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Teacher-Selected, Domain-Specific PD Tracks

Differentiated personalized learning professional development sessions


With the shift to remote learning, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) sought to provide its students with more personalized learning opportunities to best address different learning needs in a remote setting. To support teachers in delivering more personalized learning experiences, the district launched its Personalized Learning Framework. To help build teacher knowledge and understanding of the different domains of the framework, the Department of Personalized Learning at CPS created domain-specific personalized learning tracks for teacher development.

“We've created the Personalized Learning Framework with four domains and instead of trying to get our teachers to be a jack of all trades in terms of learning all these domains, we create personalized learning tracks. They got to self-select which group they wanted to be part of from the four domains of the continuum. They’re asking themselves, ‘How do you use a learner profile to increase authentic learning?’, or ‘How do you use conferencing to increase learner agency?’ Teachers are going down these deep dives into the different tracks that are allowing them to connect virtually as well. Teachers across the district have accountability partners. They make a commitment and make sure they're committed with their accountability partner at the end of each PD. And because it's like this, it's a little bit of a smaller setting than we would have had before where all of these teachers would be together on one day in their buildings and more recently, teachers have been able to make more meaningful connections around virtual learning with other teachers across the district, which hopefully will continue in the future, especially with the domain specific tracks.” - Savannah Bell, Personalized Learning Leader - Chicago Public Schools


Rather than ask teachers to become experts in every area of the Personalized Learning Framework in one year, CPS invited teachers to self-select into a learning domain track to drive their professional development for the school year. Over nine months, teachers engaged in eleven synchronous and asynchronous professional development sessions to support their internalization and implementation of the different areas of the Personalized Learning Framework, which included:

  • Learner Agency

    • Learner Ownership and Self-Advocacy

    • Learner as a Manager

    • Learner Choice and Voice

    • Learner Driven

  • Social & Emotional Learning
    • Self-Management

    • Self-Awareness

    • Responsible Decision-Making

    • Relationship Skills and Social Awareness

  • Tailored Learning
    • Data-Informed Planning and Instruction

    • Feedback, Reflection, and Monitoring of Progress

    • Learner Progression Based Upon Mastery

    • Putting It All Together: Profiles, Plans, and Conferencing

  • Authentic Learning
    • Real-Life Context

    • Collaborative Learning

    • Transferable and Interdisciplinary Learning

    • Transferable and Interdisciplinary Learning

All teachers received the same set of foundational development around personalized learning to help them create their personalized learning vision. Once they had created their vision, they determined which domain they wanted to focus on and then selected into a track for four months of domain-specific professional development before engaging in a showcase to share their learnings with their peers.

This strategy is a part of TLA's Hop, Skip, Leapfrog release, which explores the concrete ways in which schools and systems pursued student-centered innovation during COVID-19. Explore the full guide to find additional strategies, insights, and resources.

Strategy Resources

Personalized Learning Framework Map

A comprehensive overview of the domains of Chicago Public Schools’ Personalized Learning Framework. In this... Learn More