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How Long Beach Unified shapes our thoughts on personalized professional development

By: Caroline Wynne Date: October 21, 2015

Long Beach Unified School District is a leader. There is no question about that. They are moving from a traditional one-size-fits-all professional development approach to a tailored approach to meet the different needs of teachers.

Traditional Professional Development Challenges

In many school districts across the country, teachers struggle with quickly finding professional development that is relevant to their school, grade, subject, or development needs. Often times teachers feel their time is wasted participating in professional development that provides little or no value to their job.

Administrators encounter challenges with professional development management limitations. They have a need to create, acquire and manage a variety of learning opportunities, and track the quality of the professional development being offered.

Traditional, siloed technology systems also present challenges, as key inputs into a teacher’s development needs, such as student performance data, often live in disparate tools that rely on manual processes to derive meaning.

Personalized Professional Development

In partnership with Truenorthlogic, Long Beach designed and developed myPD which was fully released this fall to the district’s over 4,000 teachers.

As described in an article for Education Week, myPD helps teachers personalize their training by offering them more methods of accessing professional development that are better matched to their individual needs, as well as providing a way of tracking their own growth.

Similar to a personalized fitness plan, teachers are empowered to set teaching goals, find aligned resources, and track their progress. myPD is an online system that tailors professional development offerings for teachers and tracks progress toward their learning goals.

Personal Trainer joining hands

The myPD tool evaluates teacher’s learning needs using several key data points, helps them create a personal learning plan, and then gives them feedback on their growth by automatically pulling data from multiple sources such as observations and student data. Long Beach Unified believes this integration of multiple data sources is imperative to the personalization of professional development, for example, the District worked with research to develop teacher-friendly dashboards that characterize how students are performing.

The goal is to treat teachers like the professionals that they are, enabling them to build trust in the system and adopt it with quality and fidelity.

The Future of Professional Development

As Long Beach pioneers this personalized professional development approach, many school districts are looking to them for ways they can do this for their own teachers.

Long Beach has proven the importance of having a strong vision and a dedicated team to execute that vision. After working with Long Beach for over two years, features that have shaped our solution development include the importance of immediate feedback, goal tracking, easy accessibility to quality professional development, and using data to drive next steps.

At Truenorthlogic, we understand that each district is different. That’s why we provide a personalized professional learning management system that supports each district’s approach and process. Our professional development tools, put a vast array of learning opportunities at the fingertips of teachers, and provide a path for continuous improvement.