Key Action II.5

Determine the plan for training teachers and leaders

What is the goal?

The goal of this key action is to provide teachers and leaders with upfront and ongoing training experiences that deepen their knowledge of how the curriculum works and set the foundation for strong instruction. This key action completes your planning for professional learning that you started in Key Actions II.3 and II.4. Your systems for supporting planning, coaching, and training should align and form coherent supports for teachers.

Why this key action is important

Training teachers and leaders on the curriculum is critical. To be clear: it is absolutely necessary, but not sufficient. Training is not a discrete step, and checking this box will not lead to home-run implementation. However, skipping this step is  guaranteed to result in problems. This is the last big content step in Phase II. You tackle this last so that you can incorporate all of the training needs you identified across the other key actions as you prepare to launch. This is your chance to organize and prioritize those needs and develop your game plan. Remember, you are not training teachers on how to use materials. You are training them on the vision of great instruction and expectations for students and how these materials can serve that vision. To be inspired by the vision, the training you provide is going to have to anchor to an inspiring vision of expectations for students and effective instructional practice.

Explanation of language

We use the word training in this key action even though we know that there are strong opinions about words like training versus professional development versus professional learning. We use the word training because this key action really is about the specific training (delivery of knowledge and skill) as opposed to the broad umbrella of professional learning, which would include coaching and collaborative planning. We heard from early implementers, quite consistently, that some straight-up training is important. If this is one of those words that feels restrictive, remember to read the coaching and planning steps to find practices that reflect a broad view of professional learning.


guiding questions

notes & resources

  • 1.
    What time do we currently have in place for training across the year? Who attends?
  • 2.
    How is training time typically split between district-led and school-led?
  • 3.
    Do we have additional time for any particular groups of teachers (i.e. new teachers, new to grade, etc.)?
  • 4.
    Who decides how to use the time? Who typically facilitates?
  • 5.
    Do we have additional incentives or point structures that encourage independent study?
  • Take stock on your current approach so that you know what time you can leverage.
  • The answers to these questions may vary by school.
  • 1.
    What are the built-in training and professional development resources that come with the curriculum?
  • Most materials come with an overwhelming number of resources and support tools, which are great (and they’re what you’re paying for)! However, implementation leaders often skip right to spending more money for training before understanding what they have already purchased and what they have available to them.
  • Don’t forget to explore other options, such as videos and support tools, that other groups may have created, especially if you are using an open source set of materials.
  • 2.
    What recommendations does the developer make about upfront or ongoing training?
  • 3.
    What trainings are offered by the developer or other organizations? What would those trainings cover?
  • 4.
    Are there educators in our area that have used these materials?
  • 1.
    What are the key training needs that each group has?
  • 2.
    What are the priorities for for upfront training? What are the priorities for each group for training over time?
  • Do not start the training list with the curriculum demonstration needs. Start with the vision that led you to select these materials in the first place. Your materials are in service of your vision and expectations for students.
  • The resource Common Materials and Vision Training Needs lists common training needs for vision and curriculum implementation.
  • Look back at the training needs you surfaced in all previous steps.
  • 3.
    Who are all the groups that need training on the instructional vision, expectations for students, and materials design across our system?
  • Be sure to include all educators that support all students that will use these materials, including a plan for any teachers that will start the year late.
  • The resource Groups Who Will Need Training is a list of educator groups that you can use to make sure you have thought through all potential groups.
  • 1.
    What are our options for who facilitates the training?
  • 2.
    What is our budget?
  • 3.
    What are the overarching priorities for training for each group?
  • 4.
    What is our training plan?
  • 5.
    What is the high-level agenda for each group (upfront and over time)?
  • Get clear on your prioritized needs first (in the previous step) in order to go into this step knowing what you need to invest in most.
  • The resource Materials Training Options gives an overview of common training options.
  • Consider the key messages that you want each group to hear during training. Be sure to include training on the vision for excellent instruction so that each group is able to see how the materials support the vision.
  • 6.
    Who is responsible for supporting quality content across all training?
  • 7.
    Who is responsible for the logistics?
  • 8.
    What is the review process for materials that are created in-house?
  • 9.
    What is our agenda for each group?
  • 10.
    What do all facilitators need to know about our vision and core beliefs in order to reinforce the right messages?
  • Your culture is a product of cumulative experience. If every session reinforces the same vision and core beliefs, they will be much more likely to add up to a clear picture of success. The only way to make this happen is to tell everyone the vision and core beliefs you want them to reinforce (and follow up to make sure they do). Bookend any trainings you are sending teams to with opening and closing time to connect it to the big picture and vision for excellent instruction.
  • 11.
    What are the objectives of the session?
  • 12.
    How will we know if participants have mastered the training objectives?
  • 13.
    What is the learning plan?
  • 14.
    Have we attended to adult learning needs and kept the design engaging?
  • 15.
    What materials and technology will we need?
  • 16.
    How will we collect data at the end of the session?
  • This set of guiding questions should be considered for each training session.
  • The resource Email for External Trainers is a sample email template that you can adapt and use to give any external trainer context on your needs and priorities.
  • Trainings are measured in various ways, such as survey data, work products (i.e. student work review or an annotated lesson), knowledge assessments, or transference to practice. Be sure to determine your measures for success up front and add them to your progress monitoring notes in your Implementation Plan.
  • 1.
    In this key action, we determined our training plan. What are the next steps that we need to take based on the decisions we made together?
  • 2.
    What can we add to our roles and responsibilities tracker based on the work we outlined in this key action?
  • 3.
    What adjustments do we need to make to our plans for supporting, planning, or coaching based on our training plan?
  • Go back to your Implementation Plan to track your next steps and update the roles and responsibilities tracker with any additions.
  • Now that you have finished your plans for the Three Pillars of Teacher Support, stop to make sure that the plans are aligned and provide coherent support for teachers.
  • 4.
    What will each identified stakeholder group want to know about the training plan?
  • 5.
    How do we plan to proactively communicate this information? Who will deliver the communication? When?
  • 6.
    What questions do we expect we will get? How will we answer them?



Mini Workbook for This Key Action

Download Workbook II.5