The most recent NAEP scores are not pretty…especially in reading and math, with the latter seeing its largest drop since 19901. But academics is just one issue facing educators today— non-academic barriers to learning are on the rise across all student populations.

Many teachers are simply not prepared to handle the situations—both academic and non-academic—that arise in classrooms. Behavioral disruptions, mental health challenges, specialized learning needs…these are everyday realities in the general education classroom, and teachers must possess the tools to effectively address these scenarios. Catapult Learning’s integrated professional learning approach offers a holistic development approach that promises an effective solution to managing these complex issues. And that approach, which can be tailored to meet your schools’ individual needs, should address three critical factors:

  • Eliminating non-academic challenges
  • Enhancing teaching excellence
  • Cultivating leadership for meaningful change

Classroom Management Helps Unlock Learning

In the classroom, behavioral challenges, emotional disorders, and low student engagement directly impact learning. Educators today must employ tested, integrated classroom management strategies.


  • Post-COVID, 87% of schools say the pandemic has negatively impacted students’ socio-emotional development.2
  • About 66% of students with disabilities are now spending more than 80% of their time in general education classrooms.3
  • Only 17% of general education teachers surveyed say they feel “very well prepared” to teach children with mild to moderate disabilities.4
  • Three in five principals say inadequate training in classroom management hampers efforts to address student behavioral issues.5

This all results in a classroom environment that directly impacts student learning, and results in low teacher retention rates;  many teachers cite behavioral issues in the classroom as a major contributor to burnout.6

Proven classroom management strategies make a difference, however.  With the right mix of professional learning tailored to address a school’s specific challenges, educators can learn effective and proven practices, methodologies, and approaches to addressing and remedying disruptive environments.

Job-embedded coaching, for example, helps teachers implement these strategies and offers support with day-to-day classroom challenges. When teachers know how to effectively manage their classrooms all students can learn—and educators spend less time on discipline and more time on teaching.

Instructional Excellence = Academic Achievement

With declining test scores, it is critical that educators are empowered to teach more effectively. Teachers should receive instruction in methodologies targeting struggling students, such as MTSS.

This approach to professional development is beneficial for students and also aids in  educator retention efforts: research indicates that educators who receive targeted instructional coaching in a given subject are significantly more likely to continue teaching that subject the following year.7

An example is the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE). We are partnering with MDE to provide professional development and coaching services for educators at K-12 schools to improve student outcomes, particularly in math. MDE will provide at least 25 new instructional math coaches to elementary and middle schools across multiple districts throughout the year.

With assistance from our math coaches, MDE will support their educators through high-level online, in-person, or job-embedded coaching; individualized plans of action; in-person modeling and co-teaching; classroom observations; lesson plan development; professional development; and summer enrichment for administrators.

Leadership for Positive Impact

Effective leadership is critical to student and school success, and it also enhances educator satisfaction and retention. One recent survey found that only 14% of educators strongly agreed that they had a clear understanding of how to reach their career goals.8

Without a well-defined leadership track, there is a significant risk that educators may leave the field. In education, leadership development means establishing an achievement-oriented culture in schools, building effective teams for support and mentoring, and creating and implementing change management strategies so that educators have nurturing work environment.

Integrating leadership development into a holistic professional development strategy equips educators with a streamlined pathway to career success and fulfillment. Prioritizing leadership in PD not only enhances teachers’ effectiveness in their current roles but also gives them the skills vital to career progression.

Moving Forward

Adopting a holistic approach to professional development that balances classroom management, instructional excellence, and leadership development empowers educators to overcome the diverse challenges they face. This integrated—and intentional—approach to PD fortifies learning environments and offers vital support for educators, providing a pathway to better student outcomes and comprehensive school transformation.

Learn more about how Catapult Learning’s teams of more than 5,000 educators and 250+ coaches work to achieve sustained academic gains and build teacher and leadership capacity through job-embedded coaching, impactful workshops and institutes, and our resource-rich, on-demand learning platform, PDNow.  Visit for more information about our PD solutions.


6 or UCLA study primary source at