Top 5 Reasons that Online Professional Development is Better for Increased Teacher Effectiveness

Research has shown that effective teaching is one of the most important factors for high student achievement. In addition, the most effective teachers continually learn new knowledge and skills to implement in their lessons and instruction.

Effective teachers  are needed in order for all students to be successful.

What do you think about when you hear the words professional development? The majority of time this has meant that a group of educators meet in a room, learn all they can, and then apply it to their classroom or school. Recently, professional development has changed. With the increase in professional development opportunities through webinars, social media, and online courses, educators now have more choices of how to continue their education. 

For example,  LEARNING-FOCUSED Direct is a powerful online learning platform that will increase teaching effectiveness while providing additional benefits not available through traditional professional development. 

So what? you ask, is it just one more way to receive training online? 

Join us as we share the Top 5 reasons why LEARNING-FOCUSED Direct is the best way to receive professional development for your students’ success. 

Reason #5:  Purchasing Freedom

Think about the best hamburger in town. It is probably around ten bucks isn’t it?
Well, for that same price you can participate in a 
LEARNING-FOCUSED Direct online course!

All LEARNING-FOCUSED Direct courses are only $10.

Unlike most online courses, LEARNING-FOCUSED Direct gives you the freedom to learn and gain knowledge and skills through an exemplary course and still have room in the budget.  Whether you are an administrator who is providing professional development to your entire staff, or a teacher taking a course on your own for knowledge and 
re-certification hours, 
LEARNING-FOCUSED Direct lets you use your money for more.

Group pricing and site licenses can drop courses to as little as $5 per course. Just think, for the cost of a sandwich you can get professional development that will increase teacher effectiveness and make a real impact on your students.

Reason #4: Have a guess about Reason #4? We will tell you next week! Here is a hint – think math homework.

Download a LEARNING-FOCUSED Direct Brochure 
or go to for more information about the most effective professional development possible.

Maybe you have already taken a LEARNING-FOCUSED Direct Course?
Tell us about your experience on Twitter @learningfocused #worryfreepd
to get a free Strategy Specific Course!

Stay Connected with LEARNING-FOCUSED

Got Effective Teachers?

Got Effective Teachers?

Ask any parent what has made the biggest difference in a child’s education, and you will not hear about textbooks, programs or even school board policies. Inevitably you will hear stories about effective teachers who unleashed a child’s potential as a learner and leader.

Impact of an Effective Teacher

In an era of tight budgets, it is crucial that educational leaders put their dollars where they will get the greatest return on the investment, and nothing has a greater impact than effective teaching.  For over 25 years, LEARNING-FOCUSED has been at the leading edge of the most important initiative a school or district can implement – ensuring solid curriculum and effective instruction in every classroom. Empower your teachers with the innovative courses, dynamic training, and transformative coaching of the  Learning-Focused Teachers Academy.

Look for more information about the characteristics of an

Effective Teacher in our upcoming email series.

Can’t wait to learn more? Download our brochure now,

take a look at our previous email series here,

or contact us to start cultivating master teachers in your school

Stay Connected with Learning-Focused

Part 4: Shifting from the Typical to the Exemplary

Hopeful School’s shift to Exemplary

Instead of simply telling her teachers show up at a mandated training, the principal took steps prior to the training to prepare her teachers for making the most of the training in order to meet their school goals. She reviewed the workshop’s learning goals and agenda, discussing how this training will give them the strategies they need to achieve their goals. Next, she set the expectations with her staff based on what they were going to learn.

Then, the principal attended the workshop with her teachers. During the workshop, she actively participated in the activities to ensure that she has the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct walkthroughs and monitor each teacher’s implementation effectively. This also allowed the principal to answer any implementation questions such as, “Are we really supposed to do that?”, “How are we supposed to do that?” and “When are we supposed to do that?” during the workshop.

Immediately following their training on Acceleration, the principal of Hopeful School established collaborative planning times, reminded teachers of the instructional focus goals, set timeline dates that correspond with the growth benchmarks for implementation expectations, and developed Look Fors and Ask Abouts with teacher input. Several teachers were not in attendance during the training, so the principal also utilized correpsonding online courses to ensure that the few teachers that missed the workshop received the same information and training. 

