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Ilinois State Board of Education Professional Development

Professional development is the strategy schools and school districts use to ensure that educators continue to strengthen their practice throughout their career. The most effective professional development engages teams of teachers, school administrators, principals, business officials, school boards, parents and school personnel to focus on the needs of their students. This must be a collaborative effort. Professional development courses must be designed to learn and problem solve together in order to ensure all students achieve success.

Professional Development Professional development (PD) is defined as activities designed to enhance the professional knowledge, skills, and attitudes of educators so that they might, in turn, improve the learning of children. Programs are required to have a written PD plan for all staff members, including teachers, paraprofessionals, and parent coordinators, in order to support continuous quality improvement and professional growth. The following points are necessary to complete the plan: • Determine the professional needs and interests of each staff member within the program. This information may be obtained through an annual staff survey, program monitoring, or a staff member’s individual evaluation. • Develop an annual written plan that addresses each staff member’s professional needs and interests. PD opportunities may include, but are not limited to: district or agency in-service/training, outside consultants, book studies, webinars, coaching, professional learning communities, classroom observations, or graduate courses. • Plans should be created collaboratively with staff member and administrator in order to reflect both professional interests and professional needs.

In education, research indicates teaching quality and school leadership are two of the most important factors in raising student achievement. For teachers and school district leaders to be as effective as possible, continuous professional learning geared to increase and expand content knowledge and enhance instructional skills is imperative to implement best educational practices. Educators’ commitment to continuous professional learning is monumental when it comes to student achievement.  Superintendents, school administrators, directors, teacher leaders, and teachers share responsibility in professional development strategies and attainment proven to strengthen educators’ performance levels.  LearningForward.org is an international association of educational leaders committed to the K-12 professional learning standards for educators and author of Why Professional Development Matters.


School Administrators and Principals

As in all professions, new teachers, principals, and administrators take years to gain the skills they need to be effective in their roles.

Our main focus is on improving the performance of educators and their students. However, providing education to leaders, such as school administrators, principals, and public officials with professional learning is also a critical issue. There must be some form of team-based or whole-school learning.

We encourage principals, who are instructional leaders, to participate in professional development activities designed primarily for teachers so that they can support its outcomes. In addition, principals need professional development to address their specific roles and responsibilities. These are general and administrative personnel who have administrative and other academic-related roles, departmental/faculty Administrators, finance officers, and  administrative officers.

Business Officials

Business Officials must stay on top of their profession and expand their skills by participation in many professional development opportunities.  Professional development courses create learning opportunities to build knowledge, enhancing the opportunities for career advancement.

As a business school, we provide continuing education, continuing legal education, and other professional development courses to business officials and business professionals. These professionals are required to complete continuing education in order to renew and maintain certain licensure. Therefore, we offer courses that will enhance their professional attainments and provide additional knowledge.


College and university programs cannot provide the extensive range of learning experiences necessary for graduates to become effective public school educators. Once students graduate and meet their state’s professional development, they need to continue to improving their skills and learning. When a teacher becomes employed the teaching environment changes so that the teacher begins to learn through experience.

The complexity of teaching is so great that one-third of teachers leave the profession within three years and 50% leave within five years. Even experienced teachers are confronted with challenges each year, including changes in subject content, new instructional methods, advances in technology, changed laws and procedures, and student learning needs. Professional development  courses should be designed to assist educators in developing   knowledge, strengthening skills, and developing practices and dispositions they need to help students perform at higher levels.

School Boards

Student achievement is developed through effective school board leadership. Professional development is heightened by high quality academic, occupational, and training programs that help board members and district boards maximize their leadership and governance, while maintaining a focus on student achievement


Parents expect their children to receive the best quality education within the school system. Parents rely on the schools not only for educating their children, but also for providing a safe and dependable environment for students to learn. Parents want to assume that the teachers are both knowledgeable and equipped with the most effective skills to use within the classroom and that their children are provided with an effective learning environment. These skills must continue to be strengthened through professional development.

While some schools and community agencies may provide training for parents of school-age children or parenting education, schools generally do not provide professional development for parents and focus instead on professional development to improve students’ education.

Our goal is to provide a curriculum that will continue to educate and enhance the skills of professionals, provide a free learning environment for the non-traditional student, and encourage all students to pursue their endeavors.   Our vision is to provide the tools needed for students to transition into adulthood or transition to the next level of their career.

School Support Personnel

School support personnel represent all districts. They bring perspective to committee work and have the ability to consult with professional development staff on the scheduling of workshops to meet the needs of support staff to include training topics, technology programs, standards of practice, and human resources and business office procedureS

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