Professional Development during school hours

Some directors have asked for confirmation about what Barry Trobaugh mentioned at the meeting last week about a change of policy in Tennessee that allowed PD hours during the school day to count.  Here is the message from Lafe Cook, TMEA President-Elect, outlining the change of policy:


There has been an exciting change in state policy regarding professional development and re-certification points that I wanted to let you know about. This change will provide you justification for attendance at professional development events like the TMEA Conference that you did not have before.

In the past teachers in Tennessee have not received professional development credit for any meeting or session that occurred during the school day or other times when teachers were being compensated. Only those PD sessions that occurred outside of school hours “counted.”

However, this past July there was a shift in that policy at the state level.

The old language stated that ” Professional development activities cannot be part of the state funded in-service days and cannot be conducted during days and/or hours for which educators are already being paid by local education agencies. Activities cannot
be completed during school hours.”

In the updated policy from this past July this statement has been removed. (The policy that addresses professional development points is ” Educator Licensure Policy 5.502 “. Appendix A addresses PDP’s specifically.)

I confirmed with officials at the Tennessee Department of Education that this omission was intentional and reflects a change in the policy. Local school systems should interpret the omission of the statements on page 14 of the old version to mean that teachers are, in fact, allowed to attend training, in-service, and professional development opportunities during regular work hours.

The new policy outlines expectations for professional learning/development that is eligible to be approved for professional development points.

Activities used for PDPs must be completed within the validity period of the license being advanced or renewed and must be related to improving educator effectiveness by:
1. Developing content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, or pedagogical content knowledge; or
2. Enhancing educator effectiveness

It is my hope that this will encourage more of our state’s music teachers to attend the incredibly valuable Tennessee Music Education Association Professional Development Conference knowing that they should receive full credit for sessions and concerts attended at any point during the event!

Lafe Cook

President-Elect TMEA