Delivering Professional Development That Sticks: A Guide for School Leaders


Most educators think of professional development (PD) as a way to influence the uptake of evidence-based practices. However, PD can also play an important role in sustaining the practices over time—a critical ingredient for improving outcomes for all students. A number of studies have identified key features of PD that support both the long-term use of practices after support has dissipated and the spread of practices across settings.

Recently, researchers examined the efficacy of the Strategies for Reading Information and Vocabulary Effectively (STRIVE) PD model, which includes four key features to encourage sustainability—deep understanding of instructional practices, transfer of ownership, social networks, and critical mass—and teaches educators evidence-based literacy practices infused into social studies classes.

This brief describes the STRIVE PD practices and their efficacy, finding that students of teachers who participated in the STRIVE PD model outperformed their “business-as-usual” peers on measures of vocabulary, content knowledge, and informational text comprehension. In addition, 100% of teachers who received STRIVE PD reported using two or more of the instructional practices 1, 2, and 3 years after STRIVE PD and support dissipated.


Swanson, E., & Stewart, A. (2021). Delivering professional development that sticks: A guide for school leaders. The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk.