The Challenge
Leaders in Nazareth Area School District (NASD) knew micro-credentials could accelerate professional learning and more effective practice within local schools. But district leaders knew they had to get the plan right, right from the start – or risk wasting time, money, and educators’ willingness to engage with a new approach.

The Response
Mira Education helped administrators and teachers work together, designing a plan to meet ambitious goals without overextending capacity in their small district. Micro-credentials offered a way for NASD to personalize and show results of professional learning.

Mira Education worked with district leadership to identify a design team made up of central office staff alongside principals and teachers who would be using the eventual micro-credential system. The engagement of educators from different roles throughout the district ensured that decisions made by the central office responded to felt needs, easing practical concerns about building consensus after the fact and boosting educator use of the micro-credentials.

The Impact
As a result of this work educator participation in the micro-credential pilot exceeded goals by more than 50 percent. NASD also learned an effective process to take on big challenges as a small district, by drawing on educators in many roles. Lastly, wide engagement positioned NASD to “build up” a plan that every educator felt invested in, saving time and energy of getting “buy in” later.

Two years later, Nazareth ASD had sustained participation in micro-credentials, rising rates of earning micro-credentials, and a clearer sense of the expertise among educators that could be leveraged to address instructional improvement and other goals. The district was also well positioned to shift to online professional learning opportunities during hybrid and remote instruction.