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Professional Growth

Top Emerging Trends for K-12 Professional Development in 2024

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Professional development (PD) in K-12 education is undergoing a significant transformation. Districts across the nation are adopting innovative strategies to boost teacher engagement and retention. Our recent K-12 Lens Survey, which collected insights from over 700 administrators, reveals emerging 2024 trends and actionable opportunities in professional learning. These findings highlight the importance of personalization, effective methods like mentoring, and the need to address instructional shifts to create more engaging and impactful PD experiences. 

Key Professional Learning Priorities 

Districts are focusing on several shifts in professional learning: 

Despite these priorities, only 42% of respondents reported that their PD systems can facilitate personalized professional learning based on evaluation results and teacher goals. This gap highlights a significant opportunity for districts to align evaluation and professional learning systems to enhance personalization and engagement. 

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Most Engaging Professional Learning Methods 

Nearly 80% of districts believe that coaching and mentoring are the most effective PD offerings for supporting teacher retention. Additionally, coaching and professional learning communities are seen as the most engaging forms of professional development. 

Instructional Shifts and Opportunities 

The survey identified several instructional changes presenting new opportunities for professional development: 

  • Digital Tools: Increased use of technology, such as 1:1 device programs and interactive boards. 
  • Student-Centered Approaches: Active engagement through real-world connections and diverse methods for demonstrating competency. 
  • Classroom Management: Addressing new challenges due to changes in student behavior. 
  • Social-Emotional Learning: The need for flexible curricula to address students’ social-emotional needs. 

Only 41% of districts have automated processes for managing professional learning, which indicates a need for more efficient systems. One respondent noted, “We have to input our own professional development hours, and the system is laborious.” 

How Hanover County Public Schools is offering teachers a voice in their learning.

From Data to Action: Strategies for Improvement 

To address these challenges and improve teacher engagement and retention, districts should consider: 

  1. Integrating Teacher Evaluation and PD Systems: This can enable personalized learning opportunities, leading to higher engagement and better classroom practice transfer. 
  2. Emphasizing Coaching and Professional Learning Communities: These methods are particularly impactful for boosting engagement and retention. 
  3. Focusing on Relevant Professional Development: Addressing new instructional shifts such as increased technology use and student-centered learning models. 

By addressing these challenges and leveraging growth opportunities, districts can ensure a well-supported and effective teaching workforce, ultimately benefiting student learning outcomes. Embracing the top emerging trends in K-12 professional development for 2024—such as personalized learning, integrated evaluation systems, and impactful coaching methods—will empower educators. This transformation leads to improved classroom practices, enhanced teacher satisfaction, and significant gains in student achievement, positioning districts at the forefront of educational excellence. 

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Erin Shelton

Erin is a writer and member of the award-winning content team at Frontline Education. With experience in education,
she is passionate about creating content that helps to support and impact the growth of both students and teachers.