Leaders in Nazareth Area School District (NASD) knew micro-credentials could accelerate professional learning and more effective practice. CTQ helped administrators and teachers work together, designing a plan to meet ambitious goals without overextending capacity in their small district.

The challenge

Micro-credentials offered a way for Nazareth ASD to personalize and show results of professional learning. But district leaders knew they had to get the plan right, right from the start – or risk wasting time, money, and educators’ willingness to engage with a new approach.

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NASD’s success relied on understanding their starting point, asking the right questions, and then designing a plan that fit their needs and capacity.

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The strategy

District leaders wanted to build capacity for sustaining virtual learning communities and support on three levels. Coaches needed to offer effective, engaging online professional learning for current educators and new hires. Principals needed to build community and efficacy among staff, parents, and students in challenging times. Other educators needed quick access to essentials for building equitable classroom cultures, even when classrooms weren’t physical spaces.

The CCI experience is front and center in how coaches and administrators are planning for next year: summer professional learning, new hire orientation, and back to school team-building and planning.

Emily Fenske, Director of Organizational Learning, D97

The process

A team of teachers, school administrators, and district officials convened for an initial design day. CTQ facilitated sessions to level-set their understandings about micro-credentials, clarify key goals and markers of success, and then map out where to use existing micro-credentials or develop their own. Five virtual follow-up sessions supported the team through planning and launching a pilot.

“The opportunity to participate in a decision-making process that can directly impact my future professional development brings great satisfaction.”

– NASD design team participant


The results

  1. Educator participation in the micro-credential pilot exceeded goals by more than 50 percent.
  2. NASD learned an effective process to take on big challenges as a small district, by drawing on educators in many roles.
  3. Wide engagement positioned NASD to “build up” a plan that every educator felt invested in, saving time and energy of getting “buy in” later.