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section 3

State Level

Ensuring Professional Development Meets Standards

  • Policymakers and education leaders should evaluate their current teacher professional development systems for alignment with international standards.

Professional Development Planning and Delivery

  • Make benchmarking to international standards a statewide priority.
  • Provide high-quality technical assistance to schools and districts based on statewide best practices.
  • Coordinate existing professional development that fills the gaps identified in the individualized professional development plans and that addresses alignment to international standards.
  • Design and provide professional development to “re-tool” existing educators in content and instructional delivery, especially in gap areas.
  • Use the professional development standards by the National Staff Development Council (see Additional Resources).
  • Establish a public-private partnership to develop, pilot and implement a statewide academy to enhance the knowledge, skills and leadership of school and district administrators.

Professional Development Content

  • Design, provide and require professional development for educators to ensure they understand how to align standards, instruction and assessments to international standards.
  • Engage in a statewide STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) initiative to strengthen instruction and raise academic achievement.
  • Develop and/or provide professional development for teachers to learn how to use academic content aligned to international standards to teach the seven “survival skills:” (1)
    • Critical thinking and problem solving
    • Collaboration and leadership
    • Agility and adaptability
    • Initiative and entrepreneurialism
    • Effective oral and written communication
    • Accessing and analyzing information
    • Curiosity and imagination.
  • Develop and/or provide professional development for teachers and administrators on differentiated instruction.
  • Support the dissemination of resources, such as the work of Carol Ann Tomlinson, a former elementary teacher, Teacher of the Year, and current education professor at the University of Virginia, who is considered a leading expert in the field of differentiated learning. For more information on Carol Tomlinson’s work, see the Additional Resources at the end of this section.


  • Ensure district and school standards are aligned to international standards.
  • Ensure that licensed teachers are competent enough in their academic subject areas to handle world-class-level content expectations, and that they demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary to teach to international standards.
  • Use formative assessments, differentiate instruction and target individual student needs.
  • Ensure elementary teachers are thoroughly prepared enough in math, science and English to successfully handle the deeper concepts that are required internationally.

Create a coordinated system of preservice and inservice strategies and practices.


  1. Tony Wagner, “Rigor Redefined,” Educational Leadership, 1-3 (Harvard Graduate School of Education), October 2008,



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