Professional Development

At Frayser Community Schools, we are committed to excellence, dramatic student performance gains and continual improvement. As such, all leaders, teachers and staff will engage in intensive and embedded professional development (PD). We also acknowledge that transforming a chronically underperforming school presents a significant challenge and requires investment of time and resources to ensure top quality performance. The leadership team, most specifically the DCI with support from Academy Director, will be responsible for designing and implementing PD.

The following are the core components of our PD program. Together, these components will support effective implementation of Frayser Community Schools’ educational program through providing explicit, ongoing training in all aspects of curriculum, instruction, assessment, culture, service learning and college preparation. The intentional balance of whole group, collaborative team time and individual coaching is designed to meet each teacher’s needs and ensure strong student performance.

Summer PD: Our intensive and annual summer staff training will focus on a number of topics:

  • school culture
  • instructional planning and delivery
  • assessment
  • data analysis
  • special populations
  • academic and behavioral supports

During this time, teachers will work together to develop and then refine systems and structures and to practice them before students enter the school building – classroom routines, transitions and hallway expectations. The following are topics we will address:

  • Team building
  • MLK College Prep mission and vision
  • Connection with the Frayser community
    • walks through the Frayser community
    • home visits
    • community events
  • Character education and systems to support positive student behavior
  • Focus and College Prep Academies-vision, ethos, systems and structures
  • Instructional strategies: explicit training in school-wide strategies (BBC, I-We-You, authentic literacy, Socratic Seminar)
  • Literacy Instruction-teaching high school students how to read
  • Curriculum development-use pacing guides to develop unit and lesson plans
  • Data analysis-introduction to tools and templates for analysis and action planning
  • Assessment-development of common formative assessments
  • Student supports
  • Meeting the needs of all students-special education and intervention services
  • Community service and service learning
  • Unique needs of low-income students
  • College readiness program and supports
  • Operation logistics.


Formal PD will occur in weekly staff meetings on Friday afternoons following early dismissal of students. We anticipate that the two-and-one-half hour block on Fridays will be divided between these PD sessions and common planning time (CPT, described below). The weekly, job-embedded PD sessions will center on:

  • best practices
  • systems and school-wide routines
  • analysis of student data.

Topics will be aligned to

our vision instructional design and include ongoing training on key topics (e.g., authentic literacy, Champion strategies, using data to guide instruction, instructional planning using our common lesson structure, and DRIVE/school culture).

We anticipate that two sessions per month will address instructional needs identified from student data and classroom observations. Follow-up observations will align to the training, providing additional guidance to individual teachers based on need.

One session per month will be differentiated, such that teachers working on particular areas (e.g., proactive management, questioning or informal assessment) would participate in small group trainings on that topic led by an Academy Director or DCI.

The fourth session will support unique mission-aligned aspects (e.g., service learning, the MLK theme and the challenge and opportunity of school transformation). The DCI is responsible for planning and coordinating these weekly PD activities.

Data Sessions/Days

At key intervals during the school year aligned to interim assessments, we will hold PD sessions focused on data analysis. During this time, teachers will analyze assessment results in teams and individually, and develop re-teaching plans using a school-wide action planning template.

Common Planning Time

Common planning time (CPT) will also be scheduled for part of our Friday afternoon PD time. We will provide training in effective teamwork and establish collaborative norms during summer PD. Grade level, department and Academy teams will meet on a rotating basis. To ensure accountability and focus, both grade-level and department facilitators will work directly with their Academy Director to plan CPT and maintain and submit meeting minutes to the Academy Director and DCI. In grade-level meetings, teachers will address consistency of academic and behavioral expectations and routines aligned with the MLK College Prep vision, discuss students of concern and ensure horizontal curriculum alignment. In departmental meetings, staff members will share best practices for specific strategies and concepts, such as authentic literacy or informational writing, discuss and analyze ongoing student performance data and ensure vertical curriculum alignment.

Ongoing Instructional Coaching

We believe that providing teachers with ongoing and intensive instructional coaching is a significant lever in supporting growth and effectiveness. This approach is also fully aligned to the Tennessee Educator Acceleration Model (TEAM). The ultimate goal is to improve student achievement through strengthening and improving teacher performance. We will implement the approach to observation and feedback outlined by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo in his book Leverage Leadership. Under the guidance of the Executive Director, each Academy Director and the DCI will have specific teachers with whom s/he works directly and will establish a cycle that consists of scheduled observations, identifying key action steps, providing effective feedback and ensuring feedback leads to improved classroom practice. In this model, observations and feedback meetings will be hard-scheduled and follow the format advocated by Bambrick-Santoyo that includes weekly, shorter observations with a follow-up face-to-face meeting in which the observer provides feedback and assists in translating the feedback into next steps in the classroom.

Professional Development Plans

To support teachers in meeting Frayser Community Schools’ expectations and those articulated through the TEAM model, teachers will work with their Academy Director to create their own PD plans in which they will identify their personal PD goals for the school year. The goals should be student-centered and the plans must indicate measurable indicators of goal achievement. PD plans will be reviewed twice during the school year, to determine evidence of student or personal growth. Revisions to the goals will be made as necessary.

Preparation Time

Teachers will have between one-to-two hours a day of prep time. This amount of time during the school day will allow them to craft lesson plans according to the common structure, review feedback on their plans, collaborate with colleagues (such as special educators), work with their Academy Director and the DCI, review student work and observe their colleagues.

External Opportunities

While much of our PD will be offered internally, we will participate in some external training to stay abreast of current research and best practice. Specifically, leaders and key teachers will attend relevant trainings on implementation of the CCSS and the PARRC as that assessment system rolls out. Teachers of AP classes will participate in appropriate trainings offered by the College Board.

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