Professional Development Isn’t Working: Rethink PD Implementation, Step 1 | Darcy Bakkegard | 7 Min Read

May 15, 2023

Districts and schools dedicate significant time and energy to providing ongoing training and professional development for their educators. Look at any school calendar, and you will see days labeled “In-service” or “professional development.” Talk to any teacher and they can list the workshops, courses, and conferences they attended, both to maintain their license and improve their practice. The New Teacher Project’s August 2015 issue of The Mirage reported that districts spend $18,000 per teacher per year on professional-development efforts. While that figure is certainly dated—as well as pre-COVID and from a relatively small sample of school districts—it paints a general picture: We invest a lot of time and money on professional development for educators. 

As we should. Teachers hold the power and potential to radically change students and help them grow into imaginative thinkers and problem-solvers. While the cost of professional development (PD) is warranted, the execution of PD is woefully inadequate and all too often does not shift teaching practice, let alone student outcomes. More importantly, most professional development does not model best practices in teaching nor does it cultivate 21st century collaboration and problem-solving skills—the very skills we say we want to cultivate…

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Darcy Bakkegard

Darcy is a change consultant and co-founder of The Educators' Lab. After more than a decade in the classroom teaching English and theatre, Darcy now creates the type of PD she always wanted, driving change in education and empowering teachers as changemakers. Through her work, teachers reconnect with their purpose, rekindle their spark for teaching, and reignite the JOY of teaching and learning. She specializes in professional development design and implementation, interactive strategies for the classroom, meaningful tech integration, and building relationships with students. Darcy holds a Master’s of Secondary Education, is an ISTE Certified Educator, an experienced international presenter, and believer in the power of education. She lives in Fargo, ND with her husband Jeff, and toddler triplets, Kurt, Ben, and Cora.