Catapult Learning Professional Development

One for all.

Case Study: Montgomery County (MD) Public School District
Using Holistic Professional Development to Efficiently Implement Literacy Improvement

The Challenge:

Professional development for educators is most effective when it is holistic, efficient, and scalable. The Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) District sought this type of comprehensive solution to address their students’ suboptimal literacy test scores. MCPS engaged Catapult Learning to expeditiously provide holistic professional learning on a large scale—through tailored workshop learning reinforced by job-embedded coaching—to more than 5,000 staff members and equip them with specific tools and strategies necessary to improve literacy scores throughout the district.

The Timeline:

  • May 2023: Summer professional development plans are finalized.
  • June 2023: Catapult Learning selects 25 to 35 coaches (from its scalable bench of more than 250 coaches) and onboards them to create and deliver a PD plan tailored to MCPS’ larger-scale needs.
  • Late June 2023: Professional learning institutes, created specifically for MCPS’ literacy challenge, begin.
  • August 2023: PD institutes conclude.
  • Start of 2023 School Year: Job-embedded literacy coaching occurs throughout the school day, offering staff real-time feedback and empowering them to make in-the-moment adjustments.

The Details:

Before the fall of 2022, MCPS concluded that literacy coaching was needed to strengthen their K-5 teachers’ understanding of how to apply the science of reading through structured literacy in nine targeted schools. With literacy scores dropping across the country and in MCPS schools, the district recognized the need to provide its sizable staff with tools, strategies, and support to reverse the literacy score trend.

As noted in the timeline above, Catapult Learning’s expert coaches collaborated with MCPS leadership to implement literacy-focused workshops throughout the summer, specially designed to deliver coaching and instruction to all 5,000 MCPS staff members. In these workshops, MCPS elementary staff learned critical concepts related to structured literacy and vocabulary development—especially for Multi-lingual Learners (MLLs).

“I have been teaching a long time, and I’m really excited about this new knowledge I’ve gained,”

Terri Becker, 2nd Grade Teacher

Our Approach:

Working with Catapult Learning’s professional development team, MCPS opted to implement summer workshops that introduced school leaders and teachers to new ideas and research-based best practices while providing flexible opportunities to build capacity and improve practice. MCPS chose the following modules as areas of focus for these workshops:

  • The Science of Reading
  • Literacy Infused with Core Instructional Practices
  • Phonics
  • Vocabulary

The workshops were supported by Catapult Learning’s job-embedded coaching, which delivers real-time, in-the-moment support system for leaders and teachers as they strive to continuously improve classroom management, practices, and results. Working closely with the MCPS instructional leadership team, a highly collaborative and personalized coaching plan was created to help teachers and leaders achieve positive student outcomes.

The Scale:

Catapult Learning’s ability to quickly scale to specific needs enabled MCPS staff to:

  • Complete their summer workshops in just 3-1/2 weeks.
  • Receive job-embedded coaching from nine to 13 Catapult Learning coaches per week, for a total of 25 to 35 coaches, reinforcing the staff’s workshop learning with real-time feedback.
  • Acquire the necessary tools through specifically tailored workshops and coaching that support MCPS staff in teaching special education, MLL, and ELL students.

“Everything that the teachers are learning is specific to language and literacy development, particularly for our early learners.”

Melaika Brown, Elementary ELA Supervisor

With Catapult Learning’s unmatched bench of more than 250 expert coaches, no situation is too challenging and no program is too specific. Our nationwide network of coaches regularly onboards internal teams to quickly meet a district’s or school’s needs. A partnership with Catapult Learning addresses these needs through tailored solutions that work for today’s educators while growing and evolving to meet new professional learning challenges and goals.

One holistic program. Positive impact for all.

At Catapult Learning, we know that your educators support all student needs. That’s why we support your educators, all the way. To help educators address a range of academic challenges—including student behavioral issues, classroom management gaps, and leadership development—we offer a comprehensive training program backed by decades of experience as educators and coaches.