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Paige Announces Five Model Professional Development Programs

This week, at the Department of Education's Improving America's Schools Conference, Secretary of Education will formally announce the winners of this year's National Awards Program for Model Professional Development. And the winners are ... Included: Link to information about how your school might apply for next year's awards.

U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige recently announced that two schools and three school districts were the winners of the U.S. Department of Education's National Awards Program for Professional Development for their outstanding teacher development programs. The award winners are being featured this week in San Antonio, Texas, at the department's Improving America's Schools Conference.

"We need high-quality teachers in every classroom if we are going to offer every child in this country a high-quality education," Paige said. "Using comprehensive, research-based strategies and methods to better prepare our teachers for the classroom is a wise investment that will reap huge dividends by improving student performance. The programs being honored demonstrate how well-trained teachers will help to ensure that no child is left behind."

The following schools are this year's award recipients:

  • Starlight Elementary School in Watsonville, California
  • Ridge Meadow Elementary School in Ellisville, Missouri
  • North Nodaway Regional School District #6 in Pickering, Missouri
  • North Kansas City School District in Kansas City, Missouri
  • Mesquite Independent School District in Mesquite, Texas

To be recognized, schools and districts demonstrate that their professional development programs result in improved teacher effectiveness and student learning and are consistent with a set of principles for professional development that are based on the best available research and exemplary practice. Winners must have demonstrated that student achievement has increased over three years.

Through this recognition program, these schools can serve as models for others designing strategies to improve teachers' skills and knowledge of subject matter. Developing the skills of teachers and principals plays a critical role in school improvement. High-quality programs include rigorous subject content, effective teaching strategies and school- and district-based supports that ensure the career-long development of teachers.

Public and private schools and districts were eligible to participate in the program, and 19 applied. The department's regional laboratories coordinated a rigorous review process that included a first round of evaluation by a non-federal panel of experts, comprehensive site visits of the most promising applicants, and final review by a seven-member blue-ribbon panel. The panel made recommendations to Secretary Paige, who selected the final honorees.

For more information, see the Department of Education's National Awards Program for Model Professional Development Program Web page.

Article compiled from Department of Education press resources
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