New York City's Community District 2 built its entire reform strategy around professional development. As Elmore (1997) writes, professional development in the district “is a management strategy rather than a specified administrative function. Professional development is what administrative leaders do when they are doing their jobs, not a specialized function that some people in the organization do and others don't. Instructional improvement is the main purpose of district administration, and professional development is the chief means of achieving that purpose” (p. 14).
As a result, monitoring instructional improvement efforts is part of the regular oversight function of the district. Each principal completes an annual plan that lays out the school's objectives and strategies for meeting the objectives, based on a structure laid out by district staff. The plans focus on instructional improvement in content areas and professional development activities for attaining the instructional improvement goals. The superintendent and deputy superintendent also visit each school at least once a year to observe instructional practices and discuss problems with the principal.
For its part, the district also provides an array of opportunities for professional development that schools can take part in. As part of its strategy, the district has arranged for specific consultants who meet district objectives; schools can select from among this array. In addition, the district spends about 3 percent of its annual budget on professional development, a figure that is probably higher than many other districts spend, although comparable figures are difficult to obtain (Elmore, 1997).