Policy Guidance for Title I, Part A - Improving Basic Programs Operated by Local Educational Agencies - April 1996

A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

Professional Development

"The Nation's teaching force will have access to programs for the continued improvement of their professional skills and the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to instruct and prepare all American students for the next century." (Goal 7 - National Education Goals)



Professional development plays an essential role in successful education improvement. Professional development serves as the bridge between where prospective and experienced educators are now and where they will need to be to meet the new challenges of guiding all students in achieving to higher standards of learning and development.

Professional development is an integral component of most programs within the ESEA. The Title II--Dwight D. Eisenhower Professional Development Program, in particular, focuses exclusively on improving teaching and learning through sustained and intensive high-quality professional development activities in the core academic subjects. Title II has close links to Title I. To receive a subgrant under Title II, an LEA must conduct an assessment of its professional development needs. This assessment must be carried out with the involvement of teachers, including teachers in schools receiving assistance under Title I, Part A. It must result in a plan that describes how professional development activities will contribute to the LEA's overall efforts for school reform and educational improvement, addressing, in particular, how those activities will meet the needs of teachers in Title I schools.

Title I, Part A also has specific professional development requirements. Thus, SEAs and LEAs implementing both Title II and Title I must closely coordinate their professional development activities to ensure that teachers and staff in Title I schools, in particular, are properly equipped to help participating children achieve to high standards.

Professional Development under Title I, Part A

Local responsibilities

Each LEA that receives Title I, Part A funds must provide high-quality professional development that will improve the teaching of academic subjects, consistent with the State's content standards, to enable children to meet the State's student performance standards. An LEA may satisfy this requirement through districtwide professional development activities or activities implemented by each Title I school. Regardless, professional development activities must be designed by principals, teachers, and other staff in Title I schools. Parents may also be involved in designing professional development activities.

Professional development activities under section 1119 of Title I must--

An LEA must describe in its Title I plan the strategies of the LEA and its Title I schools to provide professional development. In designing professional development programs, please note:

An LEA must ensure that sufficient resources are devoted to carry out professional development activities effectively in each Title I school. An LEA may reserve these resources off-the-top of the LEA's Title I allocation, each Title I school may use Title I funds it receives to provide professional development, or the LEA may use a combination of these approaches.

If a school has been identified as needing improvement under section 1116, that school must improve the skills of its staff by providing effective professional development activities as part of its school improvement plan. The school must--

In meeting this requirement, the school may use funds from any source. Principals, teachers, and other school staff must decide how to use these funds set aside for professional development activities.

Professional Development for Title I Instruction

The Denver Public Schools offer Title-I instruction to eligible students in preK-12. Paraprofessionals and teachers often team to provide instruction that is coordinated closely with the regular education program. They receive ongoing, indepth professional development that is job-related and site-specific. New paraprofessionals receive training on basic and advanced math skills, instructional techniques, discovery, program curriculum, standards and assessment, learning, reporting to parents, working with academic concepts and techniques, and family involvement activities.

In addition to receiving training in the computer system used in instruction, bimonthly professional development opportunities and a monthly newsletter are provided. The program manager, who coordinates a math program at the school polls teachers and paraprofessionals for common concerns and interests for future staff development. Although paraprofessionals and teachers may receive release time to attend, some sessions are offered after school.

Paraprofessionals are encouraged to take college classes and receive high quality individual training. In 637 middle and high schools, paraprofessionals run a tutoring project for students who require additional assistance in reading. Although the paraprofessionals report to the principal, they work closely with Title I and regular education teachers in the building. All tutors attend mandatory afterschool workshops for two hours each month. Based on student needs, tutors choose professional development topics, including using a diagnostic reading inventory, responding to students' writing, administering the program's four-day writing sample evaluation, and Socratic questioning.

Migrant Head Start
(This example illustrates how professional development paid from resources other than Title I can complement a Title I preschool or early childhood program. Of course, similar professional development activities may also be funded by Title I.)

