In keeping with the mission, vision, operational beliefs, and strategic goals of the Plano Independent School District, this Professional Learning Guidebook will be the basis for designing and implementing a systemic approach to professional learning that will build the individual and collective capacity of each PISD team member.
Professional Learning Guidance
PISD Professional Learning Vision
PlanoISD will cultivate a culture that empowers and supports all staff through collaborative, innovative, reflective learning.
PISD Professional Learning Definition
Professional Learning is a reflective and continuous growth process where learning extends into practice, positively impacting student success.
Professional Learning Expanded Definition (Adapted from ESSA)
The term ‘professional learning’ is used to describe activities that:
- are an integral part of campus and district strategies for providing educators (including teachers, principals, other school leaders, specialized instructional support personnel, paraprofessionals, and, as applicable, early childhood educators) with the knowledge and skills necessary to enable students to succeed in a well‐rounded education and to meet the challenging State academic standards; and
- are sustained, intensive, collaborative, job‐embedded, data‐driven, and classroom‐focused, and may include activities that—
- improve and increase teachers’—
- knowledge of the academic subjects the teachers teach;
- understanding of how students learn; and ability to analyze student work and achievement from multiple sources, including how to adjust instructional strategies, assessments, and materials based on such analysis;
Purposes for Professional Learning: PISD specifies three distinct purposes for professional learning including: individual growth and development; team, department and school improvement; and program implementation or district-wide initiatives, all linked to increasing student achievement.
Standards for Professional Learning
Standards for Professional Learning:
Standards for Professional Learning outline the characteristics of professional learning that lead to effective teaching practices, supportive leadership, and improved student results. The standards make explicit that the purpose of professional learning is for educators to develop the knowledge, skills, practices, and dispositions they need to help students perform at high levels. (Standards created and used with permission by Learning Forward).
- Learning Communities: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students occurs within learning communities committed to continuous improvement, collective responsibility, and goal alignment.
- Leadership: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students requires skillful leaders who develop capacity, advocate, and create support systems for professional learning.
- Resources: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students requires prioritizing, monitoring, and coordinating resources for educator learning.
- Data: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students uses a variety of sources and types of student, educator, and system data to plan, assess, and evaluate professional learning.
- Learning Designs: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students integrates theories, research, and models of human learning to achieve its intended outcomes.
- Implementation: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students applies research on change and sustains support for implementation of professional learning for long- term change.
- Outcomes: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students align its outcomes with educator performance and student curriculum standards.
Learning Designs for Effective Professional Learning:
Plano ISD offers a range of learning environments to provide high-quality learning designs: online, in-person, blended. Regardless of activity format, audience or topic; all professional learning activities should:
- Have clear learning targets and objectives,
- Connect to student learning, well-being, or overall success.
- Provide opportunities for participant reflection, and application.
- Provide opportunities for participants to learn from, for, and with each other, and
- Have defined commitments/norms for participation.
- Standard Professional Learning Commitments/Norms:
- Ask Questions
- Engage Fully
- Integrate New Information
- Open Your Mind to New & Diverse Views
- Utilize What You Learn
Professional Learning takes a variety of forms that are differentiated based upon preferences of adult learners, role related needs, and the nature of the learning. These models consist of:
- Action Research/Independent Study: Action Research is an iterative form of inquiry through which participants actively engage in examine their own educational practice, systematically and carefully, using research techniques in order to impact teacher and student learning (Watts, 1985). Action research is flexible and open, cyclical and responsive.
- College/University Coursework: A designated course of study for which District or university credit is offered.
- Book/Text Study: A small group committed to reading, discussing and applying strategies from a selected book or selection of articles.
- Collaborative Teams (PLC Process): An ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively in recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve. PLC work revolves around five essential questions:
- What do we expect our students to learn?
- How will we know they are learning?
- How will we respond when they don’t learn?
- How will we respond if they already know it?
- How will we increase our instructional capacity?
- Critical Friends Group: A form of collaborative learning team in which members commit to improving their practice through structured interactions (protocols) around solving dilemmas, creating shared understanding, generating new ideas, and refining products.
- Communities of Practice: In a community of practice, educators work together to identify or unite around a common problem or issue that they will work to collectively solve. Communities of practice are a flexible structure that allow educators to connect with one another and build community as they work through the cycle of continuous improvement.
