Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

New Grants for Rethinking Professional Development Systems

July 25, 2013

No one knows teaching like teachers. Yet, teachers are rarely at the center of the conversation when it comes to professional development.  Every teacher knows what it feels like to sit through professional development that is unrelated to what they need tomorrow to truly accelerate their students’ learning.  It’s frustrating.

The teachers we’ve been working with for the last four years have been asking for more high-quality professional development to help them implement the Common Core, more real-time feedback on their practice and more opportunities to collaborate with their colleagues down the hall and across the country. 

 Every teacher knows what it feels like to sit through professional development that is unrelated to what they need tomorrow to truly accelerate their students’ learning.

That’s why the foundation is excited to invest more than $15 million in grants over three years to support more intelligent and innovative ways to think about professional development  in Fresno (CA), Long Beach (CA) and Jefferson County (CO) school districts. These districts are committed to letting teachers design the new professional development system that will help them grow as individuals and as part of collaborative teams.  Fresno, Long Beach, and Jefferson County will be experimenting with new forms of delivery, creating more time during the school day for teacher-to-teacher collaboration and investing in systems to help districts use data to personalize the learning needs of their teachers and provide them with continuous feedback.

These grants are part of our ongoing effort to respond to what teachers need and create more impactful professional development solutions in our schools. We are relentless about finding out what makes a difference and sharing those solutions more broadly. 

At the end of the day, what matters most to teachers and to us is student success. We believe the best way to ensure student success is to provide them with effective teachers.

For more information about these grants, please see the articles in the Fresno Bee and Education Week.  We’d also love to hear your wildest dreams about what professional development might look like in the future.  Imagine it’s 2025: how is teaching different and what or who is helping teachers be their best?  

 
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