ESSA & The Next Generation of Professional Development

With the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), new expectations around "professional development" will have an impact on schools across the country. ESSA includes the phrase "professional development" seventy-nine times, calling for improved teacher training in nearly every aspect of curriculum and instruction.

At Hamilton County Educational Service Center (HCESC), we know the unique challenges that face public, charter, and private schools.

That’s why we offer customized professional development solutions rather than trying to sell an off-the-shelf, cookie-cutter approach. ESSA states professional development activities should be "sustained (not stand-alone, 1-day, or short term workshops), intensive, collaborative, job-embedded, data-driven, and classroom-focused."

"The ESSA descriptions really embody the spirit of what we are about," explained Vikki Clemons, Executive Director of Instructional Services for HCESC. "We believe in partnering with our schools to meet their needs, and we have a long history of providing the kind of intensive, collaborative, job-embedded, data-driven, and classroom-focused PD called for by this updated legislation." Clemons invites schools and districts to review the HCESC Service Catalogue for an idea about just some of the things we can offer.

HCESC is built around platforms specializing in different areas of expertise.

Renita Heideman, Director of Technology for the HCESC Technology Assistance Group (TAG), says her platform’s skill sets align perfectly with ESSA. "This legislation calls for schools to integrate technology into curriculum and instruction," she explained. "Our consultants have expertise in blended learning, flipped classrooms, authentic learning, utilization of mobile devices, Google Apps for Education, and more. We can help with any aspect of technology integration." Schools and districts interested specifically in technology can visit TAG online.

"ESSA also emphasizes the need for quality professional development to improve the teaching and learning," explained Bills Sears, Director of Instructional Services. "The legislation explicitly talks about needs in literacy, numeracy, remediation, and more. Making sure every child succeeds is no small undertaking, but our instructional consultants have both the breadth and depth of knowledge to support teachers and leaders to assure student success."

"ESSA articulates a new path moving forward, the expectation that all students are prepared for college and career," said Sally Demmler, Director of Intervention and Support Services. "A path allowing us the flexibility to partner with teachers to develop new ideas and innovations specifically targeting students who have fallen behind." Kathy Tirey, Director of Early Learning Services, agrees. "I’m really interested in ESSA’s call for creating plans to transition students from early childhood education programs into elementary schools. While people generally think of interventions with regard to older students, we need to be intentional in how we work on issues related to school readiness in partnership with our early childhood community."

Paul Smith, Director of the Center for Urban Educational Services, agreed. "To really push for the kind of instructional and cultural changes ESSA challenges us to solve, schools are going to need to re-imagine their approach to professional development," he explained. "We are ready to partner at the level of districts, buildings, and individual classrooms to train teachers on how to meet the needs of the next generation of learners."

Solving your challenges, simplifying your life.

Clemons invites schools and districts to review the HCESC Service Catalogue for an idea about just some of the things we can offer. "Our goal is to solve your challenges and to simplify your life," concluded Vikki Clemons. "As part of Hamilton County ESC, that commitment is what motivates us. It’s what we do."

Schools interested in learning how HCESC can help them move into the next generation of education under ESSA should contact Vikki Clemons at 513.674.4212, or at vikki.clemons@hcesc.org.