Giving Compass' Take:

• Education Dive explores professional development for teachers and whether it's doing enough to incorporate curriculum materials. There seems to be a steep learning curve.

• What can nonprofits in the education space do to make such training environments more beneficial for both teachers and students? This piece calls for districts and PD departments to get on the same page.

• Also useful for any educator looking to improve their field: bridging the gap between teachers and parents.

Most teachers take part in some type of professional learning community (PLC), but how that time is spent can range from conducting a book study to creating assessments to dealing with discipline matters.

Not enough PLCs, however, are organized to work with curriculum materials in a way that improves learning for students, Stephanie Hirsh, executive director of Learning Forward, a membership organization for those who lead professional development (PD), said in a recent interview.

She pointed to a 2014 report from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation showing a large gap between teachers’ and school leaders’ views on the value of PLCs. When presented with a list of PD options, teachers responded that they were least satisfied with PLCs, while district leaders said they thought teachers should be spending even more time in PLCs.

Part of the reason why instructional materials are often not the focus of PLC meetings, Hirsh said, is because in many districts, curriculum and professional development departments are still largely separate. Helping students reach standards, however, and making sure materials are adapted to meet individual needs requires teachers to work at a deeper level with the materials their districts are adopting.

Read the full article about professional development organization and the emphasis on curriculum materials by Linda Jacobson at Education Dive.