The Importance Of Professional Development In Education

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In recent years of educational reform, professional development for teachers has served as a bridge between the current standards implementation and student achievement (Hirsch & Killion, 2009). Educational leaders recognize teacher effectiveness is an intrical part of improving student achievement, focusing valuable resources toward effective professional development (Jacquith, Mindich, Wei, & Darling-Hammond, 2010). Despite national trends to improve the quality of professional development, a disparity still exist among schools in the type and quality of teacher professional development presentations offered. In the past, teacher learning in the United States has primarily emphasized development opportunities that are unlikely to influence teacher practice or student achievement. To address this apparent disconnect, the National Standards Development Council (NSDC) developed 12 standards by which to create high quality, effective professional development in schools (Hirsh, 2005). The National Standards Development Council serves to provide school leaders and professional developers with quality standards to create effective professional learning opportunities for teachers (NSDC, 2010). Renamed as Learning Forward, NSDC represents the largest non-profit association dedicated to staff development and school improvement (NSDC, 2009). The NSDC maintains that continued improvement of student and teacher performance in school depends upon the quality of professional development programs (Schmitt, 2004). The purpose and stance of NSDC align with the premise of No Child Left Behind, as it relates to stressing the necessity of quality professional development to improve instructional practices. Through extensive research, NSDC has adopted 12 standards for establishing high-quality professional development, and representing an up to date comprehensive set of standards. The NSDC standards, include (Schramm, 2006):
Standard 1: Learning Communities: In learning communities staff development is implemented to improve the learning of students, while organizing adults into communities with dedicated goals that are aligned with the school and district.
Standard 2: Leadership: Effective leadership provides staff
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