At the Santa Cruz County Office of Education (COE) we believe that relevant, research based and effective Professional Development is critical to support teachers and other educators in ensuring the success of students in all areas. The COE is committed to offering a variety of Professional Development, based on needs assessments and current best practices, for teachers and educators throughout the school year and summer.

Our goal is always to keep students in mind and provide whatever is needed to ensure that their educational experiences are positive, equitable, successful and supportive of the “whole child”. This Professional Learning Plan encompasses our philosophy, our core values, our methods of delivering Professional Development, and both integrated and content specific offerings.

Our Professional Learning Plan is aligned with the Santa Cruz County Office of Education’s Strategic Plan, which was launched in 2019. Below are the core tenets of this plan.


We envision a community with engaged learners and leaders who have the social, emotional, academic, and technical skills to thrive in a changing world.


To lead an equitable and innovative learner-centered educational system.


  • Equity – We create or improve programs, practices, and policies to ensure that every learner has opportunities, experiences, and support systems that address their educational goals and needs.

  • Innovation – We foster communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking to generate new ideas and solutions.

  • Partnership – We listen to the needs of our learners, families, educators, and the community, and work with our partners to create networks of support and opportunities so all our learners can achieve and thrive.

  • Excellence – We hold ourselves to high standards of quality and professionalism and aim to exceed the expectations of our learners, community, partners, and staff.


This Professional Learning Plan was developed by gathering input from many different resources and stakeholders. District LCAPs from the spring of 2019 were carefully analyzed to determine trends and needs, and in-person interviews were held with all ten districts in Santa Cruz County on multiple occasions to gather in-person details about what each district needed.

Members from the Curriculum and Instruction team analyzed county and district wide data to further determine student group needs. Additionally, multiple surveys were given in the spring of 2020 to curriculum leaders to further determine needs from the districts. A draft Professional Development Plan was created in April, 2020, and shared with district curriculum leaders for further feedback. Finally, the completed plan was reviewed by district curriculum leaders and COE staff in late April, early May, 2020.

Since the COVID-19 crisis hit in March of 2020, the plan has been continually revised and updated, and it will be a fluid document that will be changed as appropriate to meet the needs of students, teachers and administrators in Santa Cruz County. This plan strongly represents the current needs of Santa Cruz County districts, coupled with equity and research based best practices.


Here are the “non-negotiables” that we consider and address during every PD session, regardless of the topic. We may not cover every one of these during a session, but we will make every attempt to do so. Additionally, our PD sessions are grounded in Adult Learning Theory, to ensure that the unique learning styles and needs of adults are addressed to maximize learning.

  • Equity: How does our Professional Development support the learning needs of all students? How can this Professional Development support differentiation?

  • Student Groups: We must always consider the needs of our special education students, English Learners, GATE students and other diverse student groups to ensure equity and access.

  • Formative assessment and feedback/data: We will support the use of formative assessment and feedback/data in our PD sessions, to ensure that this is always built in to teacher lesson planning and intervention/enrichment analysis.

  • Technology integration: Technology integration has become critical in this time of distance learning and hybrid instruction. All sessions will include the appropriate integration of technology.

  • SEL: We recognize that the Social and Emotional well-being of students is imperative to create conditions that maximize student achievement.