• PL Guidebook

  • 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

    PL 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 PL

    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).

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Resources:  Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students requires prioritizing, monitoring, and coordinating resources for educator learning.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Outcomes: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students align its outcomes with educator performance and student curriculum standards.

  • Learning Designs

    Learning Designs

    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 & 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

    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 on November 19, 2018 and April 22, 2019.
      • Campus Trade Hours: November 19, 2018
        • All PISD campuses will be closed on November 19th in exchange for Campus Trade Hours; however, the 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: April 22, 2019
        • All campuses will be closed on April 22nd in exchange for Personal Trade Hours that can be earned from June 5th, 2018 through April 12th, 2019. 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 by April 12, 2019, you must submit for unpaid leave on April 22, 2019. You will not be able to use state or local personal leave for this absence in accordance with PISD Board Policy (DEC Local).
      • 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 2018-19 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

    PL Management System

    MyLearningPlan is the district’s Professional Development Management System that allows access to employees to register for Plano ISD’s professional development and training opportunities. MyLearningPlan 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 MyLearningPlan 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

    My Learning Plan Profiles: It is essential for all employees to update their MLP profile at the beginning of every year and any time there is a change in position or evaluator. MLP profiles ensure employees  get updates about activities and opportunities that are tailored for their specific role or campus assignment. Click on the following link to see directions on how to edit My Learning Plan profiles: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9dEGQhyHSluTVJxb3lDaWl1ZUE/view.

    Documentation of training is a shared responsibility. Employees are encouraged to maintain a personal professional development portfolio. Professional development portfolios can be managed through the online MLP Workshop management system.

    • Attendance for all face-to-face professional learning activities will be entered into MLP within one week of the event.
    • Online courses will be marked complete at least once per month, or more frequently at the facilitators discretion.
    • Sign‐in sheets are the official record of attendance for all courses in MLP, and will be kept on file 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 the MLP system. To complete any of these tasks, start by selecting the LearningPlan tab.

      • To Register for a Course/Activity:
        • Register for all Professional Learning Activities in advance.
        • Select “District Catalog”, on the left navigation menu, to search all courses. After identifying a course of interest, select “Sign Up Now”. Once registered, this course will appear on your LearningPlan home screen.  
        • To Manage a Course/Activity:
          • All requests will appear on the LearningPlan home screen, with a “Manage” button appearing to the left of the course title. Choose “Manage” to see management options.    
        • To Cancel a Course/Activity:  
          • If unable to attend, participants are responsible for unregistering BEFORE the course begins.
          • After clicking “Manage” screen on the LearningPlan home screen, select “Drop”. After selecting drop, submit a reason for dropping the course.
        • To Submit Out of District Activity:
          • Select the “Out of District Activity”, on the left navigation menu, to submit learning done outside of Plano ISD.
          • Submit an artifact from your learning or a certificate of completion.

    Note:  Courses/workshops may be cancelled if enrollment is less than 10 participants

  • Professional Learning Commission

    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

    Rickishia Watson
    Sarah Head

    High School Teacher

    Jane Shea

    Middle School Teachers

    Lori Evans
    Rebecca Bilodeau

    Elementary School Teachers

    Chrystal Litman
    Martha Preston
    Wynita Harmon
    Jigyasa Sethi
    Monica Maldonado
    Jessica Pagan

    Multi-Level Representatives

    Catherine Ellis
    William Dixon

    Katherine Morales


    Sarah Watkins
    Antoine Spencer
    Andrea Cockrell
    Janis Williams
    Tramy Tran
    Cynthia Hentges

    Assistant Principals

    Kimberly Blackwell
    Beth Hubbard
    Nataushe Sibbaluca
    Catherine  Gaschen

    Kristen Fislar

    Lucia Marinez

    Campus Services

    Saul Laredo

    Renee Godi

    Family & Student Services

    DeLynn Brennan
    Matt Sipes
    Tammy Nash

    Secondary Academics

    Lisa Thibodeaux

    Stephany Sipes

    Whitney Evans

    Elementary Academics

    Laurie Taylor

    Mary Swinton

    M'Cheyl Herrera

    Talle Gomez


    Matt Frey

    MaryLynn Skinner

    Employee Services

    Jun Melvin

    Bill McLaughlin

    Edna Phythian

    Marcus Miller

    Data  & Assessment Services

    Paul Dabbs

    Special Education Services

    Angie Davis

    Robin Oldfather

    Commission Facilitator

    Ashley Helms

  • References


    Drago-Severson, E., K., Roy, P., & Frank, V. V. (2014). Reach the Highest Standard in Professional

    Learning: Learning Designs. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin/Learning Forward.

    DuFour, R., DuFour, R., Eaker, R., & Many, T. W. (2010). Learning by Doing: A Handbook for Professional

    Learning Communities at Work (2nd ed.). Solution Tree Press.

    Easton, L. B. (2015). Powerful Designs for Professional Learning. Oxford, OH: Learning Forward.

    Fullan, M., Hord, S. M., & Frank, V. V. (2015). Reach the Highest Standard in Professional Learning: Implementation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin/Learning Forward.

    Gregory, G., & Kuzmich, L. (2009). Teacher teams that get results: 61 Strategies for Sustaining and Renewing Professional Learning Communities. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

    Guskey, T. (2016). Gauge Impact With 5 Levels of Data. Learning Forward

    Guskey, T. R., Roy, P., & Frank, V. V. (2014). Reach the highest standard in professional learning: Data. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin/Learning Forward.

    Hirsh, S., & Crow, T.. (2017). Becoming a LEARNING TEAM: A guide to a teacher-led cycle of continuous improvement. Oxford, OH: Learning Forward.

    Hirsh, S., & Hord, S. M. (2012). A Playbook for Professional Learning: Putting The Standards Into Action. Oxford, OH: Learning Forward.

    Killion, J., & Harrison, C. (2006). Taking the Lead: New Roles for Teachers and School-Based Coaches. Oxford, OH.: National Staff Development Council.

    Learning Forward. (2011). Standards for Professional Learning. Oxford, OH: Author.

    Lieberman, A., Miller, L., & Frank, V. V. (2013). Reach the Highest Standard in Professional Learning: Learning Communities. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin/Learning Forward.


    Lindsey, D. B., Lindsey, R. B., Hord, S. M., & Frank, V. V. (2016). Reach the Highest Standard in Professional Learning: Outcomes. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin/Learning Forward.


    Louis, K. S., Hord, S. M., & Frank, V. V. (2015). Reach the Highest Standard in Professional Learning:

    Leadership. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin/Learning Forward.


    Marzano, R. J. (2016). Collaborative Teams That Transform Schools: The Next Step in PLCs.

    Bloomington, IN: Marzano Research.


    Miles, R., H., SOMMERS, A., Roy, P., & Frank, V. V. (2016). Reach the Highest Standard in Professional

    Learning: Resources. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin/Learning Forward.


    Murphy, Michael. (2009). Tools & Talk: Data, Conversation, and Action for Classroom and School

    Improvement. National Staff Development Council.