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12 Professional Development Topics That Are Great for the Beginning of the Year

There’s a lot to do at the beginning of the school year and not the least of which is professional development. If you’re not sure which trainings to offer (or attend!) here are some that are worth your time.

Professional Development Topics for the Beginning of the Year

Remember, that whichever trainings you decide to offer, they should be ones that will benefit your school and your staff. There are a lot of trainings out there but not all of them are created equal. Do your research and select ones that make the most sense and that are well-rounded.


Professional Development Trainings Ideas

Universal Design Learning

An understanding of Universal Design Learning (UDL) can create an awareness of how teachers can meet the needs of all of their students in the classroom. This professional development training should give concrete examples, action steps, and plenty of resources for teachers to learn more.

Curiosity Based Lessons

What is curiosity based learning and how can it be implemented in the classroom? This concept is a great PD session for teachers as it gives them the opportunity to discover how they can capitalize on their students’ interests and curiosity to drive instruction.

How to Be Culturally Aware, Sensitive, and Relevant

As Maya Angelou said, when we know better we should do better. That applies to cultural awareness, sensitivity, and relevancy. Any professional development conference or day should include ways to become more aware and sensitive to the cultures of students.

Brain Break Ideas

Brain breaks are a great way to help students stay motivated and engaged all day long. Learn how to implement them, things that can be done as part of a brain break, and why they are so important to include in the daily schedule.

Personalized Learning

Meeting all of the needs of all students can be challenging, but a professional development class on how to implement personalized learning could be helpful. Specific examples and ideas should be shared so that teachers can easily use them in the classroom.

Using Choice Boards

Understanding the hows and whys of choice board use in the classroom can help teachers figure out how to implement them. Concrete examples of what they are, how to make them, and why they can be helpful in progress monitoring should also be included.

Tips for Building Relationships with Students

Now, more than ever, having a positive relationship with students is key to an effective classroom. This professional development class could offer ideas specifically for back to school and for use throughout the year.

Reinforcement Types and What to Use

Reinforcement and rewards can be tricky subjects! Give teachers information about the different types of reinforcement and some examples of when it is best to use each one. A practical, hands-on class will provide attendees with action steps that they can use in their classrooms all year long.

Social-Emotional Learning

Learning how to navigate the new norms and social expectations in this post-pandemic world can be challenging for students and educators. A professional development session on different ways to encourage social-emotional learning could be greatly beneficial.

Getting to Know Students Through Art Projects

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and that’s true when getting to know your students. Have them do an art project where they find or draw pictures to represent things in their lives. It can be an eye-opening opportunity to learn about their current situations, as well as their hopes and dreams.

How to Check for Prior Knowledge

This training would provide concrete examples of how teachers can check for prior knowledge using a variety of different methods.

How Kids Learn

In this professional development training you could talk about how children learn. Learning how to make lessons that touch on all learning styles will help staff create the most effective lessons possible.


What are some of your favorite back to school professional development ideas? Share them with us below! We’d love to know which professional development sessions would benefit you the most!

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I'm a special education teacher, presenter, curriculum writer, and educational blogger behind Mrs. D's Corner.
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