Wake Co. Public School System spent years exploring micro-credentials as a way to personalize professional learning and leverage educators' expertise. But a range of other challenges - including COVID closures - made it hard to get a pilot planned and off the ground.

The Challenge

Micro-credentials had been on the minds of Wake County leaders for years as a strategy for competency-based and personalized professional learning. But while district staff had achieved consensus on the approach, they needed a way to turn ideas into action.

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The strategy

The pilot leadership team identified several groups of educators that regularly faced challenges with accessing traditional, in-person professional learning and were primed to try something new. The design team made these instructional staff the focus of a pilot, identifying specific learning targets aligned with district goals and priorities.

Our team knew a lot about micro-credentials and what we wanted to accomplish. But CTQ’s facilitation and expertise was still helpful. Just having a partnership that structured our work made a difference.

Sonya Stephens, Senior Director of Data, Research, and Accountability, WCPSS

The process

CTQ facilitated a series of virtual design sessions that laid essential groundwork for the pilot: specifying a clear theory of action, naming meaningful metrics for learning and success, and framing clear language to communicate about the pilot. The design team met with a group of teachers and other district stakeholders at the midpoint of its process and incorporated feedback into the final action plan.


As a result of this work, Wake Co. had an actionable plan launch its first micro-credential pilot in fall 2020. That effort reached 75% of targeted educators, meeting long term district goals for personalized professional learning and educators’ immediate needs during remote and hybrid learning during COVID. CTQ will continue supporting the district to build literacy and equity micro-credentials in fall 2021.



The South Carolina Department of Education partnered with CTQ to develop a statewide Collective Leadership Initiative (CLI), intended to engage teams of leaders within schools to lead changes that help students meet the Profile of the SC Graduate.