During the first 6-8 weeks of implementation, the principal and leadership team conducted walkthroughs and 5x5s as a means of providing support to teachers and determining areas of need for continued professional learning. This high level of initial support helped them move their implementation from basic knowledge to the highest quality strategic use. Additionally, every time the principal met with a teacher or team (passing in the halls, in her office, etc), she would ask them for specific details about how they used Acceleration in their last lesson or specifically how they were going to use it in their next lesson, ensuring teachers that the instructional goals are a primary school-wide focus. 

During collaborative planning times, classroom teachers and Acceleration support teachers met in grade level teams to plan for the next 2-4 weeks of lessons. Classroom teachers used Acceleration strategies with all of their students, with remediation strategies distributed throughout their lessons as needed for some students. Acceleration support teachers used Acceleration strategies 1-3 days in advance of classroom lessons with students the classroom teachers identified as struggling or may struggle with the concepts and content of upcoming lessons. They didn’t pre-teach (which would be boring and unsuccessful), and instead they used specific Acceleration strategies.

In addition, faculty meetings, when held, were changed from business meetings to meetings that focused on quality of implementation and strategies for supporting each other and their students. Teachers shared their experiences and strategies in order to help all get better.

The principal disregarded data and reviewed student subgroup information with instructional teams. Grade level administrators facilitated planning days to provide teacher support, resources for teacher success, and to gauge teacher capacity to move to the next steps of implementation. Teacher leaders also participated in walkthroughs.

This collaborative planning and implementation support from the principal continued for the first 6-8 weeks of implementation. At the end of the 6-8 weeks, reflection meetings were held to change the instruction focus goals from Guided Practice to Expected Practice. The expectation was set that the teachers will be Monitored for Quality, instead of simply attempting the strategies they learned.

During the next 3-4 weeks of implementation, the principal and leadership team continued to conduct walkthroughs and 5×5’s, but they started using implementation rubrics to ensure that teachers were implementing the Acceleration strategies with quality. Additional support through e-learning, coaches, and plc meetings was provided to teachers as needed. I

At the end of this implementation period, the principal and teacher leaders, based on the implementation plan created immediately after the workshop, changed the monitoring from Increasing Quality to Implementing with Quality Consistently. At this point forward, teachers would be held fully accountable for consistent, pervasive, and quality use of the strategies they learned in the training. Monitoring of the instructional focus goals was now a part of the evaluation process.

In exemplary schools, continuous improvement of implementation of an initiative is ongoing, and by following an exemplary implementation framework, Hopeful School has been continuously improving, even after reaching their goals. As soon as test data was available, teacher and administrative teams reviewed the data, discussed what worked and what didn’t work, and reviewed/revised the implementation plan. Lesson plans were often revisited for alignment with areas of need identified in test data as well as the grade level expectations set by their standards.


Part III: Shifting from being a typical school to an exemplary school

Over the past two weeks, we have shared with you how Hopeful School tried to implement what they learned in a professional development training – without much success. Now, read how their implementation could have been significantly better with just a few simple changes.

 Did you miss the first 2 parts of the story?

View part 1 here and part 2 here to get caught up!

Hopeful School’s Shift to Exemplary


Instead of what happened to Hopeful School in part 2, imagine if they had implemented Acceleration with an exemplary professional development implementation framework….

After just one year of implementing the Acceleration model using an exemplary professional development implementation framework, a change was visible in the school, not only with their test scores, but also with the culture of the school. Collaboration is happening at every level, and there is now common instructional vocabulary and an understanding of expectations among teachers. Lesson planning is easier and better than ever, and they are based on grade-level standards like never before. Instruction and assignments are customized for various levels of learning in order to provide the appropriate amount of grade level rigor and support for each student.

AYP goals were met in just one year of effectively implementing the Acceleration model using an exemplary professional development implementation framework.

