Professional Growth Planning FAQ

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.

Certification Renewal Requirements

What are the certification renewal requirements?

Administrators with a Professional level certificate have always been required to complete four PGPs during the five-year validity of their certificate. 

Completion of four PGPs during the five-year validity of a certificate meets renewal requirements for Professional level and Continuing level certificates.

For Professional level certificates issued prior to September 1, 2014 for Teachers, School Counselors and School Psychologists there are four options for renewing the certificate.
  • Continue to use 150 clock hours or equivalent college credit for renewal.
  • Or, renew by completing four PGPs during the five-year validity date of the certificate
  • Or, renew by combining completed PGPs with clock hours for a total of 150 hours. (e.g. 3 PGPs + 60 CH = 150 CH)
  • Or, by possession of a valid certificate issued by National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, or the National Association of School Psychologists

For Professional level certificates issued after September 1, 2014 for Teachers, Administrators, School Counselors and School Psychologists the only option for renewing the certificate is by completing four PGPs during the five-year validity dates of the certificate.


Continuing level certificate holders have four options for renewing the certificate. There are no changes to these renewal requirements.
  • Continue to use 150 clock hours or equivalent college credit for renewal.
  • Or, renew by completing four PGPs during the five-year validity date of the certificate
  • Or, renew by combining completed PGPs with clock hours for a total of 150 hours. (e.g. 3 PGPs + 60 CH = 150 CH)
  • Or, by possession of a valid certificate issued by National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, or the National Association of School Psychologists

Residency level certificates must lead to the completion of ProTeach for teachers; a ProCert program  for administrators and ESAs; or National Board Certification.
Initial level certificates  must progress to the Continuing level by the requirements of the appropriate certificated role.

What do I do with my completed PGP?

Keep it. Each educator is responsbile for keeping the original copy of the signed PGP in case of an audit. Educators verify completion of the PGP when renewing a certificate through the e-cert system. 


Does this apply to me?

The information lists School Counselors and School Psychologists as being included as ESA staff. What about other ESA roles other than those? Are they affected by the certification renewal changes?

Other ESA roles including School Nurse, SLP, PT, OT, and School Social Worker will not have any changes to renewing their certificates. Holders of these certificates may choose any of the following options for renewing their certificate.
  • Continue to use 150 clock hours or equivalent college credit for renewal.
  • Or, renew by completing four PGPs during the five-year validity date of the certificate
  • Or, renew by combining completed PGPs with clock hours for a total of 150 hours. (e.g. 3 PGPs + 60 CH = 150 CH)

I have a Standard certificate that says I can teach any subject K-12, and it doesn't have an expiration date. Am I affected by any of these changes?

No. Those holding the undated, unendorsed “lifetime,” “golden ticket,” standard certificate issued prior to 1987 are not affected because they do not need to renew their certificate. 



What if I'm not in the role?

I plan on taking a few years off then returning to work before my certificate expires. How do I complete the required 4 PGPs in 5 years if I'm not working?

Individuals who are not working in the role (teacher, administrator, ESA) have other options to renew their  professional certificate if completing PGPs during the leave becomes problematic. WAC 181-79A-251 allows individuals not in the role to renew by: 
  • Completion of 150 clock hours or equivalent college credit.
  • Or, completing four PGPs during the five-year validity date of the certificate
  • Or, combining completed PGPs with clock hours for a total of 150 hours. (e.g. 3 PGPs + 60 CH = 150 CH)


Templates

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

Yes. The state template is required. 

What form do I use for salary advancement?

Form 1128-8-ER Annual PGP Verification is to be used to verify completion of annual professional growth plans to document continuing education credit hours (clock hours) and PGP equivalency. This verification form may be used by school districts to determine eligibility for application to the salary schedule.

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."


Needs Assessment / Goals / Benchmarks

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, or may be availalbe through a local school district. The information you review will be based on the context in which you serve. For example, teachers may want to consider their students' MSP, HSPE, or EOC results, while administrators and ESAs who have recently completed ProCert programs may want to consider the score report from their panel presentation. Other potential sources of information are educational research, school / district improvement plans, input from colleagues / supervisor, past evaluations, evidence of impact on student learning, and self-evaluations.

