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What Constitutes Successful Professional Learning for Teachers? Sustainable, Impactful, Scalable Programming

Categories: Curriculum & Access, dyslexia, Early Literacy, Education & Teaching, Educator Community, Learning Disabilities, Professional Development, Student Centric Learning, Whole Child Literacy


The U.S. Office of Educational Technology recently published a letter to States and districts with guidelines for how schools can leverage federal COVID relief funds to benefit teaching and learning with technology. Among the priorities was expanding access to quality professional development programs

States and districts may use Title II, Part A funds to provide digital learning opportunities for improving their instruction and teaching practices and demonstrating proficiency in using technology for student learning. Funds may also be used to provide supplemental professional development for teachers, principals and school leaders to deepen their knowledge and instruction in teaching disadvantaged children, students with disabilities, and learners of the English language. 

Dynamic Professional Learning Courseware

Learning Ally works with schools and districts to map an effective learning pathway to literacy to support students with reading deficits and close the equity gap. Our professional learning courseware and Spotlight Learning Series are designed to be scalable, impactful and sustainable and focus on the customization of literacy instruction with an emphasis on the curriculum and teaching approaches that are grounded in the science of reading (the body of research on how the brain learns to read). 

Pie chart broken into different functionalities of a quality Professional Learning Program.

In Learning Ally’s dynamic, interactive platform, educators work with Master Teachers in comprehensive workshops and in micro-learning activities that are experiential and exploratory. The programming is built upon the best practices for adult learning, such as a review of content to support specific instructional strategies; active learning so educators can direct themselves, use prior experience, solve real-world problems, and apply new knowledge to instruction; work-embedded collaboration and modeling best practices to develop peer observation strategies and share collective intelligence; coaching and support to create ongoing observation, feedback, reflection, and improved practice; and communities of practice. 

Professional Learning in Brain-Based Instructional Courseware

Learning Ally’s PreK-6 Effective Brain-Based Literacy Instruction courseware trains educators about the science of reading, and how to recognize how each child learns to read. The award-winning brain-based courseware (a hybrid of online live and on-demand training) is flexible and adaptive, offering educators workshops and collaborative communities of practice with opportunities to refine and apply new knowledge directly into class and school environments. Educators work with Master Teachers to learn the latest research on how the brain learns to read, so they can individualize instruction and enhance their instructional capacity.  

Educators will acquire in-depth knowledge on these topics:

  • Conceptual Underpinnings - Simple View of Reading and Scarborough’s Reading Rope

  • Phonemic Awareness - phonics, word study, decoding and encoding

  • Language Comprehension - vocabulary, background knowledge, verbal reasoning, and more

  • Complexities of Comprehension - connection between comprehension, motivation and strategy instruction

  • Specific practices tied to data on student achievement with measurable outcomes 

  • Teaching multi-language learners

Powerful Solution to Teacher Retention and Student Outcomes

Studies show that a combination of online professional learning workshops and collaborative communities of practice with coaching are essential to improve instructional delivery and teacher retention, and are 20% more likely to increase student achievement. 

Map an effective pathway to your school or district’s professional learning. Request a catalog of Learning Ally’s Professional Learning on-demand and virtual programming.

Brent Hartsell, Director of Solutions and Professional Learning, wrote this article, “Professional Learning: A Powerful Solution to Teacher Retention & Student Outcomes,” for the American Consortium of Equity in Education, to encourage more professional development for teachers and empathy for the ongoing challenges they face. 

Hartsell states, “The role of a literacy leader is to build the vision, support the vision, and ensure implementation is attainable. When effective professional learning is offered to teachers in the science of reading and brain-based instruction, there are considerable gains to be made — from skilled teachers who feel knowledgeable and respected, to enhanced job satisfaction. Effective reading instruction and remediation will enable more students to flourish, especially neuro-diverse learners. We want to lift teachers up, and encourage professional learning. This will result in more teachers becoming highly-skilled professional literacy leaders, and more struggling readers becoming highly-effective academic achievers.”  

Additional Information: Studies on Effective Teacher Professional Development Programming

Valerie Chernek writes about educational best practices through the use of technology and the science of reading in support of teachers, children, and adolescents who struggle with learning differences. 





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