ASCD Partners with Coatesville Area School District for Professional Development Training

ASCD Professional Learning Services™ has entered an agreement to provide professional development training for up to 100 administrators, teachers, and consultants in the Coatesville (Pa.) Area School District. ASCD will provide Understanding by Design® professional learning June 17–20, 2014, for elementary and secondary educators, and the process will continue throughout the 2014–15 school year through communication with ASCD and support from Chester County Intermediate Unit consultants.

ASCD Faculty member Donna Herold will lead these sessions for Coatesville faculty members. ASCD Professional Learning Services will work with the district to develop a customized solution to build educator capacity and realign Coatesville's curriculum with the Pennsylvania Core Standards. The professional learning experience aims to help the district implement the Understanding by Design (UbD®) framework developed by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe. The two key ideas of UbD are

  1. Focus on teaching and assessing for understanding and learning transfer, and
  2. Design curriculum "backward" from those ends.

"With the help of ASCD, administrators and teachers together will be creating a rigorous curriculum that is detailed and specific, aligned to the Pennsylvania Core Standards, aligned to the district's strategic plan, and used by all as a framework for teaching and learning," said Jonette Marcus, supervisor of English Language Arts. "We are very excited to begin this work with the support of ASCD trainers who know inside and out how to build curriculum the UbD way!"

The Coatesville Area School District comprises 11 schools and serves more than 3,400 elementary students and more than 3,700 secondary students. More than 87 percent of high school students graduate within four years, compared to a statewide graduation rate of 78.7 percent, and 81 percent pursue postsecondary education. Coatesville is the only district in Chester County to provide full-day kindergarten for all students.

The Understanding by Design Cadre and other ASCD Faculty members work with schools and districts to build educators' local capacity to learn, implement, and sustain research-based leadership and instructional skills and practices. Following foundational and advanced workshops, ASCD Professional Learning Services provides continuing on-site and online facilitation of the local implementation. Local capacity-building coaching from ASCD Faculty members with district administrators, building administrators, and teacher leaders is designed to evaluate local needs and build a plan based on local goals.

"We commend the leadership of the Coatesville Area School District for their initiative to provide customized professional learning for their administrators, teachers, and consultants," said Judy Seltz, Acting Executive Director of ASCD. "The district has built an impressive record of student success, and ASCD is pleased to participate in a partnership to develop and implement updated, integrated curricula that will increase educator effectiveness and student achievement."