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Developing a Plan

Developing a Plan

Author: Trisha Fyfe

In this lesson, learners will be able to develop a plan of action for instructional improvement.

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Welcome. I'm Trisha Fyfe, and in today's video lesson, we'll look at the topic Developing a Plan.

As we learn about this topic, we will work towards one main learning objective. And together, we'll use the following question the guide our learning in this lesson. What does the planning process look like for professional development plans?

Throughout this unit, we will discuss some of the stages of the PDSA cycle, and how it can be used in the instructional coaching relationship to develop professional plans. The first stage that we will explore today from the PDSA, plan, do, study, act cycle is the planning stage. It's here that the areas of focus for coaching will be established, and the teacher and instructional coach will work together to develop a plan for addressing the issues that are discussed.

Sometimes, the goals and outcomes are already determined-- if, for example, that teachers have already been on a corrective plan in which challenging areas have been identified. It's essential in this part of the process to decide together what areas the teacher would like to work on and improve upon. This is the start of the process of planning, and it's a critical step. These potential areas of focus for improvement in professional development should be discussed between coach and teacher. And the decision should be collaborative in nature. It can be helpful to consider a few steps here.

First, spend time reflecting. Ask what areas are challenging for me. What are areas of desired growth. Take a deep look at student performance data, and also take a deep look at the school and district goals. Also, remember to consider any current or upcoming school initiatives that may be relevant to that teacher. After areas of desired improvement are identified, we can continue with the planning process. We can look at how we can approach the desired problem areas.

Let's look at some components of the plan itself. A solid plan will include all of the following elements, a background description where the problem or desired areas for improvement are established and recorded. The plan must also include goals. There may just one main goal, or several goals here. The teacher and coach will work together to establish these goals, and the goals show what will be achieved.

There should be benchmarks in a plan. It's important to identify the steps in the process of working toward the goals, and this is what benchmarks do. If a goal is more long term, or if it's very ambitious, these benchmarks are even more beneficial.

It's also important to know what results should be. Specifically, this is what outcomes do. They can be metrics for student achievement, or specific actions that will be taken. These outcomes will lead towards achievement of a goal. They must be measurable and very concrete in nature, as they assist in defining what is progress and success. What does that look like?

The components of the plan should also include strategies. These strategies are developed in addition to the more concrete actions that are defined by outcomes. These should be based on the situation at hand, and can include things like information about the timeline, resources, techniques, and what individuals are involved. At times, these are important to understand because they alter the process slightly in some cases.

Let's look at an example problem and a corresponding plan. We'll go through the PDSA cycle to do this, specifically focusing on the P, or plan stage. Let's say that a teacher and coach have addressed the issue that students have had low levels of engagement, and they're going to develop a plan here.

Let's look at a sample plan and some of the components. The background description is that students have low levels of engagement for this teacher. The goals include increasing levels of student engagement and higher achievement scores. Some benchmarks are in the number of students participating in the discussion, increasing by the second observation, and by the third observation, students successfully participating in inquiry based group work with group members.

Some outcomes of this plan might be that inquiry based group work and questioning techniques will be used. And strategies will include student led learning and ample discussion time.

It's important to note that many of these different components are connected in so many ways. For example, the background description, of course, states that students have low levels of engagement. Therefore, the goals, the benchmarks, the outcomes, and the strategies should all go back to this description and address this issue. The goals of increasing levels of student engagement and higher achievement scores help us in developing the benchmarks along the way, as well as what outcomes we should look for and the strategies that this teacher will use.

Let's talk about what we learned today. We looked at the question, what does the planning process look like for professional development plans? In today's lesson, we discussed the plan stage of the PDSA cycle. It's here that the areas of focus for coaching will be established, and the teacher and instructional coach will work together to develop a plan for addressing issues that are discussed. We explored the steps to determining what exactly you would like to improve, and we discussed some components that are essential to consider when establishing a plan for professional development.

Now that you're more familiar with these concepts, let's reflect. Consider a professional development plan that you have established in the past. Did this plan include all of the components that we discussed today? Why or why not?

Thanks for joining me today in discussing the lesson, Developing a Plan. I hope you found value in this video lesson and are able to apply these ideas and concepts to your own teaching. Now it's your turn to apply what you've learned in this video. The Additional Resources section will be super helpful. This section is designed to help you discover useful ways to apply what you've learned here. Each link includes a brief description so you can easily target the resources that you want.

Notes on “Developing a Plan”


(00:00- 00:18) Introduction/Objectives

(00:19- 00:59) Developing a Plan

(01:00- 01:53) What to Improve?

(01:54- 03:21) Components of the Plan

(03:22- 04:47) Example Scenario/Plan

(04:48- 05:19) Recap

(05:20- 05:59) Reflection 

Additional Resources

Ward Elementary PDSA 2014-2015

This is an example of a PDSA plan for continuous improvement from Fleming County Schools in Kentucky. This example can help guide teams who are beginning to use the PDSA cycle of continuous improvement processes.

​PDSA – Continuous Improvement Protocol (Instructional Processes)

This protocol from Fleming County High School in Kentucky established the procedures and practices involved in implementing the PDSA cycle of continuous improvement. It is a useful guide for establishing PDSA cycles in your organization.