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Professional Learning

Mission Statement

The mission of Capistrano Unified School District Professional Learning is to positively impact student achievement through a coordinated program that offers relevant and meaningful learning experiences for educators. 

For more on the standards for professional learning visit the Learning Forward website:

Guiding Principles and Practices

The purpose of Professional Learning in Capistrano Unified School District is for all staff members to develop the knowledge, skills, practices, and dispositions to prepare students for a rapidly changing world.  The following principles and practices guide our work to provide world-class professional learning opportunities for all Capistrano Unified School District employees.

Guiding Principles

We believe that Professional Learning that improves achievement for all students and the effectiveness of all employees provides…

  • Support of our District Vision, Mission, and Wildly Important Goals

  • Modeling of the Great First Instruction we expect in all classrooms

  • Adult learning that is self-directed, goal oriented, relevant, and practical

  • Research-based learning opportunities that utilize the Standards for Professional Learning

  • Tools to enhance our Professional Learning Communities

Guiding Practices

The following practices illustrate these principles in action:

  • Develop professional learning based on data and needs identified by staff aligned to personal, department, school, and district improvement goals

  • Establish and communicate clear content and language objectives that provide clear purpose for the learning and connection to improving student outcomes

  • Frequent interactions embed grouping and collaborative structures to capitalize on the personal knowledge and experience of all participants

  • Leveling up the learning by moving away from “sit and get” to “learner-centered” processing to interacting to practicing to applying to redesigning

  • Differentiation of learning that engages all learners

  • Checks for understanding to actively assess the needs of staff throughout the learning

  • Develop all professional learning with a long term plan for continuous and on-going support that allows significant time to grapple with new ideas and concepts  (Follow-up training, on-site coaching, team coaching, funding, etc.)

  • Solicit input and feedback to improve future professional learning opportunities, personalize support, and provide choice to learners.

  • Provide time for individual and/or team reflection so that all learners can develop commitments and next steps

  • Establish norms for participants active engagement in learning

Professional Learning Opportunities

Dear CUSD educators,

Welcome to the November edition of the Discovery Education Monthly Round-Up. This month’s hot topic is Social Emotional Learning.

  • LEARN how Discovery Education supports SEL—and student understanding of their emotions, social skills, and how these influence self-image and interpersonal relationships—through its dynamic platform, relevant content, robust content collections, and instructional strategies. Explore this Hot Topic further and share a printable resource with your colleagues today!
  • SHARE the world with your students by taking your students beyond the classroom walls and into some of the world's most iconic locations for rich and immersive learning experiences — no permission slips required. Take yourself on your own learning journey by diving into virtual professional learning related to SEL this month, too! Check out the Events Calendar for more details and other special opportunities.
  • CONNECT with fellow educators to be engaged and inspired by our Weekly Favorites series. Learn with and from fellow educators world-wide who are trying new ideas for integrating digital content into meaningful student learning experiences. From a Pumpkin Data Project to Augmented Reality Postcards, find practical ideas from educators to try right away. Explore more ideas from the DEN!


Spotlight on Strategies: Featured Strategy

The SOS series includes creative, research-based instructional strategies for integrating digital media in meaningful, effective, and practical ways. Each month we will highlight a different strategy for you to try, shared by a member of your DEN Community.

I use Collage to engage students from the very beginning of a topic. They use critical thinking skills to connect prior knowledge with images in a collage as they make predictions. They are constantly claiming victory when their predictions are confirmed. Predictions that are not confirmed then become launching pads for extended research or future projects.

-       LeAnn Simmerman, Maury County Public Schools, Tennessee

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