HMH Customer Spotlight: Four Essential PD Tips from Sapulpa School District, Okla.

It’s no secret that back to school season is a hectic time for students and teachers alike, but it is also a time to reflect on what can make the school year as successful as possible. Today, we hear from Donia Doudican, Digital Curriculum Project Manager for Sapulpa Public Schools, who was recently featured as one of four educators sharing professional learning best practices in Tech & Learning Magazine.  Here, Donia shares her top four professional development tips:

  1. Break it up

It’s unrealistic for anyone to absorb a lot of miscellaneous information all at once; you can only effectively implement so much training at a time.  Consider allotting specific times to focus on certain aspects of your PD program. Divide and conquer the material, making it digestible.

Tailor PD to teachers’ interests and needs

If we know differentiation is what is best for the student, why wouldn't we think it is best for teachers?  One size doesn’t fit all, but the desire for more PD clearly exists there. One way to meet this demand is to match the PD available to your teachers’ interests and needs.

Go digital!

Lots of PD is now available online, 24/7. Online PD is great for several of reasons:  it creates independent learners; it’s individualized, allowing you learn at your own pace; and it lets you go back and review anytime. Plus, there’s no hassle of scheduling.

Have a coach or instructor

Coaches or instructors keep professional learning training on track by periodically following up with educators 1:1. If hiring a coach is not obtainable, consider assigning one person with a passion for professional development and guidance as a coach to monitor the progress of your PD sessions.


Want more information on PD? Dr. Matt Larson, President Elect, The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, wrote about what makes for effective professional learning for The Spark. For PD tools, The International Center for Leadership and Education provides resources for professional development.