New York State adopted standards for Professional Development on February 10, 2009. These standards provide a blueprint for high quality professional development for all educators to improve instruction and student achievement. The standards are based on the following attributes:
- Effective professional development fosters a culture of continuous improvement for all engaged in the learning endeavor. Practices address the needs of professionals throughout their careers and embrace other stakeholders as participants in learning. Activities are evaluated both for effectiveness and impact on student learning.
- Effective professional development is that which improves the learning of all students, including those with different educational needs, learning styles, and incremental abilities, and those from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
- Professional development is most effective when there are clear research-based expectations for what teachers should know and be able to do to support student learning. These expectations are reflected in the New York State Code of Ethics for Educators, district Professional Development Plans, Annual Professional Performance Reviews, and Commissioner's Regulations related to teacher preparation and certification. They are also enumerated and reflected in collective bargaining agreements, job descriptions and assignments, performance appraisal systems, systems of rewards and incentives for teachers, and in the design and content of teacher professional development.
- Professional development is most effective when there is collaborative leadership and shared responsibility for improving teaching and learning. Collaborative leadership for professional development recognizes that the pursuit of excellence is never-ending and embraces the individual and collective goals and talents of teachers, paraprofessionals, parents, school administrators, school boards, district and state staff, institutions of higher education, unions, and other stakeholders.
- Professional development is most effective when it is job embedded, directly relevant to classroom practice, provided over time, and when it provides opportunity for practice of new strategies, time to reflect on changes, and time to integrate new learning into the teaching practice.
- Professional development is most effective when adequate resources are provided. Resources include money, people, and time. Resources necessarily come from a variety of sources, and must be sufficiently sustained over time to insure the full impact of professional development. Resources are adequate when they ensure that all educators can study, practice, reflect, receive feedback on practice, and implement knowledge and skills necessary to be effective with their students and others.