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Course Development & Goals

We intentionally plan and build our course offerings to solve real problems in education. We regularly update our existing catalog and develop new courses based on schools’ needs, trends in K–12 education, and continual feedback from educators like you.

Our course writers are content experts with extensive subject matter credentials and classroom experience. They work closely with our development team to build an experience that is relevant, highly practical, and aligned with industry standards. Courses are not just filled with innovative techniques, but also illustrate how to apply these tools in practice. With each course, you’ll develop tangible products such as lesson plans or assessments that you can use immediately in your classroom.

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Authentic & Personalized

Every grade and subject area—and indeed, every individual teacher—has unique needs. That’s why we’ve designed our courses to put you in control, allowing you to actively engage in the learning process, set goals, and direct your learning outcomes. You’ll determine the specific approach to the coursework and assignments by making choices relevant to your personal life experiences, professional role, and school environment.

Courses also include authentic assessments that mirror the type of work you do in the classroom. With case studies, active reading exercises, and time for developing student-facing activities, our courses provide consistent opportunities for you to apply concepts in a manner that uniquely matters to you.

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Why Online?

All courses are online and self-paced, meaning you can complete your work at home, on your planning period, over break—whenever and wherever works best for your schedule. You are not required to participate in any synchronous, real-time conversations or activities, giving you maximum flexibility.

Online courses include a variety of web-based resources in addition to traditional texts, allowing us to offer more dynamic sources of information in a timelier fashion.

Additional benefits of web-based resources

  • Expands access to learning

    You can access materials at any time and enjoy unlimited access even after you complete the course.

  • Meets more learning styles

    Web-based resources allow for a much more immersive experience by incorporating video, audio, and interactive content, rather than just text in a book.

  • Promotes easier sharing

    Web-based resources are already in a shareable format, allowing you to easily pass on what you’re learning to students and colleagues. We even offer parent-focused resources that you can share with students’ families, extending your classroom strategies into the home!

  • Allows for quick circulation

    With web-based resources, we can quickly curate and share the most timely and relevant information in K–12 education, without having to wait on textbook or journal publishing timelines.

  • Increases diversity of perspectives

    The use of web-based resources provides a wider array of perspectives on the subject matter.

  • Exposes teachers to new resources

    Our courses often introduce educators to websites they did not know about, opening a whole new repository of resources you can incorporate into your craft.

  • Allows for frequent updates

    Unlike textbooks and other static sources of information, web-based resources can be improved quickly based on educators’ input and feedback.

  • Expands ability to align with different guidelines and standards

    Online resources allow us to align course content with a variety of federal, state, and technological guidelines, frameworks, and standards (e.g., CCSS, ESSA, Danielson, ISTE, P21).

  • Meets expectations of K-12 students

    The use of web-based resources more closely reflects the needs and expectations of students in the classroom.

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Professional Learning Community

Teaching can often feel isolating, especially when you are in a rural setting, are teaching online, or are the only teacher in your grade or subject area. That’s why all of our learners receive lifetime access to our online professional learning community (PLC), which connects teachers from around the country with one another. This forum is devoted to helping teachers learn from one another, share resources and lesson plans, discuss ideas, and meet other experienced educators in a friendly, interactive environment.

You can read or post to existing discussion forum threads; ask questions or seek advice; share websites, files, images, and videos; and easily access an ever-growing database of relevant resources. Course instructors also highly recommend that you post portions of your assignments here to diversify the feedback and input you receive about your coursework.

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Facilitation & Feedback

Our courses are facilitated by instructors who are subject matter experts in their fields. With proven track records of supporting teachers across content areas and grade levels, our instructors guide you through your course by answering questions, offering detailed feedback on assignments, and more. Instructors have a deep understanding of national standards such as the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, and feedback is always constructive, research-based, and thorough.

Instructors are selected for their excellence in teaching as well as their commitment to providing meaningful professional development for K–12 professionals. They are seasoned classroom educators who are highly qualified and passionate about learning. In addition to their knowledge of the unique subject matter of a course, they must meet strict credential and in-classroom tenure requirements.

All Advancement Courses’ instructors must:

  • Provide detailed, subject-specific feedback that aligns with course- and assignment-level objectives. Feedback is always positive, highly supportive, constructive, and rubric driven.
  • Demonstrate mastery of and comfort working within the Danielson Framework.
  • Show impeccable written communication skills and the ability to support educators tactfully and effectively.
  • Respond in a timely manner and bring in relevant outside information, including applicable standards, pedagogy, and resources.
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Course Quality & Outcomes

Our course design focuses on clearly aligning course objectives, assessments, supporting materials, and feedback. In other words, our goal is to make sure PD is something you will meaningfully use in your role—not just another box to check off. Armed with a deep knowledge of online instruction and adult learning theory, we use the following principles to ensure course material is relevant to your unique role and experience level:

  • Universal Design for Learning: We provide you with multiple means of representation, action, expression, and engagement.
  • Adaptability for different roles and school environments: Courses encourage you to actively engage in the learning process and make choices relevant to the learning outcomes and to your own professional experiences. You can then determine what approach to the coursework is most relevant to you, depending on your specific role and environment.
  • Practical, meaningful application: The structure of our courses drives you to make practical applications of the course content in a way that’s most relevant to you, while also using your own experiences to frame that application.
  • Continual evaluation: All courses contain an end-of-course evaluation that we use to benchmark trends in the learning experience so we can make sure course materials drive student outcomes and excellent teaching practices.

Our courses contain the following activities and assessments to help you learn key concepts:

  • Dynamic online reading, viewing, and listening resources
  • A variety of formative and summative assessments
  • Ready-to-use classroom handouts, activities, and planning tools
  • Discussion forums to facilitate peer-to-peer engagement
  • A final project that requires you to create an activity or resource you can use in your professional setting

The course facilitator guides you through connecting course concepts to your professional goals and improving student achievement. You’ll work on their final project throughout the course, receiving feedback from peers and the facilitator and reflecting on your learning at key checkpoints. The facilitator grades all summative assessments using a rubric that evaluates not only whether you understand course concepts, but also whether you can apply the concepts in the classroom.

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Focus on Student Success

Fostering student success in both academics and social-emotional growth is a major focus of all our courses. Our courses are filled with strategies, techniques, and activities that are directly tied to improving student achievement in the classroom.

Many professional development courses address special student populations by tacking on a section at the end; however, we believe that knowledge of these populations is integral to all subject areas and grade levels. That’s why our courses include direct strategies for working with these exceptional students (special needs, English language learners, at-risk students, and gifted and talented students).

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Dual Enrollment & Content Area Courses

For educators wishing to teach dual or concurrent enrollment courses, regional accreditors like the Higher Learning Commission require teachers to (a) earn 18 graduate-level credit hours in their content area and (b) have a master’s degree in any content area. In addition, many states and districts are now requiring teachers to earn graduate credit in their content area to maintain their licensure or advance their salary.

Our content area courses allow you to get certified to teach dual or concurrent enrollment credit courses and meet your state or district’s requirements for content area credit.

The main difference between our content area courses and our traditional pedagogy-focused courses is how you spend your application time. In pedagogy-focused PD, the emphasis is on applying coursework directly to your role and practice as a classroom teacher or school administrator. However, our content area courses use more traditional assessment methods, meaning your application time is spent on reading and viewing content, additional discussion questions, and more written expectations.

For example, our English content area courses provide opportunities to:

  • Read a variety of literary works of graduate-level rigor
  • Practice analyzing and discussing literature through the lens of genre, culture, etc.
  • Exercise your writing skills through guided notetaking, literary research, and composing different types of essays

These application exercises give you a chance to immerse yourself exclusively in your chosen subject area, broadening and deepening your knowledge of the finer points of the field.

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