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Adult Education State Directors

National Training Institute


November 10, 2005


Supporting Teacher Change:

Connecting Professional Development Research to State Policy

 1:00 – 4:30 p.m. 

Improvement on your performance indicators is grounded in teachers getting better at helping learners organize, carry out, and evaluate learning.  So, what can a state do to support teachers in improving those skills?  This two part series begins this afternoon with a review of the research on which to build and justify some foundational PD policy decisions.  Tomorrow, the session will explore a professional development framework that can help you organize your system and determine additional policy needs. 

Part I:  NCSALL’s research on “How Teachers Change” (Smith, 2004) identifies program and professional development factors that support teacher change.  As states begin to closely examine their professional development systems in preparation for new state plans, this research can help to guide future policy decisions.  In addition, AALPD, the Association of Adult Literacy Professional Developers, has identified factors that positively impact professional development.  

This session will begin with a presentation by Cris Smith, the author of “How Teachers Change” who will review the research findings, including state policy implications.  States who have developed such policies will share their experiences in implementing those policies into practice.  You will leave this session with a variety of sample professional development and program policies that you can adapt to your state’s needs.

 1:00 – 1:15        Overview                                                Linda Warner, Chair

                                                                                    Professional Development Committee

 1:15 – 1:30        Setting the Stage                                   Lennox McLendon

 1:30 – 2:30        How Teachers Change:                           Cristine Smith, Deputy Director

                        A Study of Professional  Development      NCSALL

                        In Adult Education


The Professional Development Study examined how practitioners change after participating in one of three professional development models: multi-session workshops, mentor-teacher groups, or practitioner research groups.  The study also investigated the most important professional development and program factors that influenced the type and amount of teacher change.  Cris will provide an overview of the research findings and explain the factors can impact state policy decisions.

 2:30 – 2:45        Break

 2:45 – 3:10        Connecting the Research to State           Lennox McLendon

                        Policy, Expectations, and Guidance

Connecting some of the key research findings to state policy and guidance can form the foundation for clearer expectations for professional development in your state.  Whether you have the authority to institute policy requirements or whether your agency can only provide guidance, the research findings can be used to guide each.  This interactive discussion will take a look at what those foundational policies or guidance might include.

·          Forming foundational policies

o        Improving teachers’ working conditions, including access to decision- making in the program

o        Paying teachers to attend professional development

o        Increasing access to colleagues during and after professional  development

o        Establishing expectations at the state and the program level that all  eachers must continue to     learn – individual PD plans
       Establishing quality criteria for professional development

 3:10 – 4:10        A Look at How States are Connecting PD Research to Policy

Selected states will share their policies and practices related to the research factors and will provide information on (1) how the policy originated, (2) how it is communicated to the field, (3) how compliance with the policy is monitored, and (4) how they measure the impact of its benefits.

·         Access to decision making

o        Teacher advisory groups or taskforces

      XXXX state

·         Paid professional development

      Tennessee – rewarding professional growth

·         Access to colleagues during and after PD

      Texas or Virginia’s Yearly Evaluative Staff Meeting

·         High expectations

      West Virginia – pre-service, core, and elective requirements

      Virginia, Ohio, or Kentucky – individual professional development plans

·         Quality criteria

      XXXX state (Maryland has model from K-12)

 4:10 – 4:30        Reviewing the AALPD Policy Recommendations               Lennox McLendon

                        Examining One Model for Structure and Process Policy Options

                        Review of Part II agenda 

In addition to the foundational policies, AALPD has developed recommendations on additional professional development policy issues related to incentives, access, and content.  In preparation for tomorrow’s morning session, you will be introduced to a framework that can help organize your professional development system with a structure and process for incorporating these policy recommendations. 


Adult Education State Directors

National Training Institute


November 11, 2005


Building a Structure to Frame Professional Development

Delivery and Policy


8:30 a.m. – Noon 

With performance indicators, it is all about program improvement.  Your local program practitioners look to you for guidance on how to get better at what they do.  

Improving professional development policy and structure reinforces your program improvement vision.  Therein, you provide clear guidance, the resources, and the expectation that enable teachers and program directors to regularly assess their capabilities and practice adult learning for themselves. 

Thus the state director’s task is to provide clear policy guidance, supportive structures, and resources.  By doing so, you (1) create the expectations that each practitioner is expected to get better at what she/he does and (2) enable all practitioners to do so. 

This session will focus on helping states take a closer look at the structure of their professional development system by examining a framework in which to organize it.  Within that framework, a number of factors will be explored including practitioner standards, various components of professional development, and the policy decisions that need to be addressed to ensure clear expectations to the field. You will learn about the structure and policies that a variety of states have adopted related to professional development content, access, incentives, and accountability issues.  By the end of this session, you will have varied professional development options that you can adapt to your state’s capacity and needs.

 8:30 – 9:10        Taking a Closer Look at a Professional Development              Lennox McLendon

                          Framework                                                                    Kathi Polis


The majority of adult educators enter this profession “sideways” with little or no undergraduate training in adult education.  Helping them gain the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for high performance, therefore, demands a professional development system that is responsive to their diverse needs.  By organizing your professional development efforts into a structure or a framework that can address the needs of both new and veteran practitioners, you will be better able to identify gaps and policy issues that need to be addressed.  The framework presented during this segment will help you to examine your own professional development system more closely. 


·         Practitioner Standards

·         Components

§         Pre-service Training

§         Core Training

§         Responsive Training and Resources

§         Program Expansion

·         Access

·         Incentives

·         Fulfillment

9:10 – 9:30        Reaction Discussions on the PD Framework 

You will discuss the structure of the framework with your table partners to (1) share how  your current professional development efforts relate to its format, (2 )determine if the framework would be a good way to organize your professional development delivery, and  (3) identify ways in which it could be adapted to fit your state’s needs.

9:30 – 10:15      A Tour of State Options 

The Tour of State Options will give you  an opportunity to hear about various options for delivering professional development in addition to the policy decisions these states have made related to content, access, incentives, and fulfillment.  Be prepared to receive lots of ideas on how it might work in your state. 

·         Practitioner Standards

o        Ohio

·         Pre-Service Training:  Content, Access, Incentives, and Fulfillment Policies

o        Peer Trainers – Minnesota

o        Blended Model – Kentucky 

10:15 – 10:30    Break 

10:30 – 11:30   

·         Core Training:  Content, Access, Incentives, and Fulfillment Policies

o        West Virginia

o        XXX

·         Responsive Training and Resources; Content, Access, Incentives, and Fulfillment Policies

o        North Carolina (Certified Resource Specialists)

o        XXX

·         Program Expansion:  Content, Access, Incentives, and Fulfillment Policies

o        Pennsylvania (Family Literacy and Workplace Education)

o        Missouri (distance learning???)

11:30 – Noon     The Wisdom of the Crowd:  An Open Forum on Professional Development Policy  and Practice Issues

The book” The Wisdom of Crowds:  Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few” by James Surowiecki, states that a group of knowledgeable people makes far better decisions than a few experts. This closing segment will provide you, the knowledgeable folks, with an opportunity to bring professional development issues to the floor for discussion and possible resolution.  For those questions or problems that you’ve always wondered how other states were dealing with them, this is your chance to gain the “wisdom of the crowd.”



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Contact us:
Dr. Lennox McLendon, Executive Director; 444 North Capitol Street, NW; Suite 422; Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-624-5250; Fax: 202-624-1497; Email: