Advisory to the Field

On Thursday, June 4, the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) updated its Educator Evaluation webpage to address Professional Development Plan (PDP) adjustments in light of COVID-19 school building closures.

Individuals who received a score of Not Evaluated (NE) this year—that is to say, educators in good standing according to their most recent summative score—are not required to submit their 20 professional development hours for this year. Instead, the NJDOE directs them to ensure that they will have completed 40 hours total by their next annual summative conference near the conclusion of the 2020-21 school year. Any hours not completed this year can, therefore, be made up next year.

Educators who must receive an annual summative score for the 2019-20 school year—nontenured educators, those on provisional certifications, and those who are being exited from a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) —are still required to submit documentation of 20 hours of professional development. The NJDOE reminds supervisors that the PDP is considered a “living document” and the regulations “support the inclusion of a broad range of activities… including a variety of qualifying experiences related to alternative methods of instruction that have been necessitated by the transition to remote learning.” Oct. 31, the usual due date for annual PDP submission, may be utilized as a check-in date for assessing progress toward completion of professional development hours.

Regarding the development of next year’s PDP goals, individuals who received a summative rating this year will follow the professional development regulations as written. Educators who received an NE for 2019-20 can carry over or continue one of their 2019-20 goals; their second goal must be “linked to [school year] 2020-21 district, school, team or individual goals.”

The Professional Development and Instructional Issues Division (PDII) at NJEA continues to actively monitor the pandemic’s impacts on our members as we advocate for fair and equitable policy modifications. Members with questions about professional development requirements should reach out to their field representative, who will in turn communicate with PDII staff.