Home >> A Issues >> Nclbwork >> Focused Professional Development Pays Off

Search form

Focused Professional Development Pays Off

A focused, extensive professional development program gave Berkeley County, South Carolina, schools a head start on NCLB requirements for highly qualified teachers and paraprofessionals. Included: A description of Berkeley County's professional development program.

The Berkeley County (South Carolina) School District is finding that its well-structured and extensive training programs for teachers and paraprofessionals meets and surpasses many of the requirements of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.


The district's professional development program has three purposes: 1) to improve the instructional skills of teachers and paraprofessionals; 2) to assist teachers and paraprofessionals in meeting NCLB requirements; and 3) to provide incentives for teachers to keep them teaching at the schools with the highest poverty levels in the district.

Using a variety of district, state, and federal funds, the training program reached more than 60 teachers in 2002-03 and was so successful that district staff members were invited to share information about the program with other districts, including some in other states. Berkeley County staff members have identified ten leadership components that result in program accountability and that form the foundation of the district's professional development program for teachers and paraprofessionals at Title I schools.

In addition to improving general teaching skills related to curriculum, instruction, and assessment, Berkeley teachers who teach in Title I schools are encouraged and assisted in obtaining advanced degrees and National Board Certification. Tuition costs, textbooks, supplies, mileage reimbursements, and testing fees are covered. A teacher who is nationally certified is provided a yearly stipend of $5,000 as a further incentive for teaching in a rural Title I school. Paraprofessionals receive similar reimbursements to help them obtain the two years of college required by NCLB.

At the same time, state requirements for highly qualified teachers may be difficult to meet for three groups of teachers: primary teachers, special education teachers at middle and high school, and middle school teachers in content areas.


Under the South Carolina AYP model, a school must meet as many as 28 separate measures, including testing participation rates and subgroup performance, in order to make AYP. Of the 610 objectives required of Berkeley County's 34 schools, 479 were met in 2003 for a district determined compliance rate of 78.5 percent. Six schools (17.6 percent) met every standard measured at their site.

Three of the district schools are in the first year of school improvement, and one is in the second year. A total of 28 schools did not make AYP in 2003, but for most schools, the reason they did not make AYP was because of the students with disabilities subgroup. Secondary school performance was lower than that of the other schools; only one of six high schools made AYP.

A major issue in the district is the cost of new facilities because of the immense growth in the county. Berkeley County is involved in a progressive $165 million building program, but enrollment continues to exceed expectations and is projected to double within ten years. If more schools are required to offer school choice because they did not make adequate yearly progress, capacity will be a great concern in the district.

SOURCE: Center on Education Policy

To read the full report, see A Look Inside 33 School Districts: Year 2 of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Share Your NCLB Strategies

Education World's Working With NCLB feature highlights schools or districts with stories to share about how they are implementing requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. If you have a Working With NCLB story to share, send an e-mail toEllen Delisio.