Transforming Professional Learning - OSPI
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Transforming Professional Learning

Transforming Professional Learning (WA-TPL) is a 3-year project to build a professional learning system in Washington State that supports career- and college-ready efforts, including implementing Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. We will identify and select 33 school districts to participate in this project.

Project goals

  • Partner districts will gain increased administrator and teacher leader capacity so every educator can meet professional expectations and every student can meet career- and college-ready learning standards.
  • Washington State will grow its infrastructure to support statewide professional learning and establish key components of a comprehensive professional learning system.
  • 75,000 students will show growth as a result of increased opportunities to engage in high-quality English language arts, math, and science instruction aligned to the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards.

About the grant
The WA-TPL grant is from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (U.S. Programs Grant Number OPP1089743). The grant period is November 2013 through October 2016. Grants to participating districts will range from $10,000 to $15,000 per year, depending on the district’s role. OSPI will work with Learning Forward Washington, the nine Educational Service Districts, and other education partners to implement this project.

Who is eligible
All districts are eligible to apply for this grant. Partner districts will be selected through a competitive application process. OSPI will select 33 districts. Nine of these districts will be Laboratory Districts (one in each ESD region), and the remaining 24 will be Critical Friend Districts (2-3 in each ESD region).

Lab districts and Critical Friend districts
Lab districts receive targeted support from OSPI, Learning Forward Washington, and their ESD based on learning plans developed and revisited throughout the project period. Lab districts will undertake extensive self and external analyses that will lead to revisions to its policies, practices, and supports for professional learning. They will serve as models for other districts. Lab districts receive $7,500 in year one and $15,000 in years two and three.

Critical Friend districts will take part in virtual and in-person professional learning opportunities and workgroup meetings with Lab districts. They will serve as collaborators, critics, and contributors to Lab districts. Critical Friend districts will receive $5,000 in year one and $10,000 in years two and three.

TPL Coaches
In partnership with Learning Forward Washington, we are accepting proposals for TPL Coach positions. Learn more about this opportunity (PDF)

Questions & Answers

+ If a district still wants to apply in June, is there leeway on the application itself? There is indication some districts felt the application was too long and involved. If the due date for the teacher survey is Sept. 20, when will it be available? How will districts know?

A majority of the proposals we received concisely responded to each question. The iGrant was designed with economy in mind, requesting as little info as possible. There is no room for leeway. It may be possible that the iGrant attachments and commitments, the first things a person looks at (there is a lot of info there, but no questions), may suggest the rest of the iGrant requires more than it actually does.

+ If the due date for the teacher survey is Sept. 20, when will it be available? How will districts know?

OSPI will contract to purchase the SAI2 in July. As soon as the contract is in place, ESDs and participating districts and schools (via email to individuals listed in the proposals) will be informed. Since the SAI2 is online it will then be immediately accessible.

+ Who are the coaches? When will they be selected? When will districts know who they are and will they be able to provide input into the hiring?

Coaches have not yet been identified. Recruiting is about to begin. Selection will take place before the October 1-2 meeting. Learning Forward WA will be in the lead for this process and will complete contracts with each coach consultant. Districts can communicate with ESDs that will have input into the recruiting and identification process.

+ How can we recruit new critical friend districts?

Communication and getting the word out is most important. Leaders in potential districts need to understand the benefits to participating in the WATPL project. Districts that put together proposals and have been selected to participate are a good source of such understanding. Networking among ESDs and participating lab and critical friend districts is a valuable source of recruiting ideas.

+ Will there be opportunities for feedback from districts as we move forward?

Absolutely! The WATPL project is unique because it offers an organic process for OSPI, AESD, LFWA, districts and schools, and other partners to work together for the best outcomes for students. District input is critical to that process. We will work together throughout the project to identify avenues for input and participation.

+ What work will we be doing at our regional meetings and what kind of timeframe for each meeting do we need?

Specific plans are being developed. Work will evolve over time. In general, monthly work in all regions will be based on the Learning Forward professional learning standards and comprehensive professional learning systems. Also, each region, with a focus on the laboratory district, will determine problems of practice they will work on related to CCSS/NGSS/CCR. Ellen Hopkins at Learning Forward WA will be the lead and will partner with ESDs and OSPI to facilitate the learning. Professional learning coaches will be integral to the work done in each region. Work sessions will be scheduled region by region, virtually and/or in-person. Time frames will be determined by region and scheduled in concert with Ellen.

