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A Maryland State Department of Education Resource

Research in Practice- Professional Learning: Flipped Professional Development

Group of young, new teachers receiving professional development

Spotlight – Stories from the Field

Katie Lauder, Garrett County Public Schools 
Chris Cooper, Allegany County Public Schools

The Challenge: How can we develop and implement efficient, targeted, and meaningful professional development related to Specially Designed Instruction?

Katie Lauder, Specially Designed Instruction coach in Garrett County Public Schools, wanted to support K-12 special education teachers county-wide by creating meaningful professional learning opportunities related to specially designed instruction and the writing of Individualized Education Plans. She had previously provided coaching and feedback to the teachers on both their instruction and on their draft IEPs. She wanted to try to find an efficient way to provide targeted PD for her teachers and make use of virtual platforms and decided to use a flipped coaching model. 

Similarly, Chris Cooper, Instructional Coach in Allegany County Public Schools, was looking for a way to help maximize the time that she could spend coaching new teachers. Although she had found resources and research related to “flipped classrooms,” she thought the same model could work for facilitating professional development. 

Each teacher surveyed their colleagues, determined the priority areas of need, and created materials related to the topic that they shared with them electronically. They used Piktocharts or Google Slides, depending on the topic and audience. Rather than provide direct instruction on the topics, they were each able to use their coaching time to facilitate discussions and answer any questions. 

“The Piktochart Flipped PD allowed me to review the IEP process and prepare for the 45 minute session that went into a deep dive of 4 specific aspects within IEP writing. I appreciated being grouped with other teachers that wanted review on the same steps but we did not waste time talking about aspects I am confident to complete on my own. The Piktochart will remain on my desktop to review every time I prepare a draft IEP.”

-Kaitlyn Bolyard, Garrett County Special Education Teacher

Implementation Plan


  • 5-7 minutes of Flipped PD
  • 25- 30 minutes of in-person or Google Meet discussion

Materials/Resources: Piktochart, Google Meet, Google Slideshow, Needs Assessment


  1. Collect data on special education teachers’ needs using a needs assessment (e.g. the IEP Process Performance Indicators, etc.)
  2. Break teachers into groups based on topic/area of need
  3. Plan out topics for each subgroup; arrange for subgroup meetings to occur on different days
  4. Create an informative tool for teachers to review prior to the subgroup meeting. Consider using Piktochart or Google Slides to send to the teachers for asynchronous review
  5. Spend the time together (face to face or virtually) reviewing and discussing the materials reviewed
  6. Supplement the flipped PD with individualized coaching and tracking to see if teachers’ understanding and competencies improve

Implications for Practice/Conditions for Success

  • Plan ahead of time; you may need 2-4 months to have time to collect data  
  • Properly placing staff within the necessary subgroup is key. 
  • Research the wording used on the Piktochart or other tool to ensure it’s in alignment with current standards, terminology, etc. 

Supporting Research and Resources

Brewer, E., McCook, N., & Halasek, K. (2018). Flipping Professional Development. Pedagogy, 18(3), 483–509.

Burns, M. (2016, May 25). Flipping teacher professional development. Global Partnership for Education.

Conley, L. (2015, June 15). 7 Steps to Flipped Professional Development. Getting Smart.

Fazlali, F. (September 2020).The Effect of Flipped Professional Development on Novice English Teachers’ Achievement. Applied Linguistic Research Journal, 4(5). 

Perez, R. (2017). Flip everything you know about professional development. Evolving Ed. Retrieved from:

Razak, R. A., Kaur, D., Halili, S. H., & Ramlan, Z. (2016). Flipped ESL teacher professional development: Embracing change to remain relevant. Teaching English with Technology16(3), 85–102.*

*This pdf is not 100% accessible and is not a required resource.

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