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About Professional Development
Inside Professional Development
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National Staff Development Standards
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Test your Professional Development IQ (PDF)

The National Staff Development Council (NSDC) has designed 12 Standards for Staff Development that are organized into three strands: context, process, and content. These strands are all necessary to ensure that professional development improves student learning.

  • Context standards address the organization, system, and culture in which professional development is implemented. 
  • Process refers to how new knowledge and skills are acquired through professional development.
  • Content refers to what students must know and be able to do, and correspondingly, what educators must know to bring about student achievement.

National Staff Development Standards (PDF)

The staff development standards provide direction for designing a professional development experience that ensures educators acquire the necessary knowledge and skills.  Effective professional development is not about meeting the requirements of a list; it is about carefully considering and planning according to desired outcomes and standards that will contribute to student and staff success. Thus, the standards emphasize that effective professional development is:

  • Directly focused on helping to achieve student learning goals and supporting student learning needs
  • A collaborative endeavor - teachers and administrators work together in planning and implementation
  • Campus-based and job-embedded
  • A long-term commitment
  • Differentiated
  • Tied to the district goals