Professional Development Model

Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsey for creating a place for us to work collaboratively.


What is professional development?

Does your answer include a focus on student needs to drive decision-making, and student learning as the basis on which professional development is planned, implemented and evaluated?  If your answer also includes a focus on Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, please keep reading.  Leadership is also an important principle of professional development, whether it be the instructional leadership of the principal or the teachers within the building.  Simultaneity is another important principle to continue as no one action in school improvement occurs in a vacuum. Participative Decision Making would be a final principal for ongoing sustained professional development designed to improve student learning.


Do those principles sound familiar?

In Iowa, they form the chevron at the top of the Iowa Professional Development graphic pictured here.

Iowa PD Model

















What are the core beliefs in this model?

o All students can learn.
o The purpose of professional development is to increase student achievement.
o Professional development should be collective learning by all teachers and administrators with an emphasis on improving instruction.

The cycle of professional development includes many familiar steps:

  • Collecting/Analyzing Student Data
  • Goal Setting and Student Learning
  • Selecting Content
  • Designing a Process for Professional Development
  • and a mini-cycle that includes Training/learning opportunities; Collaboration/implementation; and Ongoing Data Collection/formative assessment
Cycles – Training/Learning, Collaboration, Formative Assessment . . . . .

With a focus on tight alignment between curriculum, instruction, and assessment, this model parallels many Professional Learning Community cycles including the functions of data teams.  The “name of the organizing framework” is not nearly as important as checking to ensure that all elements are present within any professional learning group!  Leadership needs to focus on how and when collaborative time can be provided so teachers can work together. The training includes modelling and gradual release of responsibility as the participants take over the leadership role.

Additional ideas from the Iowa Professional Development Model include:

To be able to transfer new learning into the classroom, teachers need multiple opportunities to see demonstrations, plan together, work out problems, rehearse new lessons, develop materials, engage in peer coaching, and observe each other.

Often, learning opportunities need to be interspersed with classroom practice so that questions that arise from early implementation efforts can be responded to in a timely manner.

. . participants are provided with multiple demonstrations of the teaching strategies within the model . . .[and] multiple
opportunities to practice the teaching behaviors. . .
Professional development must be designed to be sustained over time. The initiative must be designed to last until implementation data indicate that the teachers are implementing accurately and frequently and student performance goals are met. (Joyce and Showers, 1983, 2002; NSDC, 2001; Odden, et al., 2002; Wallace, LeMahieu, and Bickel, 1990.)


What elements are part of your professional development?
How do you know when your professional development model is really effective?  
How do you know when it is NOT effective?

15 responses

  1. I think I need to read your post again when I plan the agenda for our first school improvement meeting next week. What really stood out for me this morning was the phrase “student centered” So many times the only thing we hear is data. Perhaps your graphic will find its way to our meeting next week….

    1. Jaana,
      It seems so easy to get lost in the numbers and the data. What makes a difference in instruction is “using” that information to consider the quality of instruction and changes that need to be made in order to first ensure that MOST of the students are responding to Quality Instruction.

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. Love the model you share! We love how assessment and instruction are linked — they must be to help us truly use it! The collaborative nature of it is powerful as well! Thanks for sharing.
    Clare and Tammy

    1. Thanks, Clare and Tammy!
      It’s a great model that was actually developed collaboratively by many, many folks (teachers, administrators, etc.) and was facilitated by Bev Showers! Quality Professional Development is so critical!!!

  3. Thanks for posting this, Fran. I will (like someone wrote above) refer back to this at some point. So helpful and very thorough!

    1. You are welcome, Aileen! This model covers so much! So grateful for its guidance!

  4. I love the inclusion of “ongoing” – the recognition that it is not a static process, but an ever evolving one. I will be sharing this with the powers that be at my school, Fran.

    1. Tara,
      “Ongoing” is a great word! Just so much to think about with this process. Learning truly is “life long” and many more need to recognize that process!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  5. Fran this is a useful model to explore with districts as I begin this year’s PD cycle. Thank you. My offering revolves around the launch of the Summer Serenity Gallery. Thanks for being a part of it.

    1. Carol,
      Thanks for commenting and for the links to the Summer Serenity Gallery!

  6. I also love the “ongoing” I also get the feeling of building capacity and empowering teachers when I read this. Professional learning that is meaningful is something we all struggle with. I thank you for starting the conversation again. This could be a series.

    1. Thanks, Jessie!
      Sometimes it’s easy to “poo-poo” professional learning because it “doesn’t meet my needs” when the underlying message is “I don’t need to learn that” or “I have so much OTHER stuff that I need to focus on”. If 100% of the students are not learning at a high level, professional development IS needed! The design of that PD can and should vary but there may be more commonalities than previously explored!

  7. […] can read more about the model here and also about CCSS.Writing Anchors 1-3 here for content of a two hour PD session with absolutely […]

  8. […] makes me think of HOW one gets better.  Previous posts about professional development are here, here, and here. I love learning.  I love learning with friends.  Therefore, one of the best tools that […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

My Zorro Circle

it is what it is

Steph Scrap Quilts

"Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads..."


A meeting place for a world of reflective writers.

Tim's Teaching Thoughts

Ideas and Reflections on Teaching

Hands Down, Speak Out

Listening and Talking Across Literacy and Math

Teachers | Books | Readers

Literacy Leaders Connecting Students and Books

Dr. Carla Michelle Brown * Speaker * author * Educator

We have the perfect words. Write when you need them.

Curriculum Coffee

A Written Shot of Espresso

Mrs. Palmer Ponders

Noticing and celebrating life's moments of any size.


Seeking Ways to Grow Proficient, Motivated, Lifelong Readers & Writers

Doing The Work That Matters

a journey of growing readers & writers

adventures in multiple tenses

The Blue Heron (Then Sings My Soul)

The oft bemused (or quite simply amused) musings of Krista Marx -- a self-professed HOPE pursuing Pollyanna

Middle English

Life as an English teacher leader

steps in the literacy journey

Walking the Path to Literacy Together


Smile! You’re at the best site ever

Resource - Full

Sharing Ideas, Strategies and Tools

%d bloggers like this: