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E. Professional Learning

Grantees are expected to engage in the establishment and/or operation of high-quality professional learning programs focused on the improvement of local instructional practices and services. Based on information and resources compiled by LINCS, high-quality professional learning activities:

  • utilize data-driven planning and evaluation processes that support continuous improvement;
  • provide clear feedback on educator performance and progress in serving students;
  • ensure all adult educators have access to the content;
  • differentiate content to address the varied needs of practitioners;
  • build knowledge and peer relationships through collaborative learning;
  • focus on specific academic and programmatic content; and
  • provide learning in an intensive, ongoing, and connected to practice (job-embedded) context.

High-quality professional learning activities should also center around research and evidence-based practices, and may take the form of regularly scheduled data team meetings, communities of practice (CoPs), focused classroom observations, workshops/trainings, online courses, webinars etc.

Content

Effective professional learning activities support the implementation and improvement of research and evidence-based practices at the local and classroom level. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • the specific needs of adult learners;
  • effective practices in reading, writing, speaking, and mathematics instruction;
  • English language acquisition instruction;
  • strategies to support learners with disabilities as well as English language learners;
  • effective distance education practices;
  • how to leverage technology to increase the effectiveness of instruction and other program processes;
  • facilitating transitions to college and career;
  • integration of literacy and English language instruction with occupational skills training;
  • the College and Career Readiness Standards;
  • the current adult skills and literacy assessments used in the state; and
  • various other topics that support the implementation and improvement of research-based practices.

Expectations

In engaging in professional learning activities, grantees are expected to have a documented plan for how they organize and implement local professional learning activities. Plans should include details on how program-wide professional learning needs and opportunities will be identified; how professional learning activities will be integrated into program-wide practices; how the activities support local implementation of research and evidence based practices; how the program with facilitate instructor engagement with professional learning; and how the activities will be evaluated for improvement and sustainability.

Additionally, programs should track specific information regarding any professional learning offerings staff attend, whether internal or external. This includes the offering’s name, date, topic(s) covered, attendance information, format, and length (hours).

This summary information serves two purposes. First, it helps to scaffold and assist instructors in meeting the requirements for renewing their Adult Basic Education Authorization. Guidance on acceptable license/authorization renewal activities in this context can be found on Educator Licensing’s Professional Development and Continuing Education Units (CEUs) page. Tracking this information will also benefit programs when assessing professional learning needs and reporting on their professional learning activities.

Each program is responsible for documenting/tracking this information as it pertains to their staff. As a result, specifics on how these different requirements are documented is up to individual programs, and what works best for them.

Note: There is no longer a professional learning hour structure for different trainings, nor is there a minimum hour requirement each individual must meet. For ABEA renewal purposes, professional learning hours are equal to the real time hours the participant spent engaged in the professional learning activity.

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Colorado Dept. of Education
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