The School District of Palm Beach County, UPD Consulting and Pearson K12 Learning are teaming up to develop and lead an innovative professional learning model to support a new math curriculum for middle school students. The two-year initiative will allow the three entities to create and implement customized professional development that will benefit the district’s middle school math teachers who are in their first four years of teaching.
The partnership, made possible by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Professional Learning Partnerships Initiative, will work to demonstrate that high-quality instructional materials allow teachers to better help students master the skills, knowledge and experiences that will support them in school and in life. However, because the adoption of instructional materials alone is insufficient to ensure that teachers are fully equipped to deliver high-quality instruction that meets individual student learning needs, curriculum must also be accompanied by professional learning opportunities.
The targeted training and support developed by this partnership will help enhance teachers’ instructional skills so that they can more effectively implement Pearson K12’s enVision Florida Mathematics program and will provide a focus on mathematics standards and pedagogy, diversity and equity, and differentiating for the needs of new and beginning teachers. The goals of the grant align with the district’s Five-Year Strategic Plan of bettering the academic gains for its Black, Latino, ELL and low-income students.
“Professional development is critical at every level of a teaching career, and through this partnership, our newest teachers will gain the skills to not only effectively teach the material, but also how to analyze their student outcomes to ensure improvement and equity among their students,” Chief Academic Officer Dr. Glenda Sheffield said.
As part of this partnership, Pearson K12 Learning and UPD will work hand-in-hand with the school district to develop supplementary professional learning content and improved ways of delivering it that will better support novice teachers who are often placed in classrooms serving high concentrations of low-income students.
“We are excited to partner with the School District of Palm Beach County and UPD Consulting to develop and deliver targeted training for new teachers to further improve the educational outcomes of students,” said Heidi Bruhn, Pearson K12 Learning’s vice president of product management and marketing for mathematics. “We appreciate the resources the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has provided to make this happen.”
These services will supplement the existing array of innovative professional services that Pearson K12 Learning already provides the district to help its teachers learn best practices on teaching enVision Florida Mathematics curriculum, including on-site workshops and shoulder-to-shoulder coaching.
UPD Consulting, a change management organization that specializes in providing school districts with guidance and support to transform their operations to improve outcomes, has partnered with the school district on prior projects, including supporting the district’s elementary literacy curriculum implementation through the Gates Foundation’s Florida Implementation Network.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with the School District of Palm Beach County and Pearson K12 Learning on this very exciting work that will enable new teachers to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to ensure that high-quality curriculum, as designed, is what gets delivered, in practice,” said Douglass Austin, president and CEO of UPD Consulting.
Deputy Superintendent Keith Oswald thanked the Gates Foundation for its support.
“We are very honored that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation saw the potential in Palm Beach County schools to embrace a partnership that will undoubtedly lead to better outcomes for all of our students and prepare them for post-graduate success,” he said.