+ Are building teams expected to be at the October meeting?

Building leadership team members are expected to attend the bi-annual meetings only to the extent they are also members of their district teams. District core teams are expected to attend the bi-annual meetings.

+ How does the lab coaching work?

The design of the working relationships between the professional learning coaches and the districts is currently being formulated by Learning Forward WA collaborating with OSPI and the ESDs. Specifics will be presented at the October meeting.

+ Can all the schools in our district participate in the SAI2 so we have district data?

The WATPL grant supports SAI2 administration costs for each of the (estimated 150) participating schools. Additional school participation may be possible at the district level (outside the WATPL project) with information to be posted soon.

+ What is the process for additional districts—lab and critical friends— to apply in June to participate in WATPL?

The iGrant system has been re-opened to receive additional applications. Districts interested in applying should apply as usual by accessing Forms Package 683 in Fiscal Period 13-14. Proposals must be received by June 30, 4:30 p.m. Two lab districts and as many as 20 critical friend district grants remain open (see chart).

+ Are there possible budget scenarios we can look at?

Laboratory districts, year 1: Team travel to state convenings, 2000; team travel to regional meetings, 500. Other: 5000 (Districts will define this for year based on proposed plan and on district context and work with identified schools - could be release time, stakeholder meetings; leadership/professional learning meetings; PL/evaluation materials; general supplies; release time for coaching; etc.).
Critical Friends Districts, year 1: Team travel to state convenings, 2000; team travel to regional meetings, 500. Other: 2500 (districts will define this based on plan and on district context and work with identified schools - could be release time, etc.).

+ What is the role of the critical friend group in the lab district problem of practice?

The critical friend group serves as resource and thought partner in helping the lab district to process through a problem of practice. This may take the form of offering reflective questioning, offering up possibilities, reviewing documents/policy/data and numerous other supports. It is likely that those participating in a critical friend role will have, or currently are experiencing, similar problem of practice. Critical friend districts may find benefit through the supporting of laboratory districts through conversation, process and work documents that may apply to the critical friend district work.

+ What does it mean to be a critical friend district?

The critical friend district acts in support of the regional lab district(s). While benefitting from state and regional support, the critical friend district is able to make adjustments to their existing professional learning system.

+ Does this work happen at statewide convening or regional convening?

The work will happen in both the statewide convening as well as the regional work. Statewide meetings will inform regional work and regional work will inform future statewide meetings. As WA – TPL unfolds, each region may design a unique system that best meets the needs of the districts participating.

+ What are the topics, purpose, outcomes of the statewide convening? Who is the audience?

Statewide meetings will provide opportunities to develop a deeper understanding of the Standards for Professional Development, analysis of the SAI 2 and tools to access in working towards an improved professional learning system. In addition, opportunities to meet with colleagues throughout the state that are engaged in the work are beneficial. Throughout the project, as needs become apparent as expressed by participants, these meetings will organically grow to meet the needs of participants and grant objectives.

All district core team members should attend the statewide meetings. The audience for these meetings is the district core teams.

+ How does the work at the regional meetings connect with the statewide work? Should grant districts send leads, Core team or whole team (this is a lot of people)? What will happen at the regional convening?

WA – TPL is focused on providing districts with support in working towards, or improvement of, a district professional learning system grounded in research. Work at the statewide meetings will support regional meetings by providing content and state/national support by leaders in the field. The regional work will focus on local issues and inform needs of districts that will influence state convening. It is anticipated that all district core team members attend.

+ Can districts partner with other outside regions with similar interests?

Absolutely! A major benefit of the project is to provide this networking opportunity across the state.

+ Can we do webinars instead of K-20s so we don’t have to travel to the ESD? It would be better for principals and teachers not to have to leave their buildings.

The design of regional meetings will be unique to each region. Participating districts may coordinate with their regional ESD while deciding what best fits the needs of the region and districts. Virtual meeting and/or face-to-face meeting throughout the course of the project may be considered.


WA-TPL Grantees
June 2 Virtual Launch Materials

Important Project Documents

Questions? Contact
Dan Bissonnette, Program Manager
(360) 725-6352

Old Capitol Building, PO Box 47200, 600 Washington St. S.E., Olympia, WA  98504-7200  (360) 725-6000  TTY (360) 664-3631
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