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Professional Development at the Middle School

This KnowledgeBase archive includes content and external links that were accurate and relevant as of September 30, 2019.

Teachers are the front line troops in achieving improvements in student academic performance. While professional development plays a prominent role within the No Child Left Behind Act accomplishing effective professional development is the challenge for school leaders.

The Center for Prevention Research and Development (CPRD) at the University of Illinois has been working with middle grades schools for over 10 years to assist them in incorporating the use of data into school improvement decisions. Their work has led them to studying perceptions and realities about professional development at the middle school level between teachers and administrators. As part of a study of 85 mid south middle schools they have identified for key lessons about professional development.

    •    Lesson 1: Most middle grades teachers do not have middle grades certification
    •    Lesson 2: Teacher training comes in many forms
    •    Lesson 3: A mismatch exists between the availability of professional development activities and teacher participation
    •    Lesson 4: Teacher professional development should be based on administrator and teacher input

    •    Although educators and researchers agree that middle grades teachers should be experts in the best practices for young adolescents, there are significant challenges in making this a reality.
    •    Very few middle grade teachers receive specialized training on young adolescents and best practices prior to being employed by a middle school.
    •    Effective teacher professional development comes in many forms, from informal to formal, within a school and through specialized training at the district, state, and national level.
    •    Schools must address the barriers that appear to prohibit teachers from participating more often in the readily available training opportunities offered and supported by their school.
    •    Administrators and teachers must realize that they offer differing opinions about teacher needs for professional development because they each serve very different roles within the school.

To view the complete article click on Four Important Lessons About Teacher Professional Development.

Four Important Lessons About Professional Development, Nancy Flowers, Steven B. Mertens, & Peter F. Mulhall, Middle School Journal May 2002, National Middle School Association

The contents of this website were developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and are intended for general reference purposes only. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education or the Center, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. Some resources on this site require Adobe Acrobat Reader. This website archive includes content and external links that were accurate and relevant as of September 30, 2019.