Personalizing Learning for Educators:

Measuring What Works

Lindsay Unified School District (LUSD) in central California is on a mission to ensure every student, or Lindsay learner, has a performance-based learning experience that allows them to succeed academically and personally. To achieve this vision, every learner must have the very best educator to support them on their journey.


In October 2017, LUSD received their first federal Teacher and School Leader (TSL) grant to design and implement professional learning strategies to improve educator recruitment, capacity, and retention. They partnered with The Learning Accelerator in 2018 to use research science to understand the relationships between a series of personalized professional learning offerings and learner outcomes.

Over the years, this partnership expanded. In 2020, TLA was awarded a two-year extension as part of LUSD’s TSL grant and completed six additional scopes of work spanning from Unfinished Learning and Adult Wellbeing to Personalized Professional Learning and Leadership Development. The research results from all five years of the grant can be read below.

Assessing a "Grow-Your-Own" Teacher Residency Program

Teacher residency programs have the potential to address two systems-level challenges exacerbated by the pandemic: educator shortages and training for novice educators. Given current teacher shortages and the need to prepare educators for the unique contexts of their communities, districts have increasingly turned to “grow-your-own” models, which, according to recent research from the National Center for Teacher Residencies, afford unique benefits. This report provides an overview of the findings of a mixed-method study conducted to understand the impacts of the first year of LUSD's “grow-your-own” residency program.

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Professional Learning in a Time of Crisis

The need for professional learning does not stop in a crisis – in fact, it intensifies. Educators who are new to the field need additional support; experienced professionals need quality learning opportunities to continue their growth; and new or amplified issues arise that educators need to be equipped to address. This report describes the implementation of LUSD’s personalized professional learning pathways in the midst of a pandemic, the features and structures designed to support personalized professional learning, and recommendations to guide future implementations.

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Supporting Adult Wellbeing

Recognizing the critical connection between the wellbeing of adults and its mission to empower and motivate every learner, LUSD sought to gain greater understanding of educator and staff experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study was designed to: adopt a framework to guide a study of adult wellbeing, conduct a district-wide needs assessment to help LUSD prioritize responses to and support for adult wellbeing, and provide leaders and educators with concrete language to discuss wellbeing in order to identify meaningful solutions.

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Addressing Unfinished Learning

In Spring 2020, schools abruptly closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in an unprecedented disruption to teaching and learning. LUSD partnered with TLA to examine the context around COVID-19 closures and unfinished learning – and to examine the progress LUSD learners were able to make in the face of the challenges posed by the pandemic.

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Learner Behaviors and Actions During Personalized, Remote Learning

In this standalone study, LUSD captured educator perceptions of their learners’ experience during COVID-19 school closures in the Spring of 2020. The findings from this report informed planning for the district’s fall return to remote learning.

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Initial Explorations into the Effects of Personalized Professional Learning

Throughout the first two years of the TSL Grant, LUSD conducted small studies to examine the efficacy of specific professional learning programs on learner growth as well as to begin the validation process for their Instructional Look Fors.

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First Look at Instructional Look Fors

LUSD conducted initial research into its Instructional Look Fors, a series of learner behaviors, organized into six principles, each aligned with several educator actions that facilitate or demonstrate the Look Fors. This early research was completed to help the district understand whether the Instructional Look Fors demonstrated a sound way of understanding the relationship between professional learning and learner achievement.

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