The Knox County Schools Professional Learning Framework reflects the guiding principles that we believe are foundational to providing a meaningful and impactful professional learining experience for Knox County educators. This framework will enable us to direct and monitor our professional learning systems and structures, balance the needs of the district, our students, and our individual educators, and maintain our commitment to invest in our people as learners and leaders.
In order for professional learning to be meaningful and transfer into practice, it must be seen as coherent. When initiatives that directly impact teachers are aligned to one another, reinforce one another’s effectiveness, and are neither redundant nor contradictory from the perspective of teachers, new learning and the application of new learning can occur. KCS leaders must be committed to strategically narrowing the focus for teacher learning, and aligning district initiatives to support teachers in deeply understanding and applying the skills and capacities needed to support increased student outcomes.
Click the link to learn more about the structure of our District Learning Days, one way Knox County is working to increase the coherence of our learning initiatives.
In order for professional learning to be personally meaningful and impactful, it must also be relevant. Individual teacher learning needs vary based on years of experience, instructional expertise, content area, and grade level. Therefore, professional learning initiatives must support individual needs, reflect individual educator choice, align to current district priorities, and affect positive changes in teacher practice directly and in a timely manner to improve student outcomes.
Click the link to learn more about Personal Learning Hours, the Personal Learning Plan, and our upcoming Micro-Credentialing Pilot, three ways that Knox County is supporting educators' access to meaningful and relevant learning opportunities.
Opportunities for Innovation
Changes in the educational environment and the variety of student and educator needs across a district of Knox County's size requires a flexible and adaptable system for professional learning. In order for professional learning to remain relevant, schools and individual educators must be active participants in determining the “what” and “how” of professional learning according to their needs. We must also encourage and highlight effective school and teacher developed professional learning practices to influence our collective understanding of this work. Clear, ongoing, and open communication must be maintained to ensure our professional learning system remains responsive and adaptive to educator needs and fosters a culture of growth and shared ownership.
Click the link to learn more about the Challenge-Based Personalized Learning Initiative, one way Knox County is encouraging schools to address their own learning needs around the district priority of personalized student learning.
Teacher LeadershipTeacher leadership is crucial to professional learning on a variety of levels. Formal leadership roles like instructional coaches, master teachers, and lead teachers provide strong examples of teacher leadership focused on peer support. These leaders provide job-embedded professional learning opportunities for other educators through the modeling of practices, leading PLCs or other professional development sessions, and formal and informal coaching conversations. Other less formal leadership roles call on teachers to share their classroom expertise with others in their building and lead collaborative structures as grade level and content leaders or mentors. Outside the school setting, the district relies on teachers fill a crucial role as content experts and session providers at District Learning Days and in a variety of after hours PD sessions. Finally, an effective professional learning system will encourage teachers and other educators to assume a leadership role with their own learning, supporting them to pursue the professional goals they identify to best support their students.In recognition of the value that educator experience brings to our professional learning system, we remain committed to explore new ways that teachers can lead and bring their classroom expertise to a larger stage, supporting others to grow and develop around our strategic priorities.Click the link to learn more about the Early Literacy Exemplar Teacher Model, one new way Knox County is relying on teachers' classroom expertise to drive district professional learning and improvement.