Professional Development that Changes Teaching and Improves Learning

Introduction

Each year school districts invest financial resources in professional development for their educators. Beyond the cost, educators spend countless hours in workshops, training, webinars, and other learning environments intended to enhance and deepen their knowledge and skills to increase student success. Too often the return on this investment is minimal in learning transfer for educators or measurable academic gains for students and maximum in participant dissatisfaction. Substantial research in effective professional development models exists. When applied to professional development, measurable change in the learning process occurs.

In 2015 WakeEd Partnership and Wake County Public School System (WCPSS), North Carolina’s largest school system, applied that research to the design of an engaging, results-oriented professional development opportunity for elementary and secondary educators – SummerSTEM.  WakeEd Partnership is an education non-profit (501c3) that exists to inform, mobilize and engage the business community in support of strong public schools in Wake County. During its 35-year history, WakeEd has differentiated itself as an organization dedicated to supporting educators through professional development and resources. SummerSTEM is a hands-on professional development experience that addresses the needs of educators — adult learners — and brings real-world lessons to the classroom.

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