4120 - Professional Development

Policy 4120 Professional Development title box

It is the policy of the Directors of the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union, Bennington School District, Inc., Mount Anthony Union School District, North Bennington Graded School District, Pownal School District, Shaftsbury School District, and Woodford School to provide quality, needs-based professional development for all staff, in alignment with system goals listed below:
  • All students will achieve high academic standards and work place skills & strategies.
  • At all levels of the system, high performing staff will support student success.
  • Student healthy lifestyle choices will increase and risky behaviors will decrease.
  • Enhanced communication with all educational stakeholders will support student success.
  • An environment which enhances student learning will be maintained

Funding Priorities

The master contract shall set the prevailing standard regarding course/conference reimbursements regardless of funding source. The Board recognizes the contribution made by the various grants to enhance staff development opportunities. In compliance with grant requirements to not supplant district funds, priority funding of staff development activities through the various grant programs shall be given to activities that support curricular efforts and the needs of students using the same criteria as that used to expend local dollars. Exceptions to this policy, whether in relation to individual contractual entitlements or funding priorities, will be granted only by specific prior approval of the Superintendent.

Policy 4120 warning and adoption dates
Administrative Procedures revised February 2015

Administrative Regulations for Policy # 4120

1. At the request of the Superintendent or his/her designee, a teacher may, from time to time, be requested to attend a conference or workshop which is determined to be of special value to the district and which meets the specific and identified need for professional development. If a teacher is so requested to attend said conference/workshop, the expenses for such attendance shall not be subject to the regulations set forth in Article 21.2 and 21.3 of the Agreement. In this case, your eligibility for professional leave time or course/conference benefit will not be reduced as a result of this request.

Example 1: A special needs child moves into a classroom and the teacher has an immediate need to gain expertise in the area of special need.

Example 2: New laws and regulations require attendance to meet system needs.

2. Teacher’s Collective Bargaining Agreement 21.5 - Reimbursement for professional development opportunities shall be directly related to the district's long-range curriculum and staff development plan, the state and district approved Vocational Certification Professional Development Plan or the state approved Administrator Certification Professional Development plan.

Therefore, criteria for approval will include:

Course work and Conference linked to system (SVSU Improvement Plan) and/or building action/Improvement plans, to meet achievement goals.

Individual Professional Development Plan (IPDP) linked to system / building plans (above) per School Quality Standards and Contract.

Vocational Certification Professional Development Plan

Administrator Certification Professional Development Plan

Educator Certification and HQ Professional Development Plan.

The course/conference request form will also include:
  • Provide district/school improvement goal that the course/conference you are requesting meets.
  • Provide the source of evidence/data/research that will document that the course/conference you are requesting meets student needs?
  • How will you implement your learning from your opportunity (e.g. lesson plans, student data, share with other staff)?
  • Does the course/conference your are requesting meet a state and district approved Vocational Certification Professional Development Plan? (Yes, No, NA)
  • Does the course/conference you are requesting meet a state approved Administrator Certification Professional Development Plan? (Yes, No, NA)
  • Does the course/conference you are requesting meet a state approved educator Certification Professional Development Plan? (Yes, No, NA)
3. General
After meeting the approval criteria teachers will be granted their 1st and 2nd opportunities up to the financial support granted by the agreement. Optional 3rd opportunities may be granted if funding allows. In no case will there be funding for a 4th opportunity. Opportunities will be granted on a first come, first served basis during each fiscal year. Course/conference reimbursement is for tuition only: any lab fees, books, technology equipment, etc. are the responsibility of the person attending. Tuition reimbursement is limited to the current UVM rate. Travel to and from a college course is not reimbursable.

OTHER: The form will have a reminder to teachers:
IF YOU HAVE RECEIVED APPROVAL FOR A COURSE OR CONFERENCE AND, FOR SOME REASON, DO NOT ATTEND OR INTEND TO ATTEND SUCH COURSE OR CONFERENCE, PLEASE IMMEDIATELY NOTIFY THE PERSON WHO GRANTED THE APPROVAL SO THAT THE FUNDS CAN BE RE-ALLOCATED AND/OR A PERSON ON A WAITING LIST CAN TAKE THAT SPOT.

4. The Superintendent or his/her designee may, from time to time, authorize attendance at a national conference/course of special value to the district and which meets the specific and identified need for professional development beyond those normally authorized under 21.3 of the Agreement. The Board shall reimburse the teacher for those reasonable expenses associated with participation, including travel expense, board and room and registration costs to the maximum amount per fiscal year available as professional development reimbursement for six (6) semester hours under Article 21.2 of the Agreement. Course/conference reimbursement is for tuition only: any lab fees, books, technology equipment, etc. are the responsibility of the person attending. Tuition reimbursement is limited to the current UVM rate. Travel to and from a college course is not reimbursable. This professional reimbursement shall be limited to six teachers per fiscal year and in no case shall one teacher avail his/herself of this benefit more than one time every four (4) fiscal years.

Example: A teacher might be allowed to use up to the total amount of professional development reimbursement dollars to attend one national conference (up to 2 UVM courses at the current UVM rate).

5. Request Procedures:

A. Prior approval is required for any professional day, conference or college course. Your principal must sign the request before it is sent to Central Office for processing.
B. Please allow at least two weeks to process such requests. SVSU contract courses do not require pre payment for any staff member.
C. When submitting forms for approval or reimbursement you must include all requested information on the form.
D. If you have received approval for a course or conference and, for some reason, do not attend the course or conference, please immediately notify Central Office in writing so that those dollars can be reallocated and/or a person on a waiting list can attend.
E. When graduate credits are available at conferences, these credits are counted as an additional request. As with courses, these requests must be submitted for prior approval for reimbursement and final grades must be submitted in addition to a certificate of completion of the conference.
F. Any request dealing with reimbursement of expenses is considered one request for the year. This includes small items such as mileage.
G. Course reimbursement is for tuition only: any lab fees, books, technology equipment, etc. are the responsibility of the person attending. Tuition reimbursement is limited to the current UVM rate. Travel to and from a college course is not reimbursable.
H. Please submit receipts for any and all conference expenses incurred, including registration fees (e.g. copies of cancelled checks or credit card bills with your account number blacked out) and certificates of completion.
I. Documentation that courses or conferences have been satisfactorily completed must be attached to the expense reimbursement form in order to receive reimbursement. Remember that there are no allowances for gratuities, tips, alcohol, personal phone calls, movie rentals, etc.

Professional Learning Quality
Professional Learning Rubric
2014-15


The Vermont Standards Board for Professional Educators has updated the standards to reflect current research and experience from the field about professional learning. Research in the last decade on professional learning has strengthened the consensus on the elements of effective professional learning. The seven new standards focus attention on educator learning that relates to successful student learning and require professional learning that is interactive, relevant, sustained and embedded in everyday practice.

The new standards’ emphasis on professional learning over professional development is perhaps the most significant shift. Traditionally professional development has referred to activities teachers participate in, such as coursework, conferences, workshops, institutes, mentoring, or action research. Professional development is typically led by external experts who provide little follow-up to educators following the event. Professional development also rarely differentiates among teachers or taps their prior knowledge or experience. Professional learning, on the other hand, refers to a planned and organized process where educators are actively engaged in continuous improvement.

Professional learning is collaborative, evidence-based, embedded in an educators’ day, and sustained across the school year with opportunities to reflect. Educators work to align their professional learning with their professional goals and with school and district improvement goals. The SVSU Professional Development Team has been working to align professional learning opportunities with the new standards. Some improvements include collaborative ELA, math, and science leadership teams, grade level math implementation teams, curriculum development teams, data and leadership teams. As we continue to focus on improving student learning in all schools, we will be monitoring and making decisions on all requests for professional learning opportunities according to these updated, evidence based standards. (Article 21, SVSU NEA Contract)

VSBPE Professional Learning Standards

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 (District and School Improvement Plans)
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 teacher 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, access, and evaluate professional learning.
LEARNING DESIGN: 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 aligns its outcomes with educator performance and student curriculum standards.
Federal Research Based Standards

Are an integral part of broad school wide and district wide educational improvement plans; give teachers and principals the knowledge and skills to help students meet challenging academic standards.


Models of professional learning will include opportunities to build building/district leadership capacity by implementing a “train the trainer” model.


Are sustained, intensive, and classroom-focused and are not one day or short term workshops.



A variety of student data are used to develop school and district goals for improving student outcomes.



Improve classroom management skills – to improve academic achievement (PBIS, Responsive classroom);



Advance teacher understanding of effective instruction strategies that are based on scientifically based research. All professional learning is focused on school improvement goals, and ways to implement and sustain change.


Multiple models are used to evaluate the effectiveness of professional learning on student outcomes.