San Francisco Unified School District,
San Francisco, CA
The practice: Professional development should provide learning opportunities that relate to individual needs but are, for the most part, organized around collaborative problem solving.
Serving a diverse student population, San Francisco Unified School District has discovered that professional development pays dividends in terms of increased student achievement.
In its comprehensive Professional Development Initiative, San Francisco Unified links 25 "model schools" in a "critical friends" network. Teams from each of the model schools develop draft professional development plans and present them to the network for feedback, critique, and recommendations. In the network, schools discover how their needs and goals overlap and how to share resources and support with those schools whose needs and goals are similar.
Throughout the district and at individual schools teams of staff
members meet to analyze student performance data, examine
instructional strategies and curriculum, and develop school
improvement and professional development plans to increase
student and teacher learning. The success of the Professional
Development Initiative is based on the collaboration among
teachers, administrators, parents, and support staff. Working
together, they contributed to comprehensive improvement of
teaching and learning within the San Francisco Unified School