7 Solutions to Common PD Problems

A recent article published by EducationWeek discusses the importance of professional development (PD). Specifically, the importance of guaranteeing high quality and thorough PD that avoids the pitfalls of past projects.


In the piece, Alyson Klein highlights 7 flaws commonly seen in most professional development programs and what should be done to address them in the future. The thing is, we’ve been doing just that.


For over a decade now, the A2i Professional Support System has been rigorously developed with one goal in mind: to provide a system of support that not only gets all students reading at or above grade level, but also makes the teacher’s job easy.


With this, we at Learning Ovations are confident that our system not only addresses each of the pitfalls discussed in Klein’s piece, but also rises well above them to provide the best possible outcomes for every single student.


We’d like to share how:


  • Problem: “Teachers are presented with so many new technological tools that they hardly have enough time to figure out which ones are actually going to complement their teaching style and subject matter”.


  • Solution: Learning Ovations uses just one all encompassing tool, A2i. Our professional support system is not only simple and easy to use, it’s also highly adaptable, and adjusts to fit teacher and student needs.


  • Problem: “Teachers are given a one-shot professional development session on a new tool or strategy and then they are left to puzzle through it themselves.”


  • Solution: Learning Ovations provides on-going support and professional development led by our diverse team of Literacy Outcome Specialists (LOS). No matter how long you’ve been using A2i for, so long as you’re using it our team will always be right there to guide you along the way. We schedule dozens of team meetings and literacy huddles during the year, as well as being available whenever teachers need personalized support. No teacher or student left behind, ever.


  • Problem: “Teachers have vastly different needs when it comes to technology, depending on what they teach and how advanced their technological skills are”.


  • Solution: Our thorough methods of differentiation ensure a perfect fit for teachers and students alike, meeting everyone exactly where they are. A2i is easy to use with limitless potential to perfect. We’ll be there to make sure every teacher knows how to get started and provide on-going support beyond that to foster the best student outcomes possible.


  • Problem: “It is hard to tell whether a particular training or course had any real effect on student outcomes or teacher practice. And it’s not always clear what the goal of introducing a particular tool or strategy is: Higher test-scores? Improved student engagement?”


  • Solution: A2i is proven time and again to do just this: impact student outcomes. With 90% of children reading at grade level by the end of 3rd grade as well as an ESSA strong rating, there’s no question about it. Beyond this, A2i makes progress monitoring a breeze, providing student achievement reports that are easy to understand. We also meticulously analyze student data to make sure every student is on track and provide quarterly district data reports to keep the administration team in the know and with the flow. As for our goal, we always and only ever have one: Every student reading at grade level by the end of 3rd grade.


  • Problem: “Districts often don’t ask teachers what they need from professional development. And they’ll often tap outside experts, instead of finding someone in the school building—or the broader district—who has stellar skills in a particular area.”


  • Solution: Our on-going support and professional development bridge the gap between teachers and administrators because we take a systems-level approach. Many of our meetings will include both teachers, principals and district staff, not only providing an easy channel for communication, but also ensuring that goals are always aligned across the entire team. In order to provide our students with the best learning experience possible, we believe nobody should be left in the dark.


  • Problem: “Teachers are expected to differentiate instruction for students who have different abilities and needs, and districts need to model that with their PD”.


  • Solution: With A2i, the worries of differentiation are easily aleived. This is because we do the differentiation for you, all of it. From the very beginning, our research has focused on the individual needs of each unique student. As a result, A2i was developed with the aim of meeting every student where they start and matching them as they grow. Our interface makes following these recommendations easy, meaning teachers only need to focus on teaching, leaving the research and planning to us!


  • Problem: “This has been one of the toughest school years imaginable. Most teachers’ technology skills have grown exponentially, but they may not have the bandwidth right now to absorb much more professional development, said Spencer Kiper, an instructional technologist in Louisiana’s Caddo Parish public school system. “You have people who are just severely burned out and do not have capacity to learn one more thing to help themselves survive instructionally with students.”


  • Solution: While A2i is, in part, a software platform, the actual steps involved in the implementation of the A2i Professional Support System are purposefully aligned to school-specific goals and the current best-practices teachers already have in place. This means A2i is not seen as “just another thing” but instead supports what’s already working while building capacity in areas where additional strength is needed. For example, A2i can integrate with any curriculum or set of instructional resources, meaning teachers don’t need to learn something new! Instead, A2i gives teachers the recommendations and guidance they need to ensure their instruction and materials are used in a way that meets the needs of ALL students.


Our ability to solve these issues is at the heart of why we have been able to translate our research findings into real world application. Through use of our A2i platform and customized professional development, we’re able to support teachers and districts in getting ALL students reading at, or above, grade-level by the end of third grade, no problems or flaws attached!