Publication date: September 2017
High-quality professional development offers rural schools an effective way to improve teacher practice as well as to retain teachers and attract new ones. In Oklahoma, where schools—and particularly rural schools—face a protracted teacher shortage, improving professional development opportunities for teachers has become a state priority.
This REL Southwest report draws on data from the statewide Oklahoma Teacher Professional Development survey, completed in 2016. The findings provide an overall picture of teachers’ professional development opportunities in Oklahoma's rural and nonrural schools for the first time.
All teachers, regardless of geographic location, should have access to high-quality resources that help them improve their practice and impact student achievement. The Teacher Professional Development survey data will help shape the trend of professional learning in Oklahoma.
Susan Pinson, Executive Director of Professional Learning, Office of Educator Effectiveness, Oklahoma State Department of Education
These findings suggest that rural teachers face unique barriers to professional development that can lead to professional isolation. One way administrators can address these barriers is by providing online opportunities for collaborative professional learning.
The Oklahoma State Department of Education, in partnership with REL Southwest, is using the findings to inform the statewide implementation of Professional Learning Standards for educators. In addition, the state is working to design and implement an online learning management system for educators, which is both collaborative and teacher driven. The goal is to provide a community space for teachers and administrators to expand their knowledge and skills while collaborating with educators throughout the state.
Research alliance sponsor: Oklahoma Rural Schools
Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest at SEDL • 4700 Mueller Blvd. • Austin, TX 78723 • 800-476-6861 • firstname.lastname@example.org