 *Reading Comprehension Test Results of Struggling Students

Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Average 37 60 83 87 87 87 88 88 84 89

 *State test from above students:

96% of the students made AYP and passed all state tests

 *Actual results from school implementing the Acceleration model. See other client data here

 Sound too good to be true?  

Next week, learn exactly how Hopeful School shifted from typical to exemplary.

Here is a hint!

Implementation Framework

Part II: Are you working at a typical school or an exemplary school?

Hopeful School’s Typical Results.

Last week, you read about how Hopeful School started the school year with a training on Acceleration. This week, see how Hopeful School deals with their situation.Did you miss part I?  View it here to get caught up!

Hopeful School does what typical schools do…

At the first faculty meeting of the year, one teacher whispered to her team member, “Do you really think she (the principal) is going to make us do these Acceleration strategies?” She quickly received the answer when the principal announced that she would be conducting classroom observations and expected to see Acceleration strategies being used. While some of the new teachers were in a swivet, the more veteran teachers encouraged them to just hang in there, that “this too shall pass” as so many of their former instructional goals had done.

 The days following the faculty meeting were busy and the principal didn’t make it into any classrooms until several weeks later. She observed several “Vocabulary Preview” bulletin board displays in classrooms but noticed that there were different vocabulary terms in the special education classrooms and support classes, with a number of remedial worksheets being used. One of the Acceleration support teachers confessed that she didn’t really know what the classroom teachers were teaching and when she asked them for their upcoming lessons so she could do Acceleration, she was always met with “I’ll let you know soon.”

The principal promptly sent out a memo to staff requesting them to provide Acceleration plans or lesson plans to the special education and resource teachers. For a few weeks following the request, they received outlines detailing the textbook chapters that were being taught the following week. None of the classroom teachers provided an actual Acceleration plan or lesson plan. And, without a streamlined way to collaborate or share plans, even this little bit of sharing did not last long.

A scheduled mid-year district-wide walkthrough prompted the principal to again remind her staff that they were focusing on Acceleration as part of their school improvement plan and the district team would expect to see evidence that students are getting Acceleration. On the day of the district visit she was thrilled to see teachers previewing vocabulary and using vocabulary displays in most classrooms. Granted, many were in awkward locations for students to see and many were much too small to be useful, but they were up!

When asked how the building focus was working by a member of the walkthrough team, the principal replied, “We’re really trying now, we’re hopeful that our test scores will show it.” However, when test scores arrived, Hopeful School found that again they had not met their achievement goals. “I knew that Acceleration thing was never going to work,” commented several teachers. The principal was disappointed but not discouraged because she had just read about another new program that was guaranteed to raise achievement and was hopeful.

Does this sound familiar?  Is this similar to the professional development expectations at your school? Is this how you think it should end?

Next week, find out how Hopeful School changed in order to become  EXEMPLARY.

Is your school a typical school or an exemplary school?

Have you ever wondered how two schools can have the exact same goals, nearly the same student population, same professional development and similar faculty, and yet get drastically different achievement and learning results?

Hopeful School was a school that, like many schools, had decisions to make to achieve higher goals, to work differently, more dynamically in order to become an exemplary school?

Hopeful School is an urban school with a high poverty population. The school had not met AYP in three years and therefore was in corrective action. Last year, the principal attended a Leadership Institute called Moving Schools: Lessons from Exemplary Leaders where she discovered how hundreds of schools in her situation increased achievement by 35+ points – and kept it high for all students! What she learned energized and excited her about the possibilities. She now had hope with what she had learned. If other schools with a similar population could achieve outstanding results, it could also happen in her school. One of the exemplary practices she learned, Acceleration, seemed like the answer to dealing with the issues involved with her struggling students. She knew there was a professional development day on the calendar a few days prior to the beginning of school and she could have her staff trained on Acceleration at that time and immediately put the extraordinary strategies into practice at the beginning of the school year. Her teachers could jump right in and start moving her struggling students toward becoming higher achieving students.