In the Dystart Unified School District in El Mirage, Arizona, a Migrant Head Start Program features three strands of training for migrant parents. Level I provides sessions on child behavior and development, with discussion of real-life examples and frustrations with child-rearing. After Level I, parents work as trained interns in the prekindergarten program or run the parent activity center. Parents in Level II serve as paraprofessionals in kindergarten. Training through Level III allows them to become paraprofessional parent trainers, known as mentors. These individuals recruit and train parents in both the preschool program's curriculum and parenting skills. The program encourages mentors to earn GEDs and other certification at the local community college, which offers Title VII education grants and has a working relationship with the program. Some mentors have received funds from the migrant program to pursue training and education. Some parent volunteers have gone on to pursue GEDs and other certifications, including higher education degrees, while others have earned their Child Development Associate certificates and are Head Start teachers.

Training for teachers who work with culturally and linguistically diverse students

Specialized training is provided in the use of the Content-Based Literacy Model (CBLM) with culturally and linguistically diverse students. Multicultural training for new teachers is designed to improve their skills in communicating and working effectively with culturally diverse students and their families. To strengthen staff focus on appropriate instructional strategies for culturally diverse students, a school-by-school half day inservice was delivered by Dearborn's curriculum specialists. Training focused on Dearborn's new direction, which has shifted from remediation to acceleration, with trainers demonstrating effective teaching strategies to accelerate learning for all students across the curriculum. In collaboration with Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, the Multifunctional Resource Center at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and the Evaluation Assistance Center - East, on-site college courses funded by Title VII and Chapter I funds were offered to teachers and paraprofessionals during the school year and the summer. Courses were tailored to address the unique needs of the school system's diverse student (and family) population. Course topics include ESL/Bilingual and literacy development strategies, parent involvement techniques, and thematic instruction. This collaborative effort resulted in developing a career ladder program for paraprofessionals to enable them to pursue professional status as certified teachers, as proposed by Lyons (1993), Bliss (1991), and Sergiobanni (1994).

EXAMPLE: Master teacher

In order to incorporate professional development and direct instruction into the regular school day, one district, in consultation with its principals, teachers, and parents of Title I participants, adopted the "master teacher" concept and incorporated it into all of its schoolwide program and targeted assistance schools. Given the particular needs of children in a school, a master teacher(s) assists the school's teachers to develop different lessons. In addition to giving demonstration lessons in the classroom, the master teacher coaches the teachers and participates in the design of many other professional development activities. The master teacher also provides direct instruction to groups of children.

Effective Grades 1-6 Hands-On Instructional and Alternative Assessment--Mathematics Strategies for Preparing for the North Carolina Mathematics End-Of-Course Test.

(Title II Eisenhower Math and Science Project)

Fourteen mathematics teachers of grades 1-6 attended this year-long course, during which they familiarized themselves with strategies for teaching and assessing student's problem solving and thinking skills. Participants were trained to become lead teachers in their school systems and were then expected to complete then hours of peer coaching. Two of the peer coaching hours were observed by a project consultant, the project coordinators, and/or the curriculum supervisor. During the workshop the participants developed workbooks with sample lessons for each grade level (1-6) that can be used by lead teachers during peer coaching sessions. Workshop sessions stressed teaching elementary mathematics skills through the effective use of manipuatives, problem solving, higher order thinking, and various alternative assessment strategies. During a follow-up session, participants had the opportunity to discuss their plan for implementing two peer coaching sessions in each school. Time was also reserved to allow them to discuss concerns and questions they had about the planning and development of peer coaching sessions. Participants then convened for another sharing session. (This model can easily be coordinated with or adapted for Title I programs.)

Contact: Dr. Leo Edwards, Jr., Fayetteville State University, NC.

EXAMPLE: Reading Recovery

Reading Recovery, an early intervention program that enables the lowest 20% of first graders "at-risk" of reading failure to develop effective strategies to read at average classroom levels, was developed in New Zealand by Dr. Marie Clay. Once children complete the program, the usually need no further remediation in reading. Teacher training and continuing education are two of the five key components of Reading Recovery. Two levels of training are provided: (a) a year of academic curse work prepares qualified individuals to teach Reading Recovery teachers at a district site; and (b) a year-long academic course prepares qualified individuals to teach Reading Recover leaders. All teachers, teacher leaders, and instructors of teacher leaders must be involved in a year-long training period where they work with four students on a daily basis, make site visits to established sits to observe trained teacher leaders in action and learn to use the Reading Recovery procedures. Teacher leaders are additionally prepared to provide training, technical, and clinical support for Reading Recovery teachers. Instructors of teacher leaders are prepared to establish a state university Reading Recovery instructional center. Teachers work with students for an entire training year to learn and understand the Reading Recovery process.

