Bridges Institute | Professional Development

Teacher Leaders Program
Strategies for Student Success
Professional Learning for Educators
Resources for K-12 Educators & Professional Learning
National Board Support Group
Texas AFT National Trainers
Main Page | Bridges Institute


The Bridges Institute offers four Professional Development Programs:  

All institute programming is open to any educator or support staff member, regardless of union status, unless otherwise stated. 

Teacher Leaders

The Teacher Leaders Program takes place over one year and brings together a select group of 10–15 educators who learn how to take active leadership roles in their schools, communities, and unions. These teachers then serve as catalysts to build the profession and strengthen their union and its connection to the community, with the goal of generating support and understanding of public schools. The cohort begins with a multi-day orientation and then meets one Saturday each month for nine months.  

Participating educators will develop skills related to: 

  • Creating a collaborative culture 
  • Accessing and using research 
  • Reaching out to families and communities 
  • Becoming advocates for teachers, students, and their families, as well as for public education 
  • Understanding policy issues and making recommendations to and through their unions 
  • Making oral and written presentations, including using social media 

Through their participation in the AFT Teacher Leaders Program, educators will: 

  • Become conversant with both the local and national dialogue on education 
  • Develop relationships with local policymakers and community leaders 
  • Connect practice, research, and policy 
  • Serve as a sounding board and advisory group for union leaders 
  • Become more actively committed to and involved in their local union 

Apply for our Next Cohort 

  • Applications for the 2021–2022 program are due in March 2021. All applicants will be notified of their status by mid-April.  
  • Orientation will take place over three days in July 2021.  
  • Monthly calls will begin in September 2021 and conclude in May 2022. 

Strategies for Student Success

Strategies for Student Success is a high-quality, research-based program consisting of three modules (each 1 hour and 15 minutes) that create a manageable way to connect with both new and veteran teachers. The content in the modules can be tailored to benefit individuals, groups, or the whole school and can be offered in a virtual setting. 

Strategies for Student Success approaches learning from an issues-based perspective. Whether the need is created by policy, mandates, feedback on evaluations or professional inquiry, the program responds. The program teaches with activities that require reflection on daily practice, debate over research and current practices, use of modeling and experiential learning approaches. Engaged discussions add to the relevance of the research-based classroom strategies, and instruction is designed for immediate use. 


  • Activating Learning in All Disciplines  
  • Assessing Teaching and Learning 
  • Beyond Classroom Management 
  • Culturally Responsive Pedagogy 
  • Curriculum Matters  
  • Differentiating Instruction 
  • Empowering Educators at the School Level 
  • Engaging Students’ Long-Term Memory 
  • The Game Factor 
  • Grading in a Standards-Based Environment 
  • Handling Stress 
  • How to Make Technology Work for You and Your Students 
  • Is My Teaching Effective?  
  • Making Parents and Guardians Partners in Educating Students 
  • Meaningful Changes 
  • Questions Package 
  • Using Questions to Teach and Learn  
  • Questions: A Second Look  
  • Questions Beyond Bloom 
  • Rethinking Punishment 
  • Setting Measurable Objectives 
  • Social and Emotional Learning: Where, How, and When? 
  • Student Engagement 
  • Students with Challenges 
  • Teach Them to Think 
  • Tools for Teachers from Brain Researchers  
  • The Trio: Inquiry-Based, Problem-Based, and Project-Based Learning 

Learn more about Strategies for Student Success and find full course descriptions here. (PDF download) 

Professional Learning Program for Educators

The Professional Learning Program offers graduate-level courses ranging from 30 to 45 hours, three-hour modules, webinars, and more. The program represents the institute’s major efforts to improve student achievement by making a difference in practitioners’ performance and professional growth.  

The program empowers educators to connect theory to practice and improve student outcomes. Courses are rooted in evidence-based educational, cognitive and social science research. Content is guided by cutting-edge experts in the field and designed by frontline educators who know firsthand what goes on in classrooms and schools every day. The program provides educators with the tools and resources necessary to make complex decisions and select the most effective strategies for meeting individual students’ academic, social, and behavioral needs. Lessons connect excellent teaching practice with broader educational policy issues and campaigns. 


  • Delivering Effective Professional Development 
  • Classroom Management & Behavior  
    • Foundations of Effective Teaching I: Organizing the Classroom Environment for Teaching and Learning 
    • Managing Behavior in School Communities 
    • Managing Student Behavior for Support Staff 
    • Mind in the Making 
    • Transitioning to Kindergarten (T2K) Toolkit 
  • Community & Family Involvement 
    • School, Family and Community: Partnerships That Support Student Learning 
    • Community Schools 101: The Nuts and Bolts 
  • Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment  
    • Instructional Strategies That Work for All Disciplines  
    • Making Data and Classroom Assessments Work for You  
    • Share My Lesson: Free Resources Developed by Educators, for Educators 
  • Math 
    • Thinking Mathematics K-2 
    • Thinking Mathematics 3-5 
    • Thinking Mathematics 6-8: Journey to Algebra 
  • Reading 
    • Beginning Reading Instruction 
    • Reading Comprehension Instruction 
  • Special Needs 
    • Accessible Literacy Framework 
    • English Language Learners  
      • Colorin Colorado Introductory Workshop for ELL Educators 
      • English Language Learners 101, Module I: Who Are ELLs?  
      • English Language Learners 101, Module II: Second Language Acquisition and Literacy Development 
      • English Language Learners 101, Module III: Cultural Competency and Family/Community Connections for the ELL Classroom 
      • English Language Learners 101, Module IV: Providing Effective Instruction with Research-Based Instructional Strategies and Assessment 
  • Instructional Supports: Formative Assessments 
  • Instructional Supports: English Language Learners 
  • Instructional Supports: Differentiating Instruction 
  • Strategies for Student Success  
  • Student Learning Objectives  

Learn more about the Professional Learning Program for Educators and courses here.  

National Board Support Group

More information coming soon.

Visit for additional details.

Texas AFT Nationally Certified Trainers

Over 300 members have been certified to deliver high quality professional development through our program. Texas AFT members have also become nationally certified to provide content instruction.

Learn more about our nationally certified trainers:

If you are interested in becoming a certified trainer, please contact Jamie Womack-Williams at