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

No. We recommend limiting the number of goals to 2 - 3 to focus your efforts on those goals.

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

No. Because a needs assessment must be completed 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 will 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


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

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

Multiple Roles or Certificates

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 completes the requirement for renewal.


Reviewers

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

A colleague must be a Washington certificated educator 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.


PGP and Evaluation

Why are the standards listed on the PGP Pilot 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-related goals and benchmarks, where the PGP can be used for the educator's professional growth beyond job-related duties.
 
Can I use the growth activities from my focus 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 Cert Renewal

  1. Insert the goals from your focused evaluation.
  2. Describe the rationale used to determine the goals.
  3. Align them with the career level standards for the appropriate certificate you are renewing.
  4. List the activities you will engage in and the evidence that will show progress toward the goals
  5. After you have completed the activities, describe the evidence you collected and how it relates to the activities.
  6. Reflect on the learning as a result of the activities.
  7. Review the plan and results of activities with a WA certificated educator (this may be the supervisor who oversaw your focused evaluation if agreeable to both parties).
  8. Have the WA certificated educator sign the PGP Form 1697
    • Understand: The intentional misrepresentation of a material fact in this form subjects the certificate holder to revocation of his/her certificate pursuant to chapter 180-85 WAC.
  9. Keep the signed PGP, and related documents, in your records until one year after the expiration date of the applicable certificate.

PGP from Preparation Program or ProTeach

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 practice PGP focusing on the next level of standards must be developed. This is an opportunity to learn about how to develop and organize a professional growth plan. The PGP for certificate renewal focuses only on career level standards whereas a PGP for program completion of a Residency program would focus on the professional level standards which are the next step up from residency.

May I use the draft PGP developed during my preparation program?

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. 


What is the PGP I have to include for my ProTeach Portfolio?

When completing the ProTeach Portfolio in Washington state, a practice PGP focusing on the next level of standards must be developed. This is an opportunity to learn about how to develop and organize a professional growth plan. Educators renew their professional-tier certificate by completing four annual PGPs during the five-year validity of the certificate. Educators may apply the goals and growth activities from their focus evaluations towards the PGP. Align the goals with the appropriate professional-level benchmarks. Activities listed should lead to accomplishing the goals.



Tips for Success

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.

Are there completed samples of PGPs I can view?

Examples of completed PGPs can be viewed at PGP Samples by role.  

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."


Salary Advancement

How do the annual PGPs work toward salary advancement?

Individuals who complete the requirements of the annual professional growth plan to renew their professional certificate shall receive the equivalent of thirty (30) hours of continuing education credit hours (WAC 181-79A-251). 

Form 1128-8-ER Annual PGP Verification is to be used to verify completion of annual professional growth plans to document continuing education credit hours (clock hours) and PGP equivalency. This verification form may be used by school districts to determine eligibility for application to the salary schedule.


STEM Integration required

How much of my continuing education, or what portion of my annual PGP needs to be about STEM integration?

At this point there is no defined percentage or amount of continuing education that needs to include STEM integration. Until this is further defined, it is suggested that at least one professional development / continuing education activity per year should include STEM integration.


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, PE who are teaching at the elementary school level without an Elementary Education (K-8) endorsement are not affected.



National Board Certification and PGPs

Do I have to complete the annual PGPs to renew my National Board Certificate? 

No. Maintaining a valid National Board Certification maintains your Washington Professional certificate.

What if I already have a Professional cert, 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 will align the goals and activities you plan to complete while working toward NBC 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 same overall goal since you may be completing additional and different elements of NBC. Remediation or re-submission of NB applications also act as professional growth and development since you are working to improve your performance, and fit with the intent of the PGP for Certificate Renewal. The PGPs you complete during your pursuit of NBC can be used for meeting certificate renewal requirements. Once you've achieved National Board Certification you will use it to renew your Washington Professional certificate.