Race to the Top and Lesson Study Implementation in Florida: District Policy and Leadership for Teacher Professional Development

Lesson study was introduced to school districts in Florida in the United States as part of the federal government’s Race to the Top Program in 2010 to scale improvement in instruction and student learning. However, little is known about what district policy and leadership characteristics are associated with the level of lesson study implementation. Based on a mixed methods study of a statewide survey and interviews of district professional development directors, we found that district requirement of lesson study, funding provision, and future sustainability plan were significantly and positively associated with a broader implementation of lesson study within the district. The interviews revealed that the districts that implemented lesson study districtwide first internalized lesson study through communicating and funding a districtwide expectation of job-embedded, inquiry-based professional development. Following this internalization, the district leaders institutionalized it by supporting school ownership and leadership in organizing and embedding lesson study into the school organizational structures and routines. Implications for educational leaders at local educational agencies are discussed.