Tow follow-up programs ensure the continued quality of the implementation of the program. Continuing education: After the completion of the training year, the teacher leader maintains continuing contact with teachers and continues to monitor student progress. Teachers meet several times each year of inservice sessions in order to continue to develop critical knowledge and refine their skills. Teacher leader instructors and teacher leaders also attend two annual conferences. Monitoring: Reading Recovery teachers are monitored and supported by teacher leaders and teacher leaders are monitored and supported by the university faculty/staff from which they received their course work.

Instructional Aides

If an LEA or Title I school uses Title I funds to employ instructional aides, the aides must--

An LEA must include instructional aides in professional development activities, if feasible. In addition, an LEA or Title I school may use Title I funds to create career ladder programs for Title I instructional aides to obtain the education necessary to become licensed and certified teachers.

Teaching Opportunities for Paraprofessionals

Connecticut's Teaching Opportunities for Paraprofessionals (TOP) program aims to increase the number of certified minority teachers serving students in the state's urban districts. Although only 26 percent of students statewide were minorities in 1992-93, the percentage was far higher in urban districts. To help provide role models and make the teaching force more reflective of the student population, the state created this paraprofessional-to-teacher program that provides financial, social, and academic support to support paraprofessionals' professional development and funds replacement paraprofessionals at the district. Through coordination with district and higher education partners, many paraprofessionals are able to compel their degrees and become regular classroom teachers.

Training Opportunities for Bilingual Paraprofessionals

The University of Southern California, in collaboration with California (Cal.) State Dominguez Hills, Cal. State Los Angeles (L.A.). and Loyola Marymount University and school districts in the L.A. area, provide training program for bilingual paraprofessionals who plan to work toward completion of B.A. degrees and B-CLAD credential with multiple subject specialization. The project is designed to reduce the obstacles to completing degrees and credentials by providing financial, social, academic, and school-site support. Participants are selected by individual school committees which include administrators, parents, teachers, and community members. Participants are enrolled in coursework at one of the participating higher education institutions. Each participant is assigned a school-based faculty mentor to provide support related to academic and social needs. Project seminars and practice provided at the school site enhance academic coursework. Supplemental workshops assist participants in preparing for State-mandated examinations. To encourage participants to continue their training through completion of B-CALD, the project will provide financial assistance during the course of the credential training.

Program Contact: Reynaldo Baca, (213) 740-2360.

Training for Paraprofessionals in Early Childhood Education Programs

In the Calcasieu School District in Lake Charles, Louisiana, early childhood education programs rely heavily on the skill and expertise of paraprofessionals. Recognizing the important role paraprofessionals play in supporting and contributing to the educational goals of the early childhood education programs, the district has developed a training program that not only focuses on clarifying their roles and responsibilities but also improves their instructional skills.

Each fall, the state holds an early childhood education conference; teachers and paraprofessionals who work in the programs receive training in appropriate practices and techniques for maximizing the impact of the center-based activities in their classrooms. Sessions are offered on a range of topics, including room arrangement, classroom management, and assessment. The school district offers a series of workshops throughout the year for teachers and paraprofessionals to work together, encourages paraprofessionals who are experiencing difficulties in fulfilling their duties to observe and work with a mentor at another site. Group discussion, role playing and modeling, and providing individual feedback are important features of these training sessions. Teachers and paraprofessionals agree that one major benefit of the training they ave received is that they now work more effectively as a team in the classroom. By ensuring that teachers and paraprofessionals participate in the same training and receive the same information, district and school staff believe students receive a higher quality education and a richer school experience.

State responsibilities

Although most professional development activities will be carried out at the LEA and school level, each SEA has a significant role in providing technical assistance to enable LEAs and schools to carry out those activities. An SEA must review each LEA's plan to determine if the LEA's professional development activities--

In addition, each SEA must--

If educational service agencies exist, the SEA must consider providing professional development and technical assistance through such agencies. If educational service agencies do not exist, the SEA must consider providing professional development and technical assistance through other cooperative agreements such as through a consortium of LEAs.

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