Educators, much like professionals in any field, continue learning throughout their careers. High-quality education for children is provided by effective teachers in every classroom and school and district leadership that is focused on raising achievement. As professionals in an ever-changing knowledge-based society, educators are required to continuously upgrade their skill-set. Professional development must be based on sound research and promising practices.
“Professional development is a continuous process of individual and collective examination and improvement of practice. It should empower individual educators and communities of educators to make complex decisions; to identify and solve problems; and to connect theory, practice, and student outcomes. Professional development also should enable teachers to offer students the learning opportunities that will prepare them to meet world-class standards in given content areas and to successfully assume adult responsibilities for citizenship and work.”1
It is important that all staff (administrators, classroom teachers, aides, counselors, nurses and others who interact with students) is included in professional development activities.
“There are many reasons why ongoing professional development—defined here as the process of enhancing one’s personal growth and job skills and improving one’s job performance in order to contribute to outstanding educational results for students—is important for paraeducators. One of the most compelling reasons is that student achievement depends on rigorous standards and a knowledgeable education team. To have high standards for students, there must be high standards for the staff members who work with them.”2