Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Ten teaching standards – what is the relation to district mission and goals?
A: The ten standards provide a framework of best practices in teaching and learning and district goals should parallel curriculum and instruction needs.
Q: Are the 10 Teacher Standards listed in order of importance?
A: No, they are in no particular order. All are essential competencies that describe best practices in teaching and learning. They represent what teachers should know and be able to do.
Q: What is the role of school boards with PI-34?
A: School Boards are legally responsible to implement PI-34.
Q: Will or could there be a master list of sponsored standards-based professional development compiled for districts to use as resource for Initial Educator (IE)?
A: No, we want district specific professional development. However, regional organizations or professional associations could help coordinate these types of opportunities with school districts.
Q: How does the Professional Development Plan (PDP) team come together?
A: PI-34 states that the Educator convenes the team. It is hoped that each district will have some framework/procedures for this to occur. For example, multiple methods of communication/support are available to aid in the PDP review process (electronic meetings, e-mail plan to team, etc.).
Q: Who is responsible for the time/compensation for the review teams? The Educator? The school district?
A: This is a local decision between the school board and the union.
Q: How are teachers paid for serving on PDP teams?
A: This is a local decision between the school board and the union.
Q: When will there be training for the PDP review team?
A: DPI is conducting a pilot of the PDP process over the course of the next school year which includes training for the PDP review teams. Click here for upcoming training and events.
Q: Districts are significantly more responsible for teacher licensure than ever before. Are there legal aspects districts should be made aware of?
A: There is an appeal process in place if an Educator is not satisfied with the decision of the PDP team. Ultimately, the decisions regarding licensure (not employment) are made by the State Superintendent with assistance from her advisory group, the Professional Standards Council.
Q: For the Initial Educator license, who qualifies as a higher education representative?
A: Anyone designated by a four-year IHE with an Educator training program.
Q: Is the IHE where the Initial Educator received training responsible for providing the IHE representative for that person’s team?
A: No.
Q: Who contacts the IHE to request a representative on an IE’s PDP team?
A: This is a local decision.
Q: Who determines whether an Initial Educator (IE) license is complete in 3, 4, or 5 years?
A: The license is valid for five years. However, the initial Educator could initiate a review of his/her plan by the PDP team as early as the third year. If the PDP team verifies that the plan is complete, the Initial Educator can apply for the Professional Educator license.
Q: If Initial Educator chooses to submit his/her PDP as complete at 3 years, but it is NOT verified by team, does the Educator have a second and third chance in year 4 and 5?
A: Since the Initial Educator has the entire five-year period to meet the PDP requirements, the PDP team should continue to support the Initial Educator over year 4 and 5 so he/she can accomplish the goals of his/her plan.
Q: How will a district resolve the possibility of an Initial Educator being licensed even though they do not meet the district standards and are non-renewed?
A: Decision regarding employment will still be made on the district level. This new system of licensure will not change how things currently work.
Q: If a teacher has a five-year license before 2004 and then completes a program in school counseling after 8/31/04, can he/she renew both licenses with six credits?
A: No, a PDP is required since he/she would then be an Initial Educator in school counseling. If he/she wants to renew the Professional Educator teaching license at the same time that they get their Initial Educator license in school counseling, it will require two applications and two fees. However, when it is time to renew both, the PDP can also be used to renew the Professional Educator license and both can be renewed with one application and one fee.
Q: If, for example, a teacher who is at the Professional Educator level was licensed in social studies before 8/31/04 and then completes a program to be licensed as a science teacher after 8/31/04, is he/she an Initial Educator?
A: No. Since the teacher is adding another certification in his/her license category (teacher, pupil services, administration), the only way that someone can become an Initial Educator after being a Professional Educator is if he/she completes a program in a different category. For example, if a teacher with a Professional Educator license becomes a school counselor, then he/she would be an Initial Educator for school counseling. Similarly, if a school counselor who is at the Professional Educator level wants to be an administrator, he/she would be an Initial Educator for administration.
Q: What is the process in determining who selects peers for the Initial Educator’s PDP team?
A: This is a local decision.
Q: Whose responsibility is it to select the Initial Educator’s PDP team?
A: The administrator is designated by the school board. The peer (not the mentor) is selected by other district peers. The selection of the IHE representative is a local decision.
Q: Can the administrator serving on an Initial Educator’s review team be that person’s Principal (or must it be a different administrator)? It is a conflict of interest to some extent.
A: There is nothing in the rule to prohibit this from happening. However, it may be easier for all involved if another Principal serves on the Initial Educator’s team. Either way, it is vital that everyone realizes that the PDP process for license renewal and teacher evaluation are two separate processes.
