Personalized Support Through Professional Growth Plans

Goal setting is an incredibly important strategy that we teach our students throughout their educational careers. We start small and create scaffolds to help our students learn how to work through a goal while demonstrating reflective thinking practices that help them to analyze their progress towards that goal. Having a growth mindset can be a great asset for our students, knowing that they can always be improving and working on the skills that they have. But often as educators, we don’t practice goal setting in our own teaching practices. 

What if we did this same process in our own classrooms, but for ourselves? And what if we could work through this process while also receiving FREE clock hours?! Well, this summer I learned about a wonderful way in which educators can work through a professional growth plan that enables them to participate in an inquiry model to set goals and work on improving their teaching practices while earning clock hours at the same time. 

But first, why does this matter? This summer I am learning more about the 3rd ISTE coaching standard: Collaborator. Here it is:

ISTE Coaching Standard 3 Collaborator

Coaches establish productive relationships with educators in order to improve instructional practice and learning outcomes. Coaches:

  1. Establish trusting and respectful coaching relationships that encourage educators to explore new instructional strategies.
  2. Partner with educators to identify digital learning content that is culturally relevant, developmentally appropriate and aligned to content standards.
  3. Partner with educators to evaluate the efficacy of digital learning content and tools to inform procurement decisions and adoption.
  4. Personalize support for educators by planning and modeling the effective use of technology to improve student learning.

I immediately was drawn to the last indicator surrounding personalizing support for educators. While researching I came across the Washington State’s Professional Educator Standard Board’s website. Throughout my career I have heard about professional growth plans, but was never extremely interested in diving deeper into researching them or working through one. But as I was reading through this site and the different professional development methods, I again was reminded of them. This time however, I was thoroughly impressed! So here is some info:

First, what is a professional growth plan? 

“Professional Growth Plans (PGPs) are job-embedded, self-directed professional development. In a PGP, educators set their own goals, align them to certification standards, design an action plan, and collect evidence documenting their growth towards achieving their goals. Educators then reflect on the process.”

Steps to completing a PGP:

  1. Complete the PGP template for certificate renewal – PESB form 1697 (document).
  2. Attach evidence from your focused evaluation, PLC, project, or other learning experience.
  3. Have a certificated educator in Washington state review and sign.
  4. Turn in the verification form (PDF) according to your district procedