Professional development for teachers
Data & Tech, Human Resources, Professional Development

Keep Teachers Engaged Through Effective Professional Development

By: Amy Vracar, Partnerships Manager

Due to certification requirements or contractual agreements, teachers are generally required to participate in professional development (PD) programs, however, most teachers see professional learning as much more than completing an obligation. According to Professional Development and Teacher Change by Thomas R. Guskey, “they (teachers) see professional development programs as among the most promising and most readily available routes to growth on a job.”

Unfortunately, in a 2009 national research report, most teachers reported that the PD they received was completely useless. Additionally, research has shown that, on average, 16 percent of teachers quit their jobs each year, and around 40 percent of undergraduate students who receive a teaching degree never enter the classroom. Often times this is due to current and potential teachers seeing a lack of support from districts to create lifelong teaching career paths.Professional development for teachers

Therefore, it is critical for school districts to not just have PD for teachers, but to keep teachers engaged through effective professional development. Effective PD programs develop the classroom practices of teachers and their classroom attitudes, as well as the learning outcomes of students.

Offering effective PD.
Teacher learning is one of the greatest investments school districts can make. That begins with offering educators professional learning selections that are based on powerful and proven practices. As a result, today’s school districts are engaging with tools such as Thrive Instructional Proficiency Inventory® (IPI).Professional development for teachers

Thrive IPI is an online platform that differentiates and targets PD down to the individual teacher through predictive analytics. With the use of the IPI, teachers will be able to pinpoint strengths and learn how to utilize them in the classroom; engage in PD activities that will support and enhance specific areas of proficiency, and take actionable steps that will improve their teaching skills. In other words, creating personalized professional development plans that connect with educators, promotes active learning, and give teachers the tools to ensure they continue to evolve, grow, and master their teaching skills.

That will in turn require monitoring and tracking teachers’ PD hours. That’s why school districts like Dorchester School District Two in Summerville, South Carolina adopt technology to improve compliance management processes. Dorchester incorporated a PD management system into their professional development strategy so administrators can easily see if a teacher has completed his or her PD requirements, know how many people have been trained each year, and monitor educator licensure renewal. With automated PD tracking, their compliance processes have become much more efficient and allowed them to focus planning more effectively for future PD offerings.Professional development for teachers

For more on how Dorchester School District Two is maximizing their PD, download their recent article featured in EdTech Digest: Getting More Out of PD: Three benefits of incorporating data and technology in professional learning, by Kenneth Wilson, Director of Staff Development and Teacher Evaluation.

Learn more about the predictive analytics used to develop the Thrive IPI in our data-backed eBook: Behind the Research: Using Data and Analytics to Create Thrive IPI.


Amy Vracar
With a B.A. from Northeastern Illinois University in Media Communications and English, Amy Vracar began her career in Illinois public libraries and colleges and held positions as a Marketing Assistant at Harper College and Marketing and Public Relations Associate at the Algonquin Area Public Library (APPL). At APPL, Amy successfully developed a three-year marketing plan based on board initiatives and constructed the library’s first style and branding guide. After almost ten years in public libraries, Amy joined Sikich, LLP as a Vertical Marketing Specialist. Amy drove the creation, execution and delivery of integrated marketing campaigns for the firm’s Enterprise Resource Planning Technology Services Division. She oversaw content development for the firm’s key technology markets and collaborated with partners and C-level executives. One of her content pieces was featured nation-wide and received approximately 120 million unique views per month.   Amy joined TeacherMatch in July 2014 to merge her love for education and technology environments, and brings her skills in marketing strategy, as well as developing first class relationships, to the TeacherMatch team.
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