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Designing Wrap-Around Teacher Support as a New Normal

When Denver Public Schools (DPS) in Colorado considered the patterns of teacher  engagement in professional learning opportunities across the district, they noticed a familiar problem. Teachers attended one-off trainings on thoughtfully integrating technology within their practice and then moved on. The district team, including the Senior Manager of EdTech and Library Services, EdTech Manager, and Digital Coaches, knew that research has shown such one-off efforts have limited impact on meaningful change in practice. District leaders wanted to find a way to incorporate full professional coaching cycles into existing professional development sessions.  

DPS shifted expectations. Teachers signing up for one-off sessions were also required to participate in professional coaching cycles related to the topics of each session.  

The shift resulted in initial attrition in registration numbers and required team attention to navigate the logistics of such a change in practice. The edtech team worked with the DPS professional learning department and the local union to resolve these logistical considerations. The team reports a shift in the effectiveness of their professional learning offerings, noting teachers are more likely to stay in touch or reach out when they have questions due to the coaching. Evidence is more than anecdotal. The team has seen an increase in teacher registration year over year. Additionally, they have seen increased completion rates from registration to end-of-year completion as educators settle into this new normal of ongoing support.