A teacher and student stand talking to eachother in a gymnasium while holding hula hoops.

photo: Ben Filio

Innovations in Teacher Practice and Professional Learning: Allyce’s Favorites from the HundrED Spotlight on Pittsburgh

Educators are constantly honing their craft—few professions dedicate as much time as teachers do to continually improving their practice. Professional learning (also called professional development or continuing education) is the process of teachers learning—it’s one of the most important parts of our education system. And there are educators all over the world who are doing amazing things in their classrooms, so I’m encouraged by HundrED’s mission to help them share their practice with peers and colleagues.

I explored the 82 innovations submitted to the HundrED Spotlight on Pittsburgh from my perspective as the Working Group lead for Remake Learning’s Professional Learning Collaborative. I was pleased to see that professional learning and teacher practice were well-represented. The innovations that caught my eye were the ones that focus on equipping teachers to help students learn and thrive. Instead of focusing on equipment or technology products, these innovations are about the building blocks of learning: student-teacher relationships, pedagogical approaches, and curricular models.

Here are my favorites from the HundrED Spotlight submissions—they’re serious proof that the Pittsburgh region believes in the power of teacher practice and professional learning:

Trust in Noticing is an approach for teaching and learning that focuses on noticing as the core of learning by supporting children’s practice with open-ended noticing and growth of intrinsic motivation for learning.

ArtEd21 is reestablishing the art classroom as the creative epicenter of the educational experience, shifting art education curriculum into a schoolwide, interdisciplinary structure.

To help as many school districts as possible adopt best practices in STEM education, the Carnegie Science Center established the Carnegie STEM Excellence Pathway, a free, comprehensive, online strategic planning tool designed specifically for schools and districts.

transformED is a community of educators taking risks and growing their practices together in a safe space that is filled with technology tools and other supports.

Ruth’s Way offers alternatives to facility placement, suspension, and expulsion for teen girls by addressing negative behaviors and equipping girls with the tools to address their own barriers to success.

Collaboration Nation is a research project that seeks to change education by bridging silos through collective, coordinated studies.

How do we encourage, enrich, and empower human relationships around children? Simple Interactions is a practice-based, strengths-focused, and community-driven approach to support helpers who serve children and youth.

Teachers and staff at North Allegheny School District are creating calm, managing stress, and promoting teachable moments through their Mindfulness in the Classroom initiative.

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy helps young people find and follow their passions by building learning pathways made up of supportive adults, relevant programs, local organizations, and hands-on learning opportunities through their Brokered Learning Pathways program.

How can existing school data be used to improve outcomes? Mend the Gap uses automated data processing to create data visualizations that help educators work to close the achievement gap.

The CS-STEM Network provides curriculum and progress tracking tools for teachers offering popular robotics programs, all on a free platform where students can log their work and participate in competitions.

How often does a teacher tell their students to get out of their seats and dance around the classroom? That’s what happens at Turner Intermediate School in Wilkinsburg, where students are exploring topics from poetry to fractions through theater and dance.

At Quaker Valley School District, academic specialists use a model of individualized learning in grades K to 12 to give each and every student access to rigorous, challenging, and rewarding learning experiences.

How can technology and data serve as tools to enhance the voices of teachers and students? The Technology and Data Fluency Project equips teachers with tools and skills to decode and shape our current context, so that they can empower students to do the same.

The Remake Learning Professional Learning Collaborative seeks to ensure that every educator in the Pittsburgh region has access to high-quality, innovative, peer-to-peer professional learning opportunities. We have a lot of work to do, but I’m inspired by what we can learn from the educators who submitted their powerful practices to this Spotlight. You can explore all 82 submissions to the Pittsburgh HundrED Spotlight here.