Area of Focus Institute


Sorry, this event is in the past. For enquiry, please call us at (866) 577-8066, or send an email to edlead@uw.edu.

Would you like to develop a process that will support your teachers' professional goals or areas of focus to be more strategic, with a greater impact on student learning? The Area of Focus Institute will lead you through a process from start to finish.

Teachers across the state and nation regularly set goals for student learning and for their own instructional practice. New teacher evaluation systems are prompting teachers to formalize these goals and to collect data to assess progress toward meeting them. We call the process of goal-setting—including setting both student goals and teacher practice goals—developing an "Area of Focus."

The 2015 Area of Focus Institute will help teams of principals, coaches, teachers and teacher leaders build a process to identify areas of focus and ensure that teachers’ goals positively influence student learning and their own instructional practice. An area of focus can help frame a teacher’s learning over a significant portion of the school year, setting the stage for inquiry-based growth.


Use evidence from formative student assessments and observational evidence of teacher practice as well as teacher self-assessment to ground an area of focus.

Set goals that are tied to the larger context of school and district learning and the professional development support teachers will receive.

Set goals that explicitly connect a problem of student learning with specific changes in instructional practice.

Sorry, this event is over. For enquiry, please call us at (866) 577-8066, or send an email to edlead@uw.edu.


Joanna_Michelson Patty_Maxfield anneke-markholt-175-175 sheeba-jacob-175-175
Joanna Michelson
Project Director
Patty Maxfield
Project Director
Anneke Markholt
Associate Director
Sheeba Jacob
Project Director
Frequently Asked Questions

Who should attend this event?

Anyone who influences how principals help teachers set goals for the improvement of their teaching and student learning. We recommend schools or districts send a team of people who can engage in the Area of Focus planning process together and then go back to their sites and train or support others in the same process. These teams may include principals, coaches, and formal and informal teacher leaders.

My district does not use the 5D instructional framework. Should I still attend?

Yes! This training will be framework-neutral. While we will assume your district has an instructional framework as a vision for powerful instruction, it can be any framework. We will reference the use of a framework, but you will not have to use a specific one to participate.

I'm not working in Washington state but the topic is important to me. Does it make sense to attend?

Yes. We find that the goal-setting process and tools we are using apply nationally. However, please note that a small portion of the training will address ways to incorporate the Washington State Student Growth process into your goal-setting. Non-Washington state participants may still find this useful, but we will not be addressing other state’s specific requirements around student growth.