning Forward.

Fundamentally, all aspects of the conversation about what contributes to increased effectiveness came back to professional development. Professional development surfaced in panel members' comments about implementing systems for measuring teacher effectiveness; implementing new student longitudinal data systems; developing more focused and rigorous mentoring and induction for novice educators; and shifting the focus from a system that depends on individual development to one that requires organization development to address the school culture and conditions that contribute to inadequate student performance.

If professional learning is so fundamental to teacher and leader effectiveness, it only seems logical that education leaders step up their efforts to improve and measure the quality of professional learning. Learning Forward's Standards for Professional Learning, developed with support of the MetLife Foundation, provide the basis for these two important steps. The standards describe the attributes of research-based professional learning and provide criteria for measuring its quality.

We're in a time where multiple education reforms require the implementation of new programs, content, systems, or procedures. It is more important than ever for educators to demand high-quality professional learning, along with intensive and sustained support, so they develop the requisite knowledge, skills, dispositions, and practices to succeed with these initiatives.

Joellen Killion
Deputy Executive Director, Learning Forward

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