Title II Professional Development

Learn more about Title II Part A and ESSA guidelines covering professional development for teachers & educators.

Title II Guidelines FAQs and Other Resources How Model Teaching PD Courses Can Help

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  • Title II Part A: Improving Teacher Quality Through Professional Development

Implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) has made significant changes to the way Title II funding is applied to teacher and educator professional development. The new guidelines bring a greater focus on teaching excellence while giving more authority to states, education departments, districts, and schools in making decisions about the specific needs of their students. The new teacher professional development Title II ESSA guidelines remove some of the accountability and punitive standards prescribed by the previous No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) provisions, while expanding the allowable use of Title II funds to include teachers from every subject while applying a renewed focus on job-embedded, evidence based, and classroom-oriented activities. Read below for a summary of key changes to Professional Development guidelines under Title II and ESSA.


Professional Development.

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  • Title II Part A: Improving Teacher Quality Through Professional Development

Expanded Definition & Use of Title II Funds for Professional Development

The most recent Title II guidelines include several changes to both the definition of professional development, as well as how Title II funds can be used to fund professional development activities for teachers and educators.

Some changes for the use of Title II funds include:

  • Professional development that is personalized, includes ongoing and job-embedded activities that help educators become more effective and apply what they have learned to improve their instructional practice.

  • Expanded scope of allowable use of funds to all teachers, staff, school leadership, and paraprofessionals such as teaching assistants, instructional support personnel, interventionists, and any educator who works directly with Title I children.

  • Professional development can be collaborative, data driven, classroom-focused and should be regularly evaluated to ensure effectiveness. Evaluation must be based on multiple measures such as classroom observations.

  • Title II professional development can be used as part of broader school improvement efforts, with a larger percentage of school improvement funds to be used for teacher improvement. This includes use of Title I school improvement funds for teacher and educator professional development and for the improvement, recruitment, or retention of high-quality teachers.

  • Inclusion and expansion of funding for school leadership for professional development, recruitment and support of school leaders and principals.

  • Increased requirement for educators to have a voice in the decision-making process when it comes to professional development and other school improvement programs.

  • Changes to Title II Professional Development Guidelines (ESSA vs. NCLB)



Requires state departments of education to provide Scientifically-Based professional development for teachers in core academic subjects.

Changes the requirement of Scientifically Based to Evidence Based – a stronger requirement to apply effective strategies backed by evidence, rather than theory.  This includes the approach and methodology being backed up by “at least one study”


Expands the use of professional development funding under Title II to include educators in all subjects, not just core academic subjects.  Expands the subject list to 17 different subjects.

Designates Professional Development as activities that increase teachers’ knowledge in the subjects they teach, become more qualified in their content area as well as more general instructional strategies. Maintains this standard with an update on ensuring ongoing, job-embedded and classroom-focused activities.  Also broadens this to include more collaborative and data-driven plans that are backed up with input from teachers and educators.

Requires 100% of teachers in core academic subjects to be “highly qualified”:

  • Teachers must have a bachelor’s degree and demonstrate subject-matter expertise in their area.
  • Teachers must hold a certification in the subject they teach

New teachers must have a B.S. or B.A. and pass subject-matter tests

Eliminates the “highly qualified” requirements


Maintains that all programs must ensure that teachers and paraprofessionals meet state certification and license requirements.

Requires schools that use Title II funds to prepare, support, and work to retain qualified teachers and principals.


Title II allocation of funding formula takes into account 35% of the state’s school-age population and 65% of the state’s school age population living in poverty.

Expands the use of Title II funds for alternate certification and training routs as well as putting a focus on school leadership training and retention.


Updates the Title II funding allocation formula with 20% based on school-age population and 80% of school-age population living in poverty.

Title II funding for educator Professional Development is divided into 2 parts: Part A (State Grants) and Part B (National Activities).  Title II, Part A grants represent the main source of funding of Title II to states and includes a variety of activities such as teacher training, retention, and evaluation systems, and these are described further below.  Title II, Part B grants are considered National Activities and include far-reaching programs that include: a Teacher and School Leader Incentive Program, Literacy Education for All, American History and Civics Education, and other programs of National Significance.

How Can Title II Part A – State Grants Be Used?

The majority source of funding of Title II includes state grants.  These funds are distributed to states which then distribute to school districts for a number of activities including:

  • Teacher licensing, preparation, and evaluation including support for principles and school leaders.
  • Any training or support activity related to the improvement of teacher/school performance, recruitment, or retention.
    • Training in technology integration
    • Training in the better use of data in the classroom
    • Training in the use of formative and in-classroom assessments
  • Teacher certification and licensure including alternate certification routes
  • Professional Development centered on technology integration and STEM education
  • Increasing family engagement
  • Professional development for teachers focused on ESL, early childhood, and students with disabilities
  • Trauma, mental health, and at-risk student-teacher training
  • Any training or support activity related to post-secondary, 21st-century skills in students
  • Other evidence-based training or programs designed to improve educator effectiveness

Where Can You Find More Information About Title II Grant Opportunities?

The U.S. State Department of Education webpage: Improving Teacher Quality State Grants provides information on opportunities, awards, funding stats, as well as regulations governing state grant funding for Title II.

Visit the US DOE page >>

FAQs About Title II ESSA Professional Development Guidelines

ESSA has eliminated the requirement of Core Academic Subjects and now includes Title II funds to be used for teachers of every subjects as well as other school staff including principals to paraprofessionals.  It also puts an emphasis on job-embedded and classroom-focused training opportunities designed to improve classroom instruction.  An increased emphasis is also place on leadership and principal training.

Under ESSA Title II professional development programs and activities must be evidence-based.  This is a transition from Scientific-Based, previously required.  This places an emphasis on the professional development to be based on strategies that are backed by evidence for their effectiveness in improving classroom instruction.  This includes the methodology being backed up by at least one study.

There is no longer a requirement for educator evaluations, however, if Title II funds are used to create or to improve district evaluation systems, educators must in part be evaluated based on student achievement and measures such as observations.

  • Helpful Title II Professional Development Resources for Educators

Using evidence to strengthen education investment

Non-Regulatory Guidance: Using Evidence to Strengthen Education Investments.

U.S. Department of Education, September 16, 2016.

Read More >

Building systems of support-min

Non-Regulatory Guidance for Title II, Part A: Building Systems of Support for Excellent Teaching and Learning.

U.S. Department of Education.  September 27, 2016.

Read More >

Supporting Educaotrs with Professional Development in Title II of ESSA-min

The Every Student Succeeds Act: Supporting Educators with Professional Development in Title II of ESSA

Megan Wolfe, Government Relations Manager. ASCD Webinar

Learn More >

Title II Guidelines USDE

Title II – Preparing, Training, & Recruiting High-Quality Teachers & Principals

U.S. Department of Education. Part A – Teacher and Principal Training and Recruiting Fund.  SEC. 2101-SEC.

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ASCD – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) – ESSA Implementation Resources for Educators – FAQs

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