- Instructional Rounds: Through multiple observations campus and district leaders develop a shared understanding of what high-quality instruction looks like, and discuss what schools and districts need to do to support it.
- Peer-to-Peer Learning Walks: Informal, non-evaluative peer observations focused on specific instructional practices.
- Online Courses: An online course is composed of a specific set of loosely structured learning objectives and outcomes that are supported with online activities, tools, and interactions. It can be self-paced or facilitated by an instructor.
- Online Community of Practice: An online community of practice is a group of individuals who share a practice and interact regularly about it to advance their collective knowledge using online tools. For the purposes of this checklist, online communities include both those anyone can join and those open only to members of a particular group or organization.
- Shadowing: Process of following a student or educator through one day, part of a day, or longer, experiencing what that person experiences.
- Twitter Chats: A Twitter chat is a prearranged chat that happens on Twitter through the use of Twitter status updates (called tweets) that include a predefined hashtag (such as #edchat) to link those tweets together in a virtual conversation.
- Webinar: A seminar or other presentation that takes place online, allowing participants in different locations to see and hear the presenter, ask questions, and sometimes answer polls. Webinars can take place synchronously, or can be recorded for later viewing.
- Workshops: An in-depth, interactive session in which participants work intensively to gain knowledge, methods, and skills to directly impact their practice.
Although valuable for other purposes, the following do not align with Plano definition of professional learning and development:
- Meetings that do not include a learning outcome or goal.
- Practices, performances or events that are not organized with a clear learning goal.
Evaluation, Feedback & Evidence
Evaluation, Feedback, and Evidence of Professional Learning
As professional learning aims to change educator practice in order to improve student outcomes, educators have the responsibility to gather evidence and participate in the evaluation of professional learning as part of a continuous improvement system.
Evaluation & Feedback: All facilitators should incorporate feedback and assessment of learning throughout and after all professional learning activities. Feedback and evaluation should be used as a measure for ongoing improvement and as a guide for participant support.
- Surveys, feedback forms, exit tickets, and other follow up methods should include opportunities for participants to:
- Provide feedback on their perceptions of the professional learning design/delivery and attitudes towards the professional development initiative;
- Demonstrate mastery towards the learning target and/or objective;
- Predict or plan for implementation of new learning;
- Request resources, follow-up activities, or ongoing support.
Evidence and Artifacts: In its optimum form, artifacts or evidence of professional learning should be a natural, integrated part of the work and learning process rather than an excessive added demand. The pieces of evidence to be collected should be those which are natural to the professional development activities thus requiring participants to “collect” rather than “create” evidence.
Professional Learning Requirements
All employees should model the philosophy of life-long learning and participate in professional learning activities that focus on the need to continually update knowledge in content/field, best practice, research, and technology that is relevant to the individual’s role in Plano ISD.
- Professional development at the District level is determined by district initiatives along with state and federal guidelines.
- Diversity Training Initiative: As per the PISD School Board Diversity initiative, all PISD staff members will receive training on diversity biannually.
- Yearly Compliance Training: Each year Plano ISD, in accordance with state and federal guidelines provides compliance training for all staff members. Each staff member is responsible to complete the required training by the deadline and retain certificates for verification.
- Campus/department professional development is based on alignment with the District mission and goals, campus/department needs and on improving instructional/operational practices.
Professional Development Requirements for Teachers: As the largest group of employees in PISD, teachers play a critical role in the academic success of each student. Because of this responsibility, specific professional development requirements have been established to ensure that the District maximizes resources to support teacher professional learning.
- State Board of Education (SBEC) Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Requirements Each individual who holds a Standard Certificate is responsible for renewing the certificate. The rules adopted by the Board for renewing certificates are codified at Title 19, Part VII, Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 232, Subchapter A, and are available through the Texas Education Agency (TEA) web site (http://www.tea.state.tx.us).
- Classroom teachers must complete 150 clock hours every five years
- Counselors, Librarians, Principals, Superintendents must complete 200 clock hours every five years
- Plano ISD Board Policy: All teachers are expected to earn 30 professional learning clock hours every “professional development calendar year” (See DMA Local). These hours are provided through campus and district designated days, are data informed and have specific learning targets and outcomes.
