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Red Oak School District

School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC)


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Professional Development Plan


How does the district professional development program include evidence based instructional strategies aligned with the district's student achievement needs and long-range improvement goals?


The Red Oak CSD will focus its professional development activities on the standardization of instructional practices across the district. We will apply Marzano’s Focus Teacher Growth and Evaluation Model to illustrate the breadth of effective instruction, provide focused feedback on teaching and learning and engage in robust professional dialogues.

Our long-term improvement goal is to achieve a more unified vision or common philosophical approach that provides all educators a shared sense of purpose, clarifies roles, responsibilities and expectations, and creates a consistent paradigm or mental model that drives instructional planning and delivery, resource allocation and strategic planning.  We will strive to develop a common vocabulary that enables us to engage in more meaningful conversations regarding effective instruction, give and receive feedback, make data-based instructional decisions and align future professional development needs. We will identify, implement, monitor and refine a variety of research-based, high impact instructional strategies aimed at enhancing student outcomes.

The district will implement the Marzano Focus Teacher Growth and Evaluation Model. This model focuses on 23 core competencies, including standards-based planning, standards-based instruction, conditions for learning and professional responsibilities, that are closely aligned with the Iowa Teaching Standards. These competencies are derived from extensive narrative and meta-analytic studies, teacher designed studies, schoolwide studies and teacher evaluation studies. This model, which is based on Marzano’s New Art and Science of Teaching, focuses on student outcomes and specific teacher behaviors. (Correlation studies have indicated positive correlations between the elements of the model and mathematics and reading achievement.) It establishes a clear teaching and learning progression that moves from effective application of instructional strategies to specific student mental modes and processes to enhanced student outcomes. Such outcomes are closely aligned with the district’s student achievement needs and long-range school improvement goals.

Student achievement needs will be met organically by enhancing the quality and reliability of instruction they receive on a daily basis.  Both students and teachers will flourish as we promote a shared understanding of what students should know, develop clear expectations that help educators focus on outcomes and establish a structure that allows for innovation and personalization.


How does the district professional development program include instructional improvement components including student achievement data, analysis, theory classroom demonstration and practice, technology integration, observation, reflection and peer coaching?


Each of these instructional improvement components are embedded in the Marzano framework. They are also reflected in the district’s virtual teaching and learning platform.

Marzano’s standards-based planning process centers on closing the achievement gap using student achievement data, and the use of formative assessments to track student progress and adjust instruction is the first condition of learning identified by the Focus Teacher Growth and Evaluation Model. The majority of Marzano’s core competencies focus on what actually happens in the classroom (i.e., classroom demonstration and practice):

  • Identifying critical content from standards
  • Previewing new content
  • Helping students process new content
  • Reviewing content
  • Helping students practice skills, strategies and processes
  • Helping students examine similarities and differences
  • Helping students examine their reasoning
  • Helping students revise knowledge
  • Helping students engage in cognitively complex tasks

This year, a large focus will be on identifying critical content from the standards. However, the district plans to emphasize all standards-based instructional strategies, along with standards-based planning and essential conditions for learning, to promote consistent instructional language, better pedagogy and enhanced student outcomes.

The Focus Teacher Growth and Evaluation Model accentuates the importance of observation, reflection and coaching as a basis for sustainable improvement. The model features a web-based interactive observation platform that relies on objective criteria and common instructional vocabulary to provide focused feedback and collaboration. The observation platform includes a growth plan component that allows individual teachers to identify strategies or competencies they would like to develop and solicit feedback and coaching from a variety of sources.

Marzano’s model does not emphasize technology integration, but the district is addressing this through a district technology plan that continues to evolve as teachers learn more about effective strategies and tools that will promote a constructivist approach to learning. The technology plan harnesses the power of Marzano’s model and identifies core elements of effective instruction for each year of implementation. Through this plan, it is the district’s goal to leverage technology and digital learning strategies to expand access to high quality, ongoing, job-embedded professional learning opportunities for all.


How does the district professional development program meet the needs of individual teachers and how is it aligned to the Iowa Teaching Standards?


The Marzano Focus Teacher Growth and Evaluation Model meets the needs of individual teachers by simplifying and clarifying the things they need to do to provide more rigorous standards-based instruction. It increases the specificity and accuracy of observations by focusing on student products and results. It incorporates focused feedback and prioritizes alignment with necessary instructional shifts to promote higher order thinking skills, 21st century skills, literacy and other standards-based outcomes.

The iObserve measurement component provides teachers with a dashboard to monitor their progress over time and set individual improvement goals. The system provides a variety of resources, training videos and planning templates to help them refine their skills. The Essentials for Achieving Rigor book series is available to help teachers dig even deeper. The iObservation program also includes reflective (i.e. ORID) question prompts to help educators think more deeply about their practice.

The Marzano model is closely aligned with the Iowa Teaching Standards. The Des Moines Public Schools and Cedar Rapids CSD have completed crosswalk schemas between the Iowa Teaching Standards/Criteria and the Marzano model demonstrating a high level of consistency between the two. The Iowa Department of Education’s Council on Educator Development referenced Marzano’s model several times in its “Recommendations Regarding Educator Standards and Evaluation” (October 31, 2016).


How does the district professional development program include an evaluation component that documents the improvement in instructional practice and the effect on student learning?


iObservation, the measurement component of Marzano’s Focus Teacher Growth and Evaluation Model, will be used to complete classroom walkthroughs and formal observations aimed at providing teachers focused feedback based on objective criteria. The system will allow us to collect, manage and report longitudinal data to assess individual and systemic growth needs. Subsequent professional development will be differentiated according to individual, grade level, building and district priorities.


How does the district professional development program provide access to all teachers in the district to professional development offerings?


All teachers will be trained in Marzano’s Focused model. They will also receive additional training in Marzano’s standards-based planning process. District administrators, mentors, and lead teachers will receive training and coaching in the Focus model and iObservation system.

Teachers and teacher leaders will engage in ongoing dialogues regarding Marzano’s Focus model as part of the district’s performance evaluation system.  Professional development needs will be established and reassessed on a regular basis.


Who are the district's professional development provider(s)?


  • Learning Sciences International personnel
  • District Curriculum Coordinator
  • District Lead Teachers
  • District Mentors
  • District Administrators
  • Green Hills AEA personnel