Report Recommends Giving Teachers Time for Professional Development

As states continue to implement the Common Core and strategies to turn around low-performing schools, schools across the country are taking action to give teachers more time for professional development, a report from the finds.

The report, (76 pages, PDF), examines seventeen high-performing and rapidly improving schools that have expanded their schedules to provide teachers with more time to collaborate with colleagues, analyze student data, create lesson plans, and develop new skills. The study found that the typical American teacher spends 80 percent of his or her time on instruction, while teachers in the seventeen expanded-time schools spend 60 percent on direct instruction and 40 percent on collaboration, coaching, one-on-one support, and other activities.

Funded by the , the report highlights six practices — collaborative lesson planning, embedded professional development, summer training, data analysis, individualized coaching, and peer observation — that have helped schools with expanded schedules support teacher excellence. The report also recommends that schools provide teachers with more time for professional learning; incentivize and fund high-quality school-embedded professional learning communities; and support professional development as part of instructional training related to the Common Core.

"Teachers at the schools we studied have twice as much time as teachers in schools with traditional schedules to spend on activities that are crucial to strengthening teaching and improving student achievement," said NCTL co-founder and president Jennifer Davis. "Teachers need more time to develop new teaching approaches and individualize their instruction. This is particularly important for teachers working in high-poverty schools."

"." Joyce Foundation Press Release 05/14/2014.