- A “professional development calendar year” is defined as the first day after the close of the school year to the last day of the following school year.
- Trade Hours: In addition to the district and campus designated Professional Learning days you will be required to earn 15 Professional Learning Trade Hours that you will use in lieu of working two contract days.
- Campus Trade Hours:
- All PISD campuses will be closed on Trade Days. However, those hours will be offered and documented throughout the year by each campus.
- Each campus principal will schedule the professional learning that will count towards the 7.5 Campus Trade Hours. This learning will be focused on campus needs and designed to impact teachers and teams.
- Personal Trade Hours:
- All campuses will be closed in exchange for Personal Trade Hours that can be earned throughout the school year. The learning that teachers choose to attend for their 7.5 Personal Trade Hours must be approved by their principal/supervisor and should support their Teacher Professional Goal, Campus Improvement Plan, identified student needs, or in some way impact instructional practice.
- All teachers are expected to pursue professional learning on an on-going basis, however; if you choose not to record these hours or accrue hours in this manner you must submit for unpaid leave. You will not be able to use state or local personal leave for this absence in accordance with PISD Board Policy (DEC Local).
- Campus Trade Hours:
- Accruing Trade Hours: These hours must be earned outside of the regular work day, or on non-contract days. For additional information please check out the Trade Hour FAQ’s.
- Additional Professional Learning Requirements based on teacher role or current assignment:
- Gifted and Talented Training: All teachers serving GT Students are required to complete a 30 hour initial training, and then a 6 hour update each year.
- Dyslexia Training: Dyslexia training is required for educators who teach students with dyslexia and must include new research and practices in educating students with dyslexia.
- Science Safety Training: All new to Plano ISD secondary (6th-12th grade) science teachers are required to complete safety training prior to the first day school, or working with students.
PL Management System
PowerSchool Develop is the district’s Professional Development Management System that allows access to employees to register for Plano ISD’s professional development and training opportunities. PowerSchool also provides access to on-demand professional learning resources that create a highly personalized learning experience for all educators to improve practice and raise student achievement. Staff can browse the catalog for the activities that will enhance their professional/job skills, or search the catalog for specific activities recommended by their supervisor or principal. Plano ISD utilizes PowerSchool to:
- Standardize the process for tracking and reporting professional learning
- Standardize groups and categories in a concise manner to assist team members in their searches for professional learning offerings
- Facilitate the transfer of professional learning hours via the import/export of portfolios
- House and facilitate online professional learning
Documentation of training is a shared responsibility. Employees are encouraged to maintain a personal professional development portfolio. Professional development portfolios can be managed through PowerSchool.
- Attendance for all face-to-face professional learning activities will be entered into PowerSchool within one week of the event.
- Online courses will be marked complete at least once per month, or more frequently at the facilitator's discretion.
- Sign‐in sheets are the official record of attendance for all courses in PowerSchool, and electronic copies of all sign-in sheets will be kept (through Google Drive) for three years following the professional learning activity.
- Credit will not be granted to anyone who has not signed the course attendance sheet.
Managing Professional Learning Activities: Each employee is responsible to register, manage and/or cancel registrations through PowerSchool..
- To Register for a Course/Activity:
- Register for all Professional Learning Activities in advance.
- Select “Course Search” to search all courses. After identifying a course of interest, select the blue “Register” button. Once registered, this course will appear on your PowerSchool home screen under "My Courses".
- To Cancel a Course/Activity:
- If unable to attend, participants are responsible for unregistering BEFORE the course begins.
- All courses will appear on your PowerSchool home screen, Select the “Manage and Withdraw from Courses” button to withdraw from a course
- To Submit Out of District Activity:
- Select the “Out of District Activity” button on the toolbar at the top of the screen to submit learning done outside of Plano ISD.
- Submit an artifact from your learning for a certificate of completion.
Note: Courses/workshops may be cancelled if enrollment is less than 10 participants
Professional Learning Commission
Plano ISD created the Professional Learning Commission composed of representatives from various departments, campuses and programs. Representatives nominated by their supervisors and selected by a committee. Once selected this team was asked to make an initial 18 month commitment to work with together to create this guidebook and its supporting resources.
Senior High Teachers
High School Teacher
Middle School Teachers
Elementary School Teachers
Family & Student Services
Data & Assessment Services
Special Education Services
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