Teacher Training in National Spotlight

Education Week, known as "American education’s newspaper of record," published an extensive article this week detailing the Long Beach Unified School District’s innovative efforts to provide personalized professional development, or training, for teachers.

In the article, “Long Beach District Sets Course to Personalize Teacher PD,” associate editor Stephen Sawchuk describes Long Beach as a closely watched district that has been widely recognized for its support of teacher professional development.

The article explains how the school district used a grant from the Gates Foundation to develop a new online platform called myPD.

“At its most basic, the platform serves as a repository for the district’s curriculum units and catalog of PD courses,” Sawchuk wrote. “But its built-in features for teacher feedback are what really make the system hum.”

The author compares the system to personalized fitness apps.

“Just as such plans lay out goals for shedding pounds, specify exercises tailored to those goals, and give a timeline, the Long Beach platform helps teachers set teaching goals, find aligned resources, and track their progress.”

Once they've logged on, teachers create a profile for themselves, selecting which of the California Standards for the Teaching Profession they want to improve on. They can perform a self-assessment, rating themselves on the standards' five-tiered scale.

The school district still offers face-to-face professional development courses, but the new system adds self-paced online modules and videos of Long Beach teachers demonstrating some of the teaching standards in action.

Teachers decide whether to allow principals to access their professional profiles—including the goals they've set for themselves, the student data or peer feedback they've added, or how they rate their own progress.

“As Long Beach officials like to say, the myPD system is not designed for remediation, or to ‘make’ a teacher a professional; it assumes they already are one.”

View the entire article.

DERON