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Transforming Professional Learning

ESSA & HB 1345: Definition and Standards

Overview | Project Goals | For Grantees | Partner Sharing | TPL Videos | ESSA and HB 1345

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was enacted in December 2015. It reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, America’s national education law and longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students.

ESSA defines professional development as activities that “are sustained, (not stand-alone, 1-day, or short term workshops), intensive, collaborative, job-embedded, data-driven, and classroom-focused.”

HB 1345, adopted by the Washington Legislature in March 2016, provides a definition and standards for professional learning.

Professional learning is defined as “a comprehensive, sustained, job-embedded, and collaborative approach to improving teachers’ and principals’ effectiveness in raising student achievement.”

HB 1345 delineates professional learning standards for content, process, and context to guide the preparation and delivery of high quality professional learning to those responsible for planning, facilitating, and sponsoring professional learning. The standards include:


Clear goals and objectives relevant to desired student outcomes that are aligned with state, district, school, and educator goals and priorities.


Based on data analysis and measured to determine that it meets targets; promotes collaboration to encourage sharing of ideas to achieve identified goals; and advances educators’ ability to apply professional learning to specific content, and models good pedagogical practice to engage educators.


Makes use of relevant resources to ensure goals are met; facilitated by a professional knowledgeable about the identified objectives; and designed in such a way that sessions connect and build upon each other to provide a coherent and useful learning experience for educators.

Professional learning and professional development, while frequently used synonymously, are not one in the same. This distinction is relevant now more than ever due to the recent passage of ESSA and HB 1345.


   Updated 3/29/2017

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