(R)evolutionize Professional Learning

A panel conversation hosted by Ed Trust and the New Teacher Center

Recorded September 16th, 2020

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Tanji Reed Marshall

Director of P-12 Practice, Education Trust


Untitled design

Rodney Robinson

2019 Teacher of the Year, Richmond Public Schools


Dr. Nicole Bronson

Dr. Nicole Bronson

Program Consultant, New Teacher Center



Atyani Howard

Chief Program Officer, New Teacher Center



Jesse Melgares

Senior Director, New Teacher Center



(R)evolutionize Professional Learning

A panel conversation hosted by Ed Trust and the New Teacher Center

In partnership with the Education Trust, New Teacher Center recently hosted a panel discussion to explore opportunities to revolutionize professional learning.

During our discussion, some key themes emerged,  including:

Bring Key Stakeholders to the Same Table

  • Take note – highly effective classrooms, schools, and school systems are focused on being learning organizations
  • Teachers, APs, and Principals all need to be a part of the instructional visioning process to ground in the why together
  • When creating a path for student success, involve parents in that visioning
  • Each neighborhood has special values; those values and the community’s reality need to be considered
  • We must take care of students/families basic needs first, so that learning can occur


Let’s Support Our Teachers

  • We expect teachers to differentiate their teaching, and professional learning (PL) needs to do the same for them
  • What do good teachers do?  They are able to weave a web of connectivity between themselves, the subject, and who students are to create a world of learning — if that’s good teaching, then PL needs to be aligned with the supports that will put teachers on that trajectory
  • We need to talk about one another’s humanity. For a teacher that’s asking: Who am I? Who do I teach? What does that mean for what I teach?
  • Quality teaching takes many years to master, we need to track growth overtime for adults, the same way we do for kids
  • When examining how things are currently done, make sure we are deploying our educators in the best way possible and not overburdening them
  • So much is asked of teachers: What is essential? Operationational? Who needs to be freed up to really focus on the work of supporting the learning journey of the classrooms, school, and system?

(R)evolutionizing PL

  • Conditions for PL success include: 1) instructional vision, 2) stakeholder analysis  3) a narrow focus, because you can’t do everything overnight, 4) alignment across the collective effort, and 5) progress monitoring
  • Use data to help address disparities that exist—this includes sub-group analysis, classroom visits, coaching notes, evaluations, self assessments, and student/parent surveys
  • When breaching conversations about equity, offer a  “call in” and not a “call out.” Facilitate conversations so they encourage professionals to self reflect and build from their experiences
  • Don’t limit thinking around who PL is for, and what different people can get out of it
  • Let’s make this a transformational moment, not one that reinforces “we don’t know how to do this, and therefore we are not doing it,” instead let’s commit to doing things differently through the ongoing support of one another


Tune into the webinar to hear more — including Rodney Robinson, 2019 Teacher of the Year, reflect more on the power and value of community, as well as his creative ideas for making your voice heard in education.

Follow Up Resources:

  • New Teacher Center’s Case Study + 30-day SEL Plan: Laying The Groundwork.
  • The Education Trust’s Report: Social, Emotional, and Academic Development Through an Equity Lens.
  • Panel Book Recommendation: Strategy in Action: How School Systems Can Support Powerful Learning and Teaching by Rachel E. Curtis
  • Panel Book Recommendation: What’s Math Got to Do with It?: How Parents and Teachers Can Help Children Learn to Love Their Least Favorite Subject by Jo Boaler
  • Panel Book Recommendation: Visible Learning  for Teacher by John Hattie
  • Panel Book Recommendation: Start With Why by Simon Sinek
  • Panel Book Recommendation: The Teacher 50: Critical Questions for Inspiring Classroom Excellence by Principal Baruti K. Kafele
  • Panel Book Recommendation: The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860–1935 by James Anderson
  • Panel Book Recommendation: Results Now by Michael J. Schmoker


And check out recent NTC blogs and podcast here: Support Hub