Because standards-based reform emphasizes improved teaching as the best path to increased learning and improved student performance, one would expect high performing schools to be implementing effective professional development practices. This study examines professional development practices in high performing urban and persistently low achieving rural high schools in Kentucky. Findings from the non-experimental descriptive study suggest similarities in professional development practices between the two groups. Differences existed in how well leadership addresses teacher professional development needs and in sufficient training to utilize instructional technology. Characteristics of effective professional development are not being fully implemented in either group of schools.

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