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Abstract

In today’s world of accountability and budgeting constraints, schools are examining how they get the most “bang for their buck” in the area of professional development experiences. Professional development has traditionally been used to keep teachers and administrators abreast of current teaching strategies. In using the traditional model of professional development, typically the school or district would have a speaker, who was knowledgeable on a random topic of education, come in and conduct a one-day seminar. More often than not, there was little accountability to this traditional model; little if any data was taken to see if the knowledge obtained from the seminar was used, and if used, was it effective. However, in today’s era of high stakes testing, schools are held accountable for students’ scores. Schools that do not meet standards set by the state risk losing precious funding that is necessary for the school’s daily operation. Current funding trends are moving towards meeting state and federal deficits by reducing education budgets. Facing further losses in funding, schools must use wisely the meager money they have for professional development.

Concurrently, as the landscape of school needs have changed to meet the new era of accountability and budgeting constraints, so have professional development experiences. Professional development has come to mean a broad spectrum of experiences that enhance teacher knowledge and pedagogy. Professional development is moving more towards a data-driven active entity model that is never stagnant and ever evolving. Within the spectrum of professional development experiences lies action research and data analysis.

 

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