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Professional Development

Guidelines for Reviewing, Approving, and Endorsing Individual Professional Development Plans

Table of Contents

District Professional Development Planning
Developing Individual Professional Development Plans
Approving Individual Professional Development Plans
Standards for Approval
Additional Review from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Reviewing Individual Professional Development Plans
Endorsing Individual Professional Development Plans


Professional development for educators is required by the Commonwealth in order to ensure that the highest quality educators are working with students in Massachusetts' schools. Effective December 1, 1999, the Commonwealth's new recertification regulations will strengthen the ongoing professional development of Massachusetts educators and align individual professional development plans more effectively with school and district improvement plans. The recertification regulations raise the standards for knowledge in the content area; provide an incentive for educators to engage in advanced academic study; enable greater decision-making at the school and district level; retain some flexibility in the kinds of activities that are eligible for professional development points for recertification; create options for new ways to assess teacher skills and knowledge; and establish a state registry of professional development providers.

Individuals with Massachusetts' professional licensure must engage in sustained professional development that strengthens professional knowledge and skills in order to meet the state's new recertification requirements. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has designed a recertification process that requires all educators to prepare an Individual Professional Development Plan for each five-year renewal cycle. The plan must be consistent with the educational needs of the school and/or district and enhance the ability of the educator to improve student learning. As spelled out by the new regulations, educators are required to obtain initial approval and final endorsement of their professional development plans from their supervisor.

Professional licensure may be renewed by the successful completion of the appropriate number of professional development points (PDPs) as set forth in 603 CMR 44.05 (2), 44.06 (1), or 44.07 (1) within a five year cycle as outlined in Appendix A of these guidelines. Educators may earn PDPs by engaging in a variety of professional development activities as part of an individual professional development plan which receives any approvals necessary under the provisions of 603 CMR 44.04. Many educators will need 10 hours in a topic for the PDPs to count toward recertification. A topic is a single or tightly integrated area of study within an academic discipline or related to a particular method of teaching or administration.

The new recertification regulations outline minimum requirements for professional development. Educators are encouraged to participate in professional experiences that support and expand their content and professional skills beyond the minimum requirements. Districts may choose to offer additional incentives through collective bargaining for educators to go beyond the minimum requirements for recertification and continue to participate in professionally relevant and academically meaningful professional development.


Last Updated: January 1, 2001

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