How Our School District Enhanced Professional Learning with an Interactive Online Approach

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Gale eBooks: Professional Learning aligns with instructional framework, district equity, and inclusion plan.

| By Bessie Criscione, Supervisor of Professional Development, Alachua County Public Schools, Gainesville, Florida |

Last year, Alachua County Public Schools (ACPS), Florida, adopted a strategy that promotes equity, diversity, and inclusion for our 30,000 students, more than two-thirds of whom qualify for free or reduced lunch and more than half of whom are nonwhite. To help our teachers and staff continuously grow and to meet objectives of the District Equity Plan—the first step toward eliminating the district’s achievement gap by 2028—ACPS uses Gale eBooks: Professional Learning, an on-demand experience that is personalized for the district’s 2,000 educators.

The resources available through Gale eBooks: Professional Learning help teachers meet their professional learning goals as well as better meet the needs of every student they support. It’s a phenomenal resource. They’ve taken our instructional framework and equity plan and aligned each eBook to those frameworks.

Indicator, Goal Support

An ACPS teacher, for example, can easily access ideas for creating and facilitating “a classroom environment of respect and positive relationships where diversity is accepted,” which is one indicator under the Positive Culture domain of the district’s instructional framework. Similarly, resources are aligned with each equity plan goal, such as increasing participation of African American students in advanced and accelerated courses.

Variety of Available Materials

Each partner publisher or themed collection brings together 10-50 cross-searchable titles featuring renowned authors from ASCD, Corwin Press, ISTE, Solution Tree, and more. They address topics such as social emotional learning, virtual learning, differentiation, supporting all students, culturally responsive teaching, and high-quality literacy instruction. Information can be shared via social media and email, and group studies no longer require the purchase of individual books for participants. Instead, everyone can access the same book, even simultaneously, at no extra charge. Materials are easily searchable, and content can be translated into more than 40 languages.

Gale eBooks: Professional Learning has been embraced by ACPS teachers, who not only requested online, self-paced training last year, but also requested professional development two years ago that would help them more effectively communicate and build relationships with all students they serve.

‘4 Pillars of Effective PD’

The program follows Gale’s “4 Pillars of Effective PD.” It is embedded in everyday activities such as school- or district-level book studies; it includes targeted feedback and support; it is tied to evaluations; and, it is ongoing and sustainable.

We’re promoting and supporting job-embedded online professional learning instead of a ‘sit-n-git,’ large face-to-face workshop. Gale eBooks: Professional Learning affords teachers the opportunity to quickly access the information they need—in their time frames and without leaving the comfort of their homes or classrooms—so they can integrate it quickly and see immediate results. 

Plus, Gale’s award-winning platform is designed to add new collections as they are released, which allows schools to stay current with important trends in education and offer titles that fit every growing need. Schools also have the option to upgrade many of their collections by adding alignments to the Danielson Framework for Teaching or the Marzano Focused Teacher Evaluation Model.

Additional Ways to Use PD

Keeping up with distance learning and curriculum standards can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few simple ways districts like ACPS can embed Gale eBooks into ongoing professional learning:

Discover more and explore the “4 Pillars of Effective PD,” framework alignments, and themed collections at

*An updated version of an article originally appearing in District Administration November/December 2019.

Meet the Author

Lynn M. Reynolds, Ed.D

Bessie Criscione

Supervisor of Professional Development

Alachua County Public Schools

Gainesville, Florida

Although I am no longer a classroom teacher, I now teach through others. I am a passionate educator committed to assisting teachers and administrative leaders in planning and preparing instructional activities that contribute to a climate where both students and teachers are actively engaged in meaningful learning experiences.


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