The Acceleration training was very high quality, and while many teachers were excited about what they learned (such as the considerable benefit of replacing part of remediation/reteaching with previewing strategies), other teachers were less than enthusiastic. During the training, the teachers who weren’t happy stated they would rather be preparing their classrooms for the start of school, especially since they believed that there would always be students who struggled and not have the ability or attitude to come close to meeting expectations. Furthermore, while the school’s support teachers were becoming somewhat intrigued with the strategies and practices of Acceleration, they were doubtful (based on past experience) that they would ever be able to get the lesson information they would need from the classroom teachers to use the strategies with struggling students. Their biggest concerns, however, were figuring out how to provide the strategies to three grade levels of students at the same time and their lack of belief that their struggling students could successfully learn grade-level curriculum when they had so many gaps.

The training included details that addressed their concerns, some of which would be the responsibility of the principal to determine and implement (such as scheduling, collaborative planning time, etc). Unfortunately, the principal left the training many times to make phone calls and missed much of what she would need in order to properly support teachers with quality implementation.

A few days after their training on Acceleration, school started for students and the principal was managing the operation of opening the school and didn’t have time to think about what was learned at the workshop or how to implement it. At the first faculty meeting, following announcements, she talked about how hopeful she was that what they learned about Acceleration was going to make a difference in student achievement at their school. She asked teachers to comment on how it was working in their classrooms. She was met with silence except for a few teachers who shared several Previewing strategies they had used, how the students had really enjoyed them, and that they think they may have helped a little.

Does this sound familiar?  How does a typical school handle this situation? Find out next week as the story of Hopeful School continues!

Prepare for The Common Core State Standards

Your Answer to the Common Core State Standards Arrives 7/15/13
Recently there have been numerous changes to the demands and expectations of
educators, including the introduction of Common Core State Standards. To meet these
demands, we have developed a model of proven practices and strategies that create
substantial gains in achievement and are replicable in any school to prepare them
to be successful with the demands set by the new generation of the Common Core
State Standards and your State Standards.

The Next Generation of LEARNING-FOCUSED is an exciting update that expands upon
the current version (v.7) of LEARNING-FOCUSED to make planning more efficient,
increase the level of learning obtained by students,ensure assignments are grade
level and rigorous, and much more to meet and exceed the expectations of the
Common Core State Standards and your State Standards. The Next Generation of
LEARNING-FOCUSED provides innovative frameworks, strategies, and resources to
increase teaching effectiveness and accelerate learning for all students.

The Next Generation Workshops are:

Become Certified to Redeliver The Next Generation of LEARNING-FOCUSED Workshops 7/22/13

Prepare your teachers and students to exceed the expectations of your new standards of learning with The Next Generation of LEARNING-FOCUSED
A recent study published in Education Week by the EPE Research Center found that even after several years when new standards are released, most teachers are unprepared for meeting their expectations.  The study identified the issues crucial to the successful implementation of new standards (which most states have!).The good news is that teachers generally agree that the new standards have a positive impact on their instruction. However, among the forefront of issues with effectively implementing the standards as identified in the study are:

  • The focus, format, and quality of training
  • Teacher and school preparedness
  • Areas where additional training and resources are needed.

The Next Generation of LEARNING-FOCUSED addresses these key concerns by providing teachers with engaging professional development for training teachers how to effectively use the latest research-based and exemplary practices focused on key areas of your new standards (Common Core State Standards and your State Standards).

5 Major findings from the study:


1.     Most teachers report some basic awareness of the standards, although their level of familiarity is typically not deep.

Develop a clear, common understanding of the learning requirements of the Common Core State Standards and/or your State Standards. Advance students through the increasing levels of complexity of each standard to successfully meet grade-level requirements with Mapping the Common Core State Standards and Your State Standards. Don’t just map your standards, map your standards with a focus on learning that results in Advance Organizers (a top 5 research-based strategy for their effect on learning!) for every unit.


2.     Most teachers have received some professional development related to new standards, although it was usually brief.

Ensure that you get the most out of your professional development time with the latest research-based and exemplary practices from The Next Generation of LEARNING-FOCUSED.

