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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

The California Teachers Association Instruction & Professional Development department would like to invite your school staff to participate in our annual UCLA Summer Institute from Sunday, July 28 to Thursday, August 1, 2019. Our focus this year will be on “Understanding How the Brain Impacts Student Learning.” Our strand will feature:

  • Keynote speakers: Kenneth Wesson (Neuroscientist), Jon Pearson (Imagination Guru), Charlie Appelstein (Emotional/Behavioral Expert)
  • Elective sessions such as:
    • Ethnic Studies & Culturally Responsive Pedagogy
    • Growth Mindset
    • Mindfulness & the Brain
    • Strength Based Care
    • Trauma Informed Practices

We will also have presentations on Adult Self Care and strategies for working with students with disabilities.

Cost of this Institute varies from $355 to $680 per person (depending on housing). The registration fee is per Institute participant and includes UCLA housing, conference meals, receptions, conference materials and parking. Funding for this conference can be paid for with LCAP, Title I and II fund

To register, please go to



Explore how your Discovery Education resources support you in 2019 and beyond!

LEARN how Discovery Education provides multiple resources that support going beyond recall, memorization, and basic understanding to engage students in higher-order thinking skills like applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating.

  • Explore this Hot Topic further with your colleagues today.
  • Don’t miss a special opportunity to extend your learning with our upcoming webinar on Higher Order Thinking Skills on January 16 at 5:00 PM PT.

SHARE the world with your school community by making Discovery Education part of any parent and family education night with these ready-to-go resources, including station materials, flyers, signs, and more.

  •    Check out the Family Night Resources available now to help students and families experience the power of Discovery Education digital media in the classroom.

CONNECT with fellow educators in your school and beyond each week to celebrate and elevate impactful discussions and powerful resources shared by community members like you.

Check out Weekly Favorites for some inspiration today! 


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.

The month of January is the perfect time of year to use the Snowball Fight SOS! During a 4th grade lesson, students watched a video on the Flag of New York. Each group wrote down an interesting fact, and when finished, they tossed their snowball. The students had fun and no one was cold!

Dawn Huston, City School District of New Rochelle, NY


Access Your Discovery Education Resources:

Discovery Website: or SSO

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If you have a different preferred pathway, such as going through a district webpage, feel free to edit the above.

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