Effective professional development for educators was identified as one of the three key components of the Student Success Initiative (SSI), along with effective assessment tools and funding for accelerated instruction for struggling students.
Educator professional development programs may be developed and implemented at the statewide level, regional level (e.g., professional development opportunities made available through the 20 regional education service centers), or the local level (e.g., training provided through the school district central office or the campus).
Rider 42 Professional Development Academies
The Rider 42 Professional Development (PD) Academies are part of a comprehensive initiative directed by the 81st Texas Legislature to support local education agencies in ensuring students meet or exceed standards of proficiency in English language arts (ELA), mathematics, science, social studies, Career and Technical Education (CTE), and the English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS).
In 2009, the 81st Texas Legislature, through Rider 42 (General Appropriations Act, Article III) authorized the development, implementation and evaluation of the Rider 42 PD Academies and an online Platform, Project Share, that extends professional development opportunities to Texas teachers.
The first Rider 42 PD Academies were implemented during the summer of 2010. A second series will be implemented during the summer of 2011, as funding remains available. Additional information about the Rider 42 PD Academies and Project Share can be found on the Project Share website.
Texas Principal Excellence Program (TxPEP, formerly School Leadership Pilot Program (SLPP))
The Texas Principal Excellence Program (TxPEP) (formerly known as the School Leadership Pilot program (SLPP)), is intended to improve student academic achievement, graduation rates, and teacher retention at campuses rated academically unacceptable. TEA contracted with American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC) with the University of Houston Victoria to develop and implement this program, which was launched in 2007.
Beginning Teacher Induction and Mentoring Program (BTIM)
BTIM is a professional development program launched in Fall 2007, designed to increase the retention rate of 1st and 2nd year teachers and to provide support and training for mentor teachers. Additional information can be found at TEA's BTIM page.
Texas Adolescent Literacy Academies (TALA)
TALA is a professional development program designed to develop and make available reading academies for teachers who provide instruction to students at the sixth through eighth grade levels in order to improve middle school students’ academic literacy. TALA training of trainers began Spring 2008 with TALA for 6th grade teachers launching in Summer 2008 and TALA for 7th and 8th grade teachers launching in Summer 2009. The program is intended to foster a school-wide approach to academic literacy and, ultimately, to improve middle school students’ academic achievement. Additional information can be found at the TALA website.
Mathematics Instructional Coaches Pilot Program (MIC)
MIC's purpose is to provide assistance in developing the content knowledge and instructional expertise of teachers who instruct students in mathematics at the middle school, junior high school, or high school level. The goal is to identify coaching models and programs that enhance teacher performance. Eligible school districts or campuses have at least 65% economically disadvantaged student populations and a 60% or below passing rate for all students on the TAKS-Math test during each of the three preceding school years. Grant awards may be used to support intensive instructional coaching and professional development from a service provider approved by the commissioner of education. Additional Information can be found at TEA's MIC page.
Educator Professional Development Programs at the Local and Regional Levels
In 2005 the 79th Texas Legislature required TEA to collect data on the implementation of educator professional development programs at the local and regional levels. An evaluation of these activities was conducted by Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL), Academic Information Management (AIM), and Applied Research Solutions (ARS). This study included expert reviews of promising professional development programs, surveys of district administrators and teachers, and an assessment of teachers’ perceptions of their access to high quality professional development opportunities available at local or regional locations. A report on the best practices of these professional development programs was submitted to the Legislature in December 2006.
Student Success Initiative: Teacher Reading and Math Academies and Science Teacher Quality Grants
SSI was implemented by the 76th Texas Legislature in 1999 and updated/modified by the 81st Legislature. In 2004, three specific statewide initiatives (the Teacher Reading Academy, Teacher Mathematics Academy, and Science Teacher Quality Grants) that provided training to teachers were evaluated on behalf of TEA by the Gibson Consulting Group, the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL), and Resources for Learning (RFL). Additional information can be found at TEA's SSI page.