Professional Learning

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Current MISD Catalog


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ABCs of Professional Learning

Definition of Professional Learning

Learning Forward's Definition of Professional Development

(formerly known at the National Staff Development Council)

Working with our allies and advocates, Learning Forward has created this formal definition of professional development for use in the reauthorized version of NCLB.

Learning Forward Proposed Amendments to Section 9101 (34) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

(34) PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT— The term “professional development” means a comprehensive, substantiated, and intensive approach to improving teachers’ and principals’ effectiveness in raising student achievement –

(A) Professional development fosters collective responsibility for improved student performance and must be comprised of professional learning that:

(1) is aligned with rigorous state student academic achievement standards as well as related local educational agency and school improvement goals;

(2) is conducted among educators at the school and facilitated by well-prepared school principals and/or school-based professional development coaches, mentors, master teachers, or other teacher leaders;

(3) primarily occurs several times per week among established teams of teachers, principals, and other instructional staff members where the teams of educators engage in a continuous cycle of improvement that —

(i) evaluates student, teacher, and school learning needs through a thorough review of data on teacher and student performance;

(ii) defines a clear set of educator learning goals based on the rigorous analysis of the data;

(iii) achieves the educator learning goals identified in subsection (A)(4)(ii) by implementing coherent, sustained, and evidenced-based learning strategies, such as lesson study and the development of formative assessments, that improve instructional effectiveness and student achievement;

(iv) provides job-embedded coaching or other forms of
assistance to support the transfer of new knowledge and skills to the classroom;

(v) regularly assesses the effectiveness of the professional development in achieving identified learning goals, improving teaching, and assisting all students in meeting challenging state academic achievement standards;

(vi) informs ongoing improvements in teaching and student
learning; and

(vii) that may be supported by external assistance.              

(B) The process outlined in (A) may be supported by activities such as courses, workshops, institutes, networks, and conferences that:

(1) must address the learning goals and objectives established for professional development by educators at the school level;

(2) advance the ongoing school-based professional development; and

(3) are provided by for-profit and nonprofit entities outside the school such as universities, education service agencies, technical assistance providers, networks of content-area specialists, and other education organizations and associations.

Job-Embedded Professional Learning Models

Comparison of Job Embedded Professional Learning




Looks Like


Ruth Mitchell

Examining Student work

Uses a process, SIP (Standards in Practice) to ensure alignment between student learning and standards; 6 steps involved which include examining student work, identifying standards, using a rubric to evaluate, and developing an action plan

Ensures regular, structured conversations about assignments and instruction; encourages alignment between what is taught and tested; supports collaboration and teaming

Richard Stiggins

Team learning

Small teams discussing and learning about instruction and assessment; includes all staff

Options for individual as well as collaborative study; identification of needed training; study includes implementation with an evaluation component

Jeffrey Glanz

Action Research

Uses some aspects of formal research: raising a question about how to improve; collecting data, analyzing data and taking action; evaluating impact of action

Continuous involvement in assessing instruction and student learning; areas of instruction may include teaching of writing, math, and reading, cooperative learning, teaching learning disabled in general education, effective teaching for block, and alternatives for classroom discipline

David Rappaport


Members coalesce around specific issues or courses of action

Successful cadres put themselves out of business by solving problems, then new cadres can be formed to address new challenges

Kathy Harwell-Kee

Cognitive Coaching

Participants talking, planning and acting in purposeful ways; participants offering feedback as identified by the recipient

Can occur at any moment of the day when two people have a purposeful conversation about students and their learning; involves respectful collegial reflection about instruction

Joellen Killion


Recording observations, toying with various perspectives, analyzing practices, interpreting understanding of topics, keeping records, making comments, or reconstructing experiences; may be shared with colleagues for response, feedback, interpretation or comments

Involves writing and gives learners a change to clarify a process and ideas, form new ideas, and connect to prior knowledge regarding instruction and their students’ achievement; may be used as a tool in sustained staff development or as dialogue journals

Shirley Hord & Harvetta Robertson

Listening to Students

Interview students in small groups regarding learning, expectations, and instruction

Students are interviewed to gather their perceptions about school; school personnel listen and act of what students have to say

Pam Robbins


Experienced professionals support newcomers through instructional collegiality and problem solving

Mentors learn and grow as they help/support a new person; the new person is familiarized with the school culture, policies and practices, is given assistance on curriculum, instructions, classroom management and classroom climate; teacher retention increases

Carlene Murphy

Study Groups

Every professional joins a group who studies student data, determines and prioritizes needs and finds resources, creates and implements an action plan, studies impact on student achievement

All faculty members are involved;  increased student achievement

Fred Wood
Frank McQuarre Jr.


