Individual Professional Development Plan



  • Definition of an Individual Professional Development (IPDP)
  • The Development of an Individual Professional Development Plan
  • Earning PDPs – Understanding Professional Development Points
  • DESE Audits
  • History of the Individual Professional Development Plan (IPDP)


Definition of an Individual Professional Development (IPDP)

Educators (including school nurses and other professional support personnel) in Massachusetts who hold a professional license are required to develop an Individual Professional Development Plan in order to meet license renewal requirements. Professional teaching licenses must be renewed every 5 years and the re-licensure process requires all educators to prepare an Individual

Professional Development Plan for each renewal cycle. The plan must be consistent with the educational goals of the school and/or district and enhance the ability of the educator to improve student learning. Educators may need to modify the plan based on evolving school improvement goals.

While the Principal/Supervisor must approve the IPDP, the responsibility for developing the plan and completing and documenting professional development activities belongs to the individual educator. Likewise, it is the educator’s responsibility to monitor the plan for needed changes and for initiating a biennial plan review with the principal.


Development of an Individual Professional Development Plan

  • Review a copy of your district’s Professional Development Plan, Mission Statement or District/School Improvement Plan. This information is often on the district website.
  • Review a copy of the School Improvement Plan for your school.
  • Review the required Professional Development Points (PDPs) for your license(s).
  • Formulate a set of individual professional growth goals consistent with district and school improvement goals.
  • Choose professional development activities that will help you meet your goals over the 5-year licensure renewal cycle.
  • Share your plan with your Principal/Supervisor and secure their approval. This person can vary within districts from principals, department heads, nurse leaders or a combination. It is the responsibility of the educator to identify the correct person in their district to endorse/approve their IPDP.
  • Approval means that eighty percent (80%) of the PDPs in the plan are consistent with the educational goals of the school and or district and that the plan is designed to enhance the ability of the educator to improve student learning. An approval or endorsement indicates that the supervisor has reviewed the record of professional development activities maintained by the educator to ensure that the reported activities are consistent with the approved professional plan.(See Understanding PDPs below)
  • Complete the professional development activities and keep records.
  • Revisit your IPDP with your Principal/Supervisor every two years to review goals and amend the plan as necessary. You may add appropriate professional development activities as they become available during the 5-year cycle.
  • Compile and link all PDPs.
  • Hold for 5 years following re-licensure (Time period during which there may be a DESE audit).


Criteria Used to Approve an IPDP by the Principal/Supervisor

Principals and supervisors may wish to ask the following questions when reviewing and approving Individual Professional Development Plans:

  • To what extent are the individual professional growth goals aligned with school and/or district goals?
  • How will the proposed professional development activities add to the educator’s repertoire of skills and content knowledge?
  • How is the plan designed to improve student learning?
  • How is the educator participating in a range of meaningful and professionally relevant professional development?


Resources Available for Developing an IPDP


Earning PDPs – Understanding Professional Development Points

Educators may receive PDP’s after the successful completion of a professional development program (minimum of 10 hours on a topic) with an observable demonstration of learning that could include a written product or other documentable product.

Providers may only award PDP’s after an educator has demonstrated proficiency in a relevant subject area or has demonstrated proficiency in a professional skill. All end-of-course assessments must assess at least 10 hours of professional development on a given topic. (Guidelines for Professional Development Providers February 2000)

A topic is a single area of study or one that is tightly integrated within a given clinical topic, such as Mental Health and Clinical Health Needs of Children. A variety of professional development activities in one topic can be used to satisfy the ten hour topic minimum requirement.

A course product or an observable demonstration of learning would be a newsletter article, presentations to parents, staff, the community or student groups. An assessment would be a test at the end of a professional development program.

If a Certificate of Attendance is received at a conference relevant to a subject area where PDPs or Certificates of Attendance have already been obtained, the hours can be changed to PDPs and be added to the subject area in which you have already completed an observable demonstration of learning (up to 40 PDPs).


Additional Ways to Earn PDPs

  • graduate level courses
  • 1 Semester hour = 15 PDPs • advanced academic study or DESE              sponsored activities
  • 1.5 PDPs = 1.5 clock hours • educator designed professional activity that results in a professional product
  • 1 Presentation at a professional conference in a five year renewal cycle
  • 30 PDPs-Developing and implementing an activity for students, parents or teachers. These activities can include:
  • Series of seminars
  • Series of health related issues and their impact on learning
  • Extended learning activities for students
  • Curriculum Development
  • Doctoral Dissertation — 90 PDPs in five years
  • Masters or CAGS Thesis — 45 PDPs in five years
  • Chapters or professional articles in a book or professional journal: 30 PDPs per chapter or article
  • Published results of action research: 30 PDPs in five years

CEUs are not related to contact hours.

See the CEU definition on the DESE web site.

IPDP and PDP’s are not submitted to DESE unless an audit is requested. (Same as MA RN re-licensure process with the MA Board of Registration in Nursing (BORN).)


Calculating PDPs

If PDPs are awarded by the school district: 1 PDP is equal to one clock hour.

If a program for continuing education credit is presented and or approved by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC): 1 PDP is equal to one clock hour (contact hour).

If a program is presented and approved for continuing education credit by the BORN, 1 PDP is equal to 1.2 contact hours.


Organizing Professional Development Activities

It is best to organize Professional Development activities according to topics, remembering that you need at least 10 PDPs in a topic area with an end product to count as PDPs.

Most professional development programs presented for nurses that meet the criteria of BORN for contact hours are eligible for conversion to “certificates of attendance” that can be linked together to meet the criteria for PDP’s.


DESE Audit

The DESE can request an audit of an educator’s Individual Professional Development Plan. Educators must maintain the documentation, record log, professional development plan, and application for five years from the date of recertification.

The following is needed if an audit is requested:

An Individual Professional Development Plan that is current and approved by the educator’s supervisor.

Reasonable documentation that validates the completion of an activity and the number of points accrued

A record of complete recertification activities that must include:

  • The topic and type of professional activities completed
  • The dates of the activities
  • The number of points completed.
  • Assessments or products