Professional Learning Design

The most effective professional learning provides relevant, recurring opportunities for teachers to master the core work of their profession in collaboration with others. We know this is not the norm.  When the preparation for strong teaching and learning occurs in isolation, schools miss opportunities to build awareness of persistent learning trends that contribute to within-school inequities and hinder progress toward college and career readiness.

Leading Educators helps schools chart an alternative way forward. Content cycles are a series of weekly, content-based professional learning sessions focused on the defining work of planning and delivering engaging and equitable instruction. Since teachers can only effectively teach what they understand, the process helps them build essential content knowledge and instructional decision-making skills that they can connect directly to the demands of their curriculum and students’ needs.

How Content Cycles Work

Over the course of 9-12 weeks, teams of English language arts and math teachers participate in shared learning, planning and practice, and reviews of student learning evidence all mapped to priority standards. Each content cycle prioritizes a primary topic with three focused subtopics that follow the same 3-week cycle. The goal is to focus narrowly and go deep. Leading Educators designs custom cycles for partners that respond to system content priorities, the system’s designated high-quality curricula, and priority grade bands (ex: K-2, 3-5, 6-12). Working with their leadership coach or other programmatic staff to make adjustments, school-based instructional leaders facilitate content cycles within their school.

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Sample ELA Content Cycles

  • Building Knowledge and Vocabulary

  • Planning Lessons with Complex Text

  • Scaffolded and Text-Driven Lessons

Sample Math Content Cycles

  • Rigor in Curriculum and Instruction

  • Focus in Curriculum and Instruction

  • Coherence in Curriculum and Instruction