Kentucky's Definition of Professional Learning
According to 704 KAR 3:035
, "Professional development" means professional learning that:
- Aligns with standards and goals;
- Focuses on content and pedagogy;
- Occurs collaboratively;
- Is facilitated by educators;
- Focuses on continuous improvement; and
- Is on-going.
Additionally, a “professional development program" means a sustained, coherent, relevant and useful professional learning process that is measurable by indicators and provides professional learning and ongoing support to transfer that learning to practice.
In pursuit of our core educational values - equity, achievement, collaboration and integrity - the Kentucky Department of Education promotes a coherent and comprehensive professional learning system that advances educator effectiveness and student success. “Research shows that no in-school factors matter more than teaching and leadership, and educators, like students, need continual opportunities to gain new knowledge and skills to enable all students to reach [transition] readiness.” (Learning Forward & Education Counsel. 2017. A new vision for professional learning.)
When considering professional learning opportunities, keep in mind that per 704 KAR 3:035
professional development shall:
- Be related to the teachers' instructional assignments and the administrators' professional responsibilities;
- Be aligned with the school or district improvement plan or the individual professional growth plans of teachers;
- Occur within learning communities committed to continuous improvement, collective responsibility, and goal alignment;
- Be facilitated by skillful leaders who develop capacity and advocate and create support systems for professional learning;
- Be prioritized and monitored by the district;
- Use a variety of sources and types of student, educator, and system data to plan, assess, and evaluate professional learning;
- Integrate theories, research, and models of human learning to achieve its intended outcomes;
- Apply current research on systems change and sustain support for implementation of professional learning for long-term instructional improvement as evidenced by student growth;
- Align its outcomes with educator performance and student curriculum standards; and
- Focus resources on areas of identified need.
Professional Development Plan
Each local school and district shall develop a process to design a professional development plan that meets the goals established in KRS 158.6451 and in the local needs assessment. A school professional development plan shall be incorporated into the school improvement plan and shall be made public prior to the implementation of the plan. The local district professional development plan shall be incorporated into the district improvement plan and posted to the local district website prior to the implementation of the plan. Within the professional development plan, each school and local district professional development plan shall contain the following five (5) elements:
- A clear statement of the school or district mission;
- Evidence of representation of all persons affected by the professional development plan;
- A needs assessment analysis;
- Professional development objectives that are focused on the school or district mission, derived from needs assessment, and that specify changes in educator practice needed to improve student achievement; and
- A process for evaluating impact on student learning and improving professional learning, using evaluation results.
Characteristics of High-Quality Professional Learning
The KDE has developed eight characteristics of high-quality professional learning
aligned to Kentucky law that may be used at the local level when designing and/or selecting professional learning experiences.