Professional Development

Utah Professional Development Standards

The primary purpose of professional development is to ensure high levels of learning for all students through improved professional learning experiences for every school employee who affects student learning. These standards are intended to be used by schools and school districts to improve the quality of professional development efforts so student learning will be increased. Recent research identifies and supports the link between student achievement and the professional learning of educators. The standards fall into three categories: context, process, and content. Context standards describe “where” the learning will be applied, the organizational environment in which improved performance is expected. Process standards refer to “how” the learning occurs. Content standards refer to “what” is learned.

Context Standards

Professional development that improves the learning of all students:

  • Organizes adults into learning communities whose goals are aligned with those of the school and district. (Learning Communities)
  • Requires skillful school and district leaders who guide continuous instructional improvement. (Leadership)
  • Requires resources to support adult learning and collaboration. (Resources)
  • Appropriates funds for professional development. (Money)
  • Provides job-imbedded time for educators to engage in continuous improvement. (Time)

Process Standards

Professional development that improves the learning of all students:

  • Uses disaggregated student data to determine adult learning priorities, monitor progress, and help sustain continuous improvement. (Data-Driven)
  • Uses multiple sources of information to guide improvement and demonstrate its impact. (Evaluation)
  • Prepares educators to apply research to decision-making. (Research-Based)
  • Uses learning strategies appropriate to the intended goal. (Design)
  • Applies knowledge about change and human learning. (Learning) Provides educators with the knowledge and skills to collaborate. (Collaboration)
  • Provides knowledge, skills, and attitudes regarding organization development and systems thinking. (Organization/Systems)
  • Provides for the phases of the change process. (Change)
  • Requires knowledge and use of the stages of group development to build capacity for all educators. (Group Development)

Content Standards

Professional development that improves the learning of all students:

  • Prepares educators to understand and appreciate all students; create safe, orderly, and supportive learning environment; and hold high expectations for students’ academic achievement. (Equity)
  • Addresses diversity by providing awareness and training related to the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviors needed to ensure that an equitable and quality education is provided to all students. (Diversity)
  • Enables educators to provide challenging, developmentally appropriate curricula that engage students in integrative ways of thinking and learning. (Developmentally-Appropriate)
  • Deepens educators’ content knowledge, provides them with research-based instructional strategies to assist all students in learning and applying the standards of the Utah Core Curriculum, and prepares them to appropriately use various types of classroom assessments. (Quality Teaching)
  • Provides educators with knowledge and skills to appropriately involve families and other stakeholders. (Family Involvement)
  • Prepares educators to combine student academic goals with citizenship and character development. (Citizenship/Character Development)
  • Increases educators’ ability to use the IEP/SEP/SEOP process in facilitation of student’s self-directed learning. (Self-Directed Learning)
  • Increases knowledge and practice of organization and instruction through interdisciplinary communities. (Interdisciplinary Communities)