The exemplary practices your teachers will learn to implement will be clear enough to put into practice, yet deep enough to plan and use purposefully and effectively. Successful implementation of effective professional development requires support and monitoring by school leaders. With The Next Generation of LEARNING-FOCUSED, school leaders will be more effective at focusing and monitoring specific goals, and with providing targeted support that will make significant advances in teacher effectiveness and student achievement.


3.     Confidence levels drop by half when teachers were asked about their readiness to address the needs of particular student groups, including English-language learners and students with disabilities.

Give your teachers the confidence they need with The Next Generation of LEARNING-FOCUSED.  Accelerating Learning for All Students provides teachers with proven practices and strategies that are practical for establishing challenging, standards-driven learning goals for all students and then providing the necessary support for meeting those goals. Teachers will learn how to integrate strategies into their lessons for building background knowledge, scaffolding instruction, increasing vocabulary knowledge and use, and customizing assignments to ensure that all students, both struggling and those needing more challenge, are moving forward in their learning to meet or exceed grade-level expectations set by your new standards.


4.     Most often, training has focused on the English/language arts and mathematics standards.

The Next Generation of LEARNING-FOCUSED provides teachers in all content areas with planning guides, strategies, and practices for providing the type of high quality, rigorous learning emphasized by new standards and established learning goals.


5.     Few teachers feel their curricular materials are very well aligned with the Standards.

Curricular materials often come in the form of ready-made lessons or other state approved resources. While these resources can simplify lesson planning, the content derived from them rarely qualifies as exemplary, let alone adequate for meeting the expectations set by the new generation of standards regarding integration of standards, higher order thinking, and literacy. Simplify your lesson planning and use the provided curricular materials provided to you more effectively, and ensure that every lesson is exemplary with The Next Generation of LEARNING-FOCUSED.

Ensure that the top research-based and standards-based strategies are being implemented in your school with The Next Generation of LEARNING-FOCUSED workshops:


Plan purposeful lessons that are engaging and challenging for all students with a model guided by standards driven goals. Learning-Focused Lessons extend beyond content coverage to focus on how and whether students learn.


Higher Order Thinking: Increase the Rigor of Your LEARNING-FOCUSED Lessons

The new generation of standards expect all students have access to high levels of learning. Higher Order Thinking provides teachers with the knowledge and skills to teach students how to use higher order thinking strategies and how to plan lessons that require students to use higher order thinking as expected by your standards.


Effective Assignments and Assessments

Implement a comprehensive approach to rigorous assignments and formative assessments that are grade-level appropriate, challenging, and standards driven.


Accelerating Learning for All Students

The new generation of standards require that all students have access to high levels of learning. Accelerating Learning for All Students equips teachers with the instructional tools to make that vision a reality by establishing challenging, standards-driven goals for all students. Raise achievement of all students and close the achievement gap through the systematic implementation of previewing, scaffolding, and differentiated instruction.

Discover the other workshops (Monitoring, Individual Strategies, Coaching, etc) of The Next Generation

Read the entire EPE Research Center study here.

We are providing a great opportunity for schools and districts to develop their own certified trainers to redeliver The Next Generation of LEARNING-FOCUSED to their teachers. We want everyone to embrace the incredibly effective practices of the Next Generation of
LEARNING-FOCUSED, therefore we are providing an incredible opportunity.Apply today to be part of this rare opportunity to become a Next Generation of
LEARNING-FOCUSED Trainer.Although The Next Generation of LEARNING-FOCUSED Training of Trainers will be offered again, this one time only price will not. Seats are filling up, so if you want to take advantage of this opportunity apply soon or call us to reserve your spot.Take advantage of this AMAZING offer NOW!Attend the Next Generation Training of Trainers, The Trainers and Coaches Institute, and prerequisite and save $1500.

While we will offer additional opportunities to attend Training of Trainers,

 this will be the only time that we will include

 the prerequisites for FREE and discount the Training of Trainers fee!

 Your students deserve it…


Increase Teacher Effectiveness and Accelerate Learning for all Students with the proven frameworks, strategies, and professional development of

 Call 866-955-3276 or click to discover more about
The Next Generation of LEARNING-FOCUSED.


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