Q: What happens if an Initial Educator cannot find employment and cannot meet the requirements to become a Professional Educator?
A: The Initial Educator license is a five-year nonrenewable license unless the individual has not been employed as an Educator for at least two years within this five-year period.
Q: How often and when are PDPs reviewed – besides when it is changed?
A: The PDP team must receive the PDP to review it at the beginning of year two (by October 1) and again in the final year (no later than January 15). The Educator must complete an annual review form in years 2, 3, and 4. This annual review form is reviewed by the PDP team only if the Educator has made major revisions to the PDP. Please see the detailed information in the “The Professional Development Plan (PDP) for Wisconsin Educators” guide.
Q: Does there have to be two goal statements? One goal for one standard – a second goal for the second standard?
A: No, a goal can include multiple standards, but it must include at least two. However, the Educator can have more than one goal if he/she wants.
Q: Does the PDP team sign off annually on the plan?
A: No, only if there are major changes in the goal(s).
Q: What does it mean for a PDP goal to be “verifiable”?
A: “Verifiable” means using documentation to confirm completion of the goal.
Q: What if an Educator can meet his/her goal in less than five years?
A: The length of the Professional Development Plan/license is five years and it requires annual review by the Educator.
Q: Who decides if a goal is “quality”?
A: The PDP team verifies the goals using the following criteria: relevancy, verifiability, impact on student learning, and impact on professional growth.
Q: How can we account for some districts having very rigorous rules for the PDP and other districts having very lax rules?
A: All districts need to use “The Professional Development Plan (PDP) for Wisconsin Educators” guide to ensure equitability unless the district has a negotiated agreement approved by the State Superintendent.
Q: How does the process work for Educators who move from one district to another? Do they get a new PDP team?
A: The PDP is the property of the Educator so it is transferable and goes with them. Yes, a new team could be formed at the new school.
Q: How do PDP’s work for non-classroom teachers such as curriculum coordinators?
A: There is a parallel process in place for Administrators (and/or Pupil Service staff).
Q: Clarify the Professional Development Plan team. Who chooses the peers? Does the district select one team per building?
A: This is a local decision.
Q: Can an Educator licensed before 2004 choose to renew with a PDP and then switch back to “old” six credits system for later renewals?
A: Yes.
Q: If an administrator comes from a small district, may they have administrators from another district serve on his/her committee?
A: Yes. This option is also applicable in other instances (i.e., pupil services).
Q: There are two paths to the Master Educator license: National Board and the Wisconsin Master Educator Assessment Process (WMEAP). Are these the only two paths recognized?
A: Yes, these are the only two paths that are recognized.
Q: What kind of license does an Educator get who obtains National Board certification?
A: A 10-year Master Educator license in the area of his/her National Board certification.
Q: Under the Master Educator guidelines, what is a related master’s degree?
A: A degree related to education and/or content area.
Q: Assessors for WMEAP includes three Educators with the same or similar jobs. This team may include a school board member – Is school board member one of the three assessors or an additional member?
A: The team can include a school board member (appointed by the State Superintendent). This person would be in addition to the three Educators.
Q: Speech Language Pathologists get a Certificate of Clinical Competence through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Can this be equated to Master Educator license or do they have to go through the whole Master Educator process?
A: These types of national certifications will be taken into account, but to become a Master Educator the entire process must be completed.
Q: How are mentors selected?
A: Local decision between the school board and union. However, PI-34 states that anyone serving as a mentor must be trained.
Q: Is appointing of mentors collaborative?
A: This is a local decision, but ultimately it is the responsibility of the school district to provide a mentor. Based on our research, best practice indicates that a collaborative approach is preferable.
Q: Do mentors need to be approved by the school board?
A: This is a local decision.
Q: What is the training requirement for mentors?
A: Mentors must be trained in the Standards and the PDP process.
Q: How long does a district need to assign a mentor to an Initial Educator?
A: PI-34 states that the length is fewer than five years. Best practice suggests at least one year, but new teacher retention data suggests three years is best.
Q: Since the mentor must have a Professional Educator license, does a currently licensed teacher under the old system qualify?
A: Yes, if they have received training to be a mentor.
Q: What does mentor input into “confidential formative assessment” mean?
A: The “formative assessment” means that the mentor will give feedback to the Initial Educator to help him/her grow. This confidential feedback will be given only to the Initial Educator. We believe that if the mentor participated in the evaluation process this would compromise his/her ability to truly mentor the Educator by impeding open communication between the two. The mentor should not be involved in evaluating the Initial Educator.
Q: I am not currently in a classroom school setting but want to do a PDP to renew my license. How?
A: Individuals not employed by a public school system may access the newly developed License Renewal Support Centers.