Teachers and administrators record/summarize key events in their work life in writing or on tape; they reflect on experiences and report on what they have learned; periodically they summarize what they have learned and share with colleagues

Facilitates learning from successes and problems encountered during the work day; identifies what works and what does not, identifies areas for improvement


Leadership Continuum




Assistant Principal




MISD Staff Development


MISD Staff Development


MISD Staff Development

Mesquite Leadership Academy

Leadership Book Studies

Teacher Instructional Leadership Training - TILT

Love and Logic

Behavior/Discipline Management Classes

Microsoft Word

Microsoft PowerPoint


Appreciating Diversity

Customer Connection

Conflict Management

A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby Payne

Beginning Spanish

New Assistant Principal Staff Development

Professional Development and Appraisal System - PDAS

Instructional Leadership Development – ILD

Leadership Book Studies

Keys To Effective Communication

Non-Violent Crisis Intervention

Beginning Spanish

Designing and Delivering Effective Staff Development

Data Analysis Training

Classroom Walkthrough Training

Language Acquisition for English Language Learners

New Principal Staff Development


Written Communication

Instructional Focus Days

District Initiatives

Region 10 Administrative Leadership Training

Aspiring Principal Academy through Region 10


Job Embedded Staff Development


Job Embedded Staff Development


Job Embedded Staff Development

Campus Improvement Plan Development

Mentoring New Teachers

Supervising New Teachers

Sponsoring a club/activity/event on campus or district level

Attend/Support Student Extracurricular Activities

Campus Improvement Plan Development

Chancery System – attendance; discipline coding

Developing and Facilitating Staff Development

Principal Observation on Other Campuses

Campus Study Groups/ Action Research

Collaboration with assigned mentor and other principals

Developing and Facilitating Staff Development

Principal Observation on Other Campuses

Campus Study Groups/Action Research

New Principals Coaching


Independent Study


Independent Study


Independent Study

Professional Reading

Active Membership in Local/State Education Associations/Organizations

Professional Reading

Active Membership in Local/State Education

Professional Reading

Active Membership in Local/State Education


Share the Learning with Others


As a principal, I try very hard to send a team of teachers to workshops, conferences, and other staff development opportunities that I think will benefit them and our students. They always come back saying they have learned a lot, but I see little evidence that they’ve actually implemented much of what they tell me they learned. I’m beginning to think that I shouldn’t spend the money on such things anymore.

Helping teachers find opportunities to stretch and grow is part of every instructional leaders responsibilities. Sending teachers to professional growth opportunities is important, but just as important is finding ways to hold teachers accountable for implementation of their new knowledge and skills. Before the next team goes, ask them how they will share and apply what they will learn. This simple question signals your expectations. Be prepared to brainstorm some ideas with them. Here are some ideas you might share:

  • Share with one other teacher in the same grade level or department.
  • Make a presentation to the staff at the next faculty meeting regarding what they learned.
  • Prepare a set of lesson plans for all teachers to use.
  • Model a lesson based on what they learned and invite all interested teachers in their building to observe.
  • Prepare a videotape of a model lesson that could be shared with teachers in their building and in the district.
  • Write about what they learned for the school, staff, or district newsletter.
  • Create an ongoing study group on the topic that was the subject of the conference or workshop.

These ideas will convey to your staff that staff development is not a day away from school, but a valuable opportunity that comes with a commitment to share with others and to transfer that learning into practice.

ETIP (Excellence in Teaching Incentive Program

Unique to Mesquite ISD, the ETIP program is the first of its kind created to recruit, retain, differentiate and reward the most talented and dedicated classroom teachers. Faced with a nationwide teacher shortage, MISD developed the ETIP program to develop teachers’ expertise through targeted, specified professional development that adds value to the district. Through ETIP, these master teachers can substantially improve their financial future while staying in the classroom. (In the past, an educator's only option to achieve a significant income increase was to move out of the classroom into administration.)

The ETIP program allows a classroom teacher to increase his/her earning potential by up to $12,000 annually if all three tiers are completed.

Level I $5,000 salary increase upon completion of an 18-hour (college hours) program and demonstrated growth (includes the $1,500 master's stipend).  Classroom Scholar 
Level II  Additional $2,000 salary increase with a master's degree and value added at the campus level Campus Scholar
Level III  Additional $5,000 salary increase with a doctorate degree and value added at the district level. District Scholar


Click here for more details about the Excellence in Teaching Incentive Program.


Professional Learning Staff

Debi Tanton
Executive Director
Professional Learning
(972) 882-7391
Jennifer Morris
Professional Learning
(972) 882-7509
Dr. Karen Nix
Professional Learning
(972) 882-7391