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. Depending on your needs, you can train your staff in as little as eight hours with our short courses, or delve into complex topics in our longer ones.
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, teachers develop tangible products such as lesson plans or assessments that they can use immediately in their classrooms.Back to Top
Designed for Teacher Buy-In
Every grade and subject area—and indeed, every individual teacher—has unique needs. That’s why it can be so difficult to find professional development that both is a good fit for a school or district’s improvement plans AND teachers are excited about.
We design our courses with both sides of the equation in mind. School leaders set the overall agenda by assigning a specific course or set of courses to teachers. Then once they start the course, teachers take ownership of their learning by setting goals and tailoring learning outcomes to what will help them in their specific classroom. Teachers create a personalized approach to the coursework and assignments by making choices relevant to their goals and interests.
Courses also include authentic assessments that mirror the type of work teachers do in the classroom. With case studies, active reading exercises, and time for developing student-facing activities, our courses provide consistent opportunities for teachers to show what they’re learning in a way that translates to meaningful results for their school and district.Back to Top
All courses are online and self-paced, meaning you don’t have to disrupt classroom teaching hours to offer quality PD. You can use courses to replace in-person PD days, allowing teachers to complete content at a time that fits their schedule, or you can use the material as part of your regular staff meetings or trainings. The asynchronous nature of our courses also gives space for critical reflection on more complex topics such as diversity, equity, and inclusion.
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
Teachers can access materials at any time and enjoy unlimited access even after they 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 teachers to easily pass on what they’re learning to students and colleagues. We even offer parent-focused resources that teachers can share with students’ families, extending their 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 they can incorporate into their 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.
Professional Learning Community
Teachers can often feel isolated, especially when teaching in a rural setting, when teaching online, or when they’re the only teacher in their 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.
Teachers 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 our learners post portions of their assignments here to broaden the feedback and input they receive about their coursework.Back to Top
Facilitation and Feedback
Our 8-hour online continuing education model is designed to help schools and districts deliver targeted training to a large number of educators in a short time frame. These nonfacilitated, self-paced courses include self-reflection activities, fully automated assessments, and optional mini-projects to help educators apply key concepts to their individual practice while also engaging in the same continuing education experience as their peers.
Schools can choose to use the content for district- or school-scheduled professional development days, or assign educators to complete it individually or in professional learning communities at their own pace. The condensed, focused nature of the content makes it easy for teachers to implement strategies right away, allowing school leaders to see and measure success in a matter of days.
15-, 30-, and 45-Hour Courses
Our 15-, 30-, and 45-hour 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 learners through their courses 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 timely manner and bring in relevant outside information, including applicable standards, pedagogy, and resources.
Course Quality and 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 teachers will meaningfully use in their 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 every teacher’s unique role and experience level:
- Universal Design for Learning: We provide learners with multiple means of representation, action, expression, and engagement.
- Adaptability for different roles and school environments: Courses encourage learners to actively engage in the learning process and make choices relevant to the learning outcomes and to their own professional experiences. Learners can then determine what approach to the coursework is most relevant to them, depending on their specific role and environment.
- Practical, meaningful application: The structure of our courses drives learners to make practical applications of the course content in a way that’s most relevant to them, while also using their 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.
Now let’s look at the activities and assessments our courses use to reinforce teachers’ learning.
These nonfacilitated, self-paced courses contain concept practice questions, formative reflection questions, and optional mini-projects to help learners reflect on the material and think through ways they can apply the principles in their classroom. Course participants must receive a score of 100% on all activities before successfully completing the course. This ensures that teachers can take the time they need to master the content while also holding them accountable for doing so.
15-, 30-, and 45-Hour Courses
These facilitated, self-paced courses contain:
- 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 educators to create an activity or resource they can use in their professional setting
The course facilitator guides learners through connecting course concepts to their professional goals and improving student achievement. Learners work on their final project throughout the course, receiving feedback from peers and the facilitator and reflecting on their learning at key checkpoints. The facilitator grades all summative assessments using a rubric that evaluates not only whether learners understand course concepts, but also whether they can apply the concepts in the classroom.
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.
And while many professional development courses may tack on a section at the end, we believe that knowledge of special populations is integral to all subjects and grade ranges. 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).Back to Top