The State Board of Education has approved the following actions relative to professional development activities for certified staff:
1. Continuation of authority for the Department of Education to waive up to 5 days (30 hours) of professional development activities from those days currently a part of the required 178 student interaction days.
2. Direction for the Department to develop specific guidelines governing the use of these days as well as the required 5 days of professional development now a part of each certified contract.
3. Retention of the 30-hour annual requirement.
In planning for the 1999-2000 calendar, districts must incorporate the following:
1. The required 5 days (30 hours) of professional development, now a part of the standard 185-day contract, must be structured around activities that directly relate to the improvement of student achievement. Activities such as staff meetings for general operational matters, time for teachers to work in their rooms, or any other activity that has no direct implication for improved student achievement cannot be counted.
2. Any district seeking additional professional development days, either through early release on a periodic basis or entire days when students are not present, must make such requests, in writing, to the Department. The requests must specify how the days will be used and must certify that the required 5 days have been used according to the requirements of (1) above. Under no circumstances will more than 30 additional hours be waived.
3. A list of specific activities, such as professional conferences, workshops, etc., which will be permitted to count as approved professional development that improves student achievement, will be released prior to the beginning of the next school year.