Continuing the Career Pathway – Birth Through Pre-K

At the beginning of each school year, teachers are provided a Needs Assessment Survey to determine interests and needs. Based on the results of the Needs Assessment Survey, classroom observations, teacher, classroom, and student data, and respective program level data, professional learning opportunities are developed, implemented, and evaluated.

The District’s Prekindergarten Programs are dedicated to the ongoing process of making teaching and learning visible. “Visible teaching and learning occurs when learning is the explicit goal, when it is appropriately challenging, when the teacher and student both seek to ascertain whether and to what degree the challenging goal is attained, when there is deliberate practice aimed at attaining mastery of the goal, when there is feedback given and sought, and when there are active, passionate and engaging people participating in the act of learning” (Hattie, 2009). To bridge the gap between knowledge and application, and integrate new ideas into practice, teachers need ongoing implementation support that includes opportunities to deepen their understanding and address problems associated with practice (Learning Forward, 2012). 

Coaching and Support

Teachers are supported through a data-driven coaching model that utilizes a strengths-based approach to improving instruction in the classroom. The coaching model supports the reflective process that professionals need to translate the theories and information learned through ongoing learning into best practices in the classroom setting. The coach’s role is to facilitate reflection and next steps. The teacher’s role is to grow in the capacity to reflect on practice, plan, and implement change. This cyclical, reflective process for individualized professional development is extremely effective, as it ensures quality teaching and learning practices are implemented with accuracy and result in positive outcomes for children and families. Sustainability and the building of teacher leadership capacity are supported through the model (National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning, 2012).

Professional Learning Communities

Strong collaborative relationships coupled with the sharing of effective teaching strategies are built through connected and sustained learning in the PLCs (NSDC, 2009). Pre-K teachers participate in school-based Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) to identify and focus on improving their own teaching practices and provide an opportunity to examine the impact that high-quality strategies have on student learning. Through exploration of individual and collective experiences, teachers actively construct, analyze, evaluate, and synthesize knowledge and practices (Learning Forward, 2012).


Coherence is important to the successful implementation of professional learning across the various knowledge and skills that teachers possess. It ensures that professional learning is a part of a seamless process that begins in the preparation program and continues throughout an educator’s career and aligns tightly with the expectations for effectiveness defined in performance standards and student learning outcomes (Learning Forward, 2012). Professional learning developers and facilitators ensure the process of ongoing learning is coherent and directly relates to developmentally appropriate practice, while linking deliberate outcomes to the building of the foundation skills needed to be successful with the Florida Standards. Sustaining this focus from Pre-K and into K-3 is critical to positive student outcomes moving forward, and to ensuring students are well on their well to college and career readiness.

All professional learning courses are aligned to state and program standards, the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework, Florida Standards, and the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices. Coaching is conducted as part of the implementation of new knowledge. Additional professional development topics are developed based on student and teacher data, program self-assessment. The implementation and resulting effectiveness of the new knowledge on the teacher’s instructional practice and student achievement is actively monitored. Language and Literacy is integrated into all early learning professional development, as it serves as the critical foundation to future literacy success. The expected outcome of professional learning is changes in educator practice and student learning, as implementation support is sustained over time. The following professional development outline has been developed to support the Infant, Toddler, and Pre-K Teachers, Assistants, and Administrators. Please refer to the Head Start/Early Intervention Master Plan for specific desired outcomes of professional learning activities: