Professional Growth Planning FAQ
Note: Questions about an individual's certificate or testing status should be directed to the OSPI Certification office.

Contents

  1. 1 Completing and Recording a Professional Growth Plan
    1. 1.1 How many clock hours are Professional Growth Plans equivalent to?
    2. 1.2 What do I do with my completed PGP template?
    3. 1.3 How do I record my PGP for certificate renewal?
    4. 1.4 How do I record my PGP for potential salary advancement?
    5. 1.5 Who is authorized to serve as a “colleague” for PGP review purposes?
    6. 1.6 Am I required to use the Form 1697 PGP Template for Certification Renewal?
    7. 1.7 What is the difference between a PGP for program completion and a PGP for certificate renewal?
    8. 1.8 May I use the PGP for program completion for certificate renewal? 
  2. 2 PGPs and Certificate Renewal
    1. 2.1 What is a Professional Growth Plan (PGP)?
    2. 2.2 What are the certification renewal requirements?
    3. 2.3 What is the STEM certificate renewal requirement? May I meet this with a PGP?
    4. 2.4 I'm an elementary teacher, do I have to include STEM integration as part of my professional development?
    5. 2.5 What is the TPEP professional development requirement for certificate renewal?  May I meet this with a PGP?
  3. 3 Who may complete a PGP? What if I have multiple certificates?
    1. 3.1 I have an undated residency certificate--it does not have an expiration date. May I complete a PGP?
    2. 3.2 I have a Standard certificate that says I can teach any subject K-12, and it doesn't have an expiration date. May I complete a PGP?
  4. 4 What if I'm not in the role?
    1. 4.1 I plan on taking a few years off then returning to work before my certificate expires. May I complete PGPs if I'm not working?
    2. 4.2 I serve in multiple roles for my district. Does my PGP need to focus on all of my roles?
    3. 4.3 I hold multiple certificates. Do I have to complete a PGP for each certificate? 
  5. 5 Focused Evaluations and Professional Growth Plans
    1. 5.1 Why are the standards listed on the PGP webpage different from the eight evaluation standards?
    2. 5.2 Can I use the growth activities from my focused evaluation for my PGP?
    3. 5.3 I want to apply my focused evaluation growth activities toward my PGP for this year. How do I do that?
  6. 6 Support materials and helpful hints for PGP Completion
    1. 6.1 What is a needs assessment and what information should I consider during my needs assessment?
    2. 6.2 Where do I find the "career level" benchmarks for my role?
    3. 6.3 Are there completed examples of PGPs I can view?
    4. 6.4 Is there a rubric to help guide me as I fill out my PGP?
    5. 6.5 Are there a minimum number of goals/activities required in a PGP?
    6. 6.6 May my PGP goals and activities remain the same in upcoming years?
    7. 6.7 Is it acceptable for a team of educators such as professional learning communities to complete a single PGP?
    8. 6.8 What are the common mistakes made when implementing a PGP?
  7. 7 Professional Growth Plans and National Board Certification
    1. 7.1 If I am an NBCT, do I have to complete PGPs to renew my professional or continuing certificate?
    2. 7.2 What if I already have a Professional or Continuing certificate, but I want to pursue National Board certification? How does that fit into a PGP?

Completing and Recording a Professional Growth Plan

How do I complete a Professional Growth Plan?
  1. Complete the PGP template.
  2. Attach evidence from your focused evaluation, PLC, project, or other learning experience.
  3. Have a certificated educator in Washington state review and sign.
  4. Turn in the verification form to your HR office for consideration for salary advancement AND record in OSPI e-certification for certificate renewal.
Why PGPs? is a one-page flyer for educators on the PGP process. 

Only one PGP may be completed each year. PGPs for certificate renewal must be completed prior to June 30 of each year. Completion includes having a certificated educator review, sign, and date the PGP template form.

How many clock hours are Professional Growth Plans equivalent to?

Professional Growth Plans are worth the equivalent of 30 clock hours. Beginning July 1, 2018 Professional Growth Plans will be worth the equivalent of 25 clock hours.

What do I do with my completed PGP template?

Keep it for your records. Each educator is responsible for keeping the original copy of the signed PGP in case of an audit. 

How do I record my PGP for certificate renewal?

PGPs for for certificate renewal are recorded through e-Certification

How do I record my PGP for potential salary advancement?

Individuals who complete the requirements of the annual professional growth plan to renew their professional certificate shall receive the equivalent of 30 hours of continuing education credit hours (WAC 181-79A-251). Beginning July 1, 2018  each PGP will be worth the equivalent of 25 clock hours.

Clock hours for completion of a PGP may be eligible for salary advancement. After completion of a PGP, the educator submits a PGP verification form to the school district or agency human resources office. This verification form may be used by school districts to determine eligibility for application of clock hours to the salary schedule.

Who is authorized to serve as a “colleague” for PGP review purposes?

The colleague who reviews a PGP must be a Washington state certificated educator. This could be a certificated colleague within or outside of the school or district, certificated staff members at the educators’ professional association (WEA, AWSP, WASA, etc.), ESD consultants or administrators, professional learning community members, department chair or members, team teacher, grade or cross grade level team members, or supervisor. Paraprofessionals or others in non-certificated roles are not eligible to sign off on the review of a PGP.

Am I required to use the Form 1697 PGP Template for Certification Renewal?

Yes. The state template Form 1697 is required.

What is the difference between a PGP for program completion and a PGP for certificate renewal?

When completing an educator preparation program in Washington state, a PGP focusing on the residency level standards is developed. This is an opportunity to learn about how to develop and organize a professional growth plan. The PGP for certificate renewal is completed by in-service educators and focuses on the career level standards. 

May I use the PGP for program completion for certificate renewal? 

No. The PGP developed during the preparation program focuses on a different level of benchmarks for the standards, and the needs assessment may not reflect the role in which the educator is serving when employed in the field. The needs assessment for the PGP for certificate renewal may well include a review of the draft PGP from the residency program; however, the draft PGP for program completion may not be used verbatim for the PGP for certificate renewal. 

PGPs and Certificate Renewal

What is a Professional Growth Plan (PGP)?

WAC 181-79A-030 (15) defines a professional growth plan as:
(a) Teacher individualized professional growth plan means the document which identifies the specific competencies, knowledge, skills and experiences needed to meet the standards at the "career level" benchmarks as published by the professional educator standards board.
(b) Principal/program administrator individualized professional growth plan means the document which identifies the specific competencies, knowledge, skills and experiences needed to meet the standards at the "career level" benchmarks set forth in WAC 181-78A-540(1).
(c) ESA individualized professional growth plan means the document which identifies the specific competencies, knowledge, skills and experiences needed to meet the standards and career level benchmarks set forth in WAC 181-78A-540(2).

Essentially a PGP is a plan an educator intends to implement for growth over the coming year. Educators strive to instill a sense of "life-long learning" in the students they work with, and this is a natural extension of that philosophy. By working towards the "career level" benchmarks of the educator standards for the appropriate role, an educator is expected to continue to grow professionally while becoming more proficient in knowledge and skills already developed. 

Since the plan for growth is developed early in the school year, there is the possibility that a shift in the goals may be necessary. This is allowable as long as the educator has discussed the reason for modifying any goals with the certificated colleague who will review the work and outcomes of the PGP. 

The PGP for Certification Renewal has a different focus and intent than the previous PGP for Clock Hours used years ago. 

A PGP for program completion requires a different form than a PGP for Certificate renewal. PGPs for program completion are aligned to the residency level benchmarks. PGPs for certificate renewal are aligned to the career level benchmarks.

What are the certification renewal requirements?

Residency, professional, and continuing certificate holders, in the roles of teacher, administrator, and ESA, have the following options to renew their certificates: 
  • 100 clock hours or the equivalent in college credit 
  • Or completing four annual PGPs during the five-year validity date of the certificate
  • Or combining completed PGPs with clock hours for a total of 100 hours (e.g. 3 PGPs + 25 CH = 100 CH)
  • Or, for professional or continuing certificates for teachers or counselors, possessing a valid certificate issued by National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
  • Or, for school psychologists, possessing a valid certificate issued by the National Association of School Psychologists
Additional certification renewal requirements may apply depending on certificate type and role. Please see the OSPI Certification site for more information.

What is the STEM certificate renewal requirement? May I meet this with a PGP?

Beginning September 1, 2019 renewal applications for residency, professional, and continuing teacher and CTE certificates must document completion of at least 15 clock hours, or at least one goal from an annual professional growth plan (PGP), with an emphasis on STEM integration to meet this renewal requirement.  

STEM integration is the authentic combination of at least two of the STEM components (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). The requirement applies to the following endorsement areas: 
  • Elementary Education (K-8) endorsement 
  • Early Childhood Education (P-3) endorsement 
  • Mathematics (5-12) 
  • Middle Level Math (4-9) 
  • Middle Level Science (4-9) 
  • Science (5-12) 
  • Designated Sciences (5-12): Biology, Chemistry, Earth & Space Science, Physics 
  • Technology Education 
  • CTE Teachers 
The STEM certificate renewal requirement is considered to be met by holders of a valid National Board Certificate.
Please see the OSPI Certification page on the STEM certificate renewal requirement for more information. STEM certificate renewal RCW may be found here.

I'm an elementary teacher, do I have to include STEM integration as part of my professional development?

Yes. Elementary teachers are included since science and math subject areas are included within the Elementary Education endorsement. Those holding Early Childhood Education endorsements are also included in this requirement. Those endorsed in arts, music, and PE who are teaching at the elementary school level without an Elementary Education (K-8) endorsement are not affected. 

What is the TPEP professional development requirement for certificate renewal?  May I meet this with a PGP?

Beginning September 1, 2019 renewal applications for professional and continuing teacher, administrator, and CTE certificates must document completion of at least 15 clock hours, or at least one goal from an annual professional growth plan (PGP), related to the knowledge and competency of the teacher and principal evaluation criteria or system. This is not required for residency certificate renewal. 

Please see the OSPI Certification page on the TPEP certificate renewal requirement for more information. TPEP certificate renewal RCW may be found here

The TPEP certificate renewal requirement is considered to be met by holders of a valid National Board Certificate.

Who may complete a PGP? What if I have multiple certificates?

I have an undated residency certificate--it does not have an expiration date. May I complete a PGP?

Holders of residency certificates without expiration dates (also called undated residency certificates, residency first issue (FI), or residency provisional status (PS) certificates) are eligible for reissuance of a residency certificate with an expiration date (a dated residency certificate) once the educator has completed a certain amount of experience in the role. Please see the OSPI Certification site for more information. PGPs, clock hours, or the equivalent in credits, may not be completed for certificate renewal until the educator has a certificate with an expiration date.

Clock hours for completion of a PGP may be eligible for salary advancement. The educator submits a PGP verification form to the school district or agency human resources office. This verification form may be used by school districts to determine eligibility for application of clock hours to the salary schedule.

I have a Standard certificate that says I can teach any subject K-12, and it doesn't have an expiration date. May I complete a PGP?

Those holding the undated, unendorsed “lifetime” or “golden ticket,” standard certificate issued prior to 1987 do not need to renew their certificates and therefore do not need to complete PGPs for certificate renewal.

Clock hours for completion of a PGP may be eligible for salary advancement. The educator submits a PGP verification form to the school district or agency human resources office. This verification form may be used by school districts to determine eligibility for application of clock hours to the salary schedule.

What if I'm not in the role?

I plan on taking a few years off then returning to work before my certificate expires. May I complete PGPs if I'm not working?

Individuals who are not working, or who are not in the role, may choose to complete a PGP through "borrowing" a classroom or otherwise arranging access to the appropriate environment. All PGP requirements, including alignment of the PGP to the relevant benchmarks and review of the PGP by a certificated colleague, still apply. Educators who are not in the role may also choose to renew their certificates with clock hours or credits.

I serve in multiple roles for my district. Does my PGP need to focus on all of my roles?

No. The PGP is your professional growth plan determined by your professional growth needs. Many educators will choose to orient their PGP toward the role they currently hold. 

I hold multiple certificates. Do I have to complete a PGP for each certificate? 

No. A completed PGP will count toward all certificates requiring an annual PGP as part of certificate renewal. For example, an educator who holds a professional teacher certificate and a professional administrator certificate only needs to complete one PGP per year. A total of four PGPs completed during the validity dates of the certificate, or a combination of PGPs and clock hours, completes the requirement for renewal.

Focused Evaluations and Professional Growth Plans

Why are the standards listed on the PGP webpage different from the eight evaluation standards?

The standards for certification are similar, but not verbatim, to the standards for evaluation. This is purposeful. Separation exists between the certification and evaluation processes as educators cannot lose their certificate(s) due to evaluation issues. The evaluation standards may also reflect more job-specific related goals and benchmarks, whereas the PGP can be used for the educator's professional growth beyond current job-related duties. 

Can I use the growth activities from my focused evaluation for my PGP?

Yes. RCW 28A.405.100 allows educators to apply the growth activities from the focus evaluation years as part of their professional growth plans. Some educators may choose to supplement these growth activities with other goals,or to complete an entirely separate and distinct PGP from their TPEP evaluation. 

I want to apply my focused evaluation growth activities toward my PGP for this year. How do I do that?

Complete Form 1697 PGP Template for Certificate Renewal. Your professional growth goals may consist of supporting your students in meeting your student growth goals, in which case you would insert the student growth goals from your focused evaluation. Attach evidence you have gathered in the course of completing your focused evaluation. Make sure to respond to all the questions on the PGP template, and have a certificated colleague review and sign.

Support materials and helpful hints for PGP Completion

What is a needs assessment and what information should I consider during my needs assessment?

A needs assessment is a thoughtful and reflective consideration of areas an educator feels the need to improve in. There is no required form to fill out for a needs assessment, though sample needs assessments are avaible on the PESB website. The information you review will be based on the context in which you serve. Potential sources of information are educational research, school / district improvement plans, input from colleagues / supervisor, past evaluations, formative assessments, classroom or state summative assessment results, evidence of impact on student learning, and self-evaluations. 

Where do I find the "career level" benchmarks for my role?

The benchmarks (aka criteria or standards) at the "career level" for each educator role are found here: Career Level Standards for PGPs. 

Are there completed examples of PGPs I can view?

Examples of completed PGPs can be viewed at PGP Samples by role.  Both "needs work" examples and "acceptable" examples are provided.

Is there a rubric to help guide me as I fill out my PGP?

Yes. Here is a sample PGP Rubric. Educators are encouraged to work with their colleague to make sure everyone is in agreement of what "Meets Expectations." This rubric is offered as assistance, not as a requirement.

Are there a minimum number of goals/activities required in a PGP?

No. We recommend limiting the number of goals to 1 - 3 to focus your efforts on those goals.

May my PGP goals and activities remain the same in upcoming years?

No. Because the results of a needs assessment would change each year, a new PGP form will be completed each year. While the needs assessment may indicate a continuation of a previous year's focus, a PGP may not be copied verbatim from year to year. 

Is it acceptable for a team of educators such as professional learning communities to complete a single PGP?

No. Each educator would complete his / her own needs assessment and complete his / her own PGP using the required template. While there may be similarities across PGPs for educators working on common activities, a team of educators completing PGPs that are verbatim or nearly verbatim to each other is grounds for certificate revocation.

What are the common mistakes made when implementing a PGP?

Educators who have experience in implementing effective PGPs provide the following words of wisdom: 
  • Focus your PGP on your professional growth, not on your job responsibilities. 
  • Be sure your PGP is realistic. Setting six goals for the year seems ambitious in September, but cumbersome by January. 
  • Manage your time well. Reviewing your plan with your colleague throughout the year will help renew your focus on your goals so you aren't in a rush to complete your activities at the end of the school year. 

Professional Growth Plans and National Board Certification

If I am an NBCT, do I have to complete PGPs to renew my professional or continuing certificate?

No. You may renew your Washington state professional or continuing certificate with a valid National Board Certificate. 

What if I already have a Professional or Continuing certificate, but I want to pursue National Board certification? How does that fit into a PGP?

Pursuing National Board certification is a rigorous means of professional development. You may base your annual PGP on pursuing National Board certification. You could align the goals and activities you plan to complete while working toward National Board Certification with the appropriate Washington "career" level benchmarks, and document the evidence and reflection of your growth for your colleague as you complete that PGP. 

Since it may take more than one year to earn National Board certification, you may base the next year's PGP on the components of National Board certification you will be completing that year. Remediation or re-submission of National Board components also acts as professional growth and development since you are working to improve your performance and fits with the intent of the PGP for Certificate Renewal. The PGPs you complete during your pursuit of National Board Certification can be used for meeting certificate renewal requirements. Once you've achieved National Board Certification,  you can use that valid National Board Certificate to renew your Washington state professional or continuing certificate.