The mission of Professional Development is to support quality teaching that results in student achievement by providing the necessary training for educators to develop and fulfill career and professional needs and goals. Continuous professional development is essential to maintain highly qualified educators committed to serving the educational needs of students.
The Utah State Office of Education provides an array of professional development learning opportunities for teachers, administrators, and other education personnel. Effective professional development is viewed as vital to school success and professional satisfaction. Utah’s schools are currently facing a myriad of challenges such as closing the achievement gap and meeting rigorous academic standards. Professional development is critical to assisting educators to meet these and many other ongoing challenges.
Quality professional development must be enduring and recursive. It must be active, coherent, and exist in an intellectual environment where ideas can be exchanged and explicitly connected to not only an educator’s content area or classroom, but to the bigger picture of school improvement. Professional development should assist teachers in deepening and contextualizing their content knowledge, as well as helping them to better respond to individual student needs. Professional development should be collaborative, lead to a common school or organizational vision, and result in instructional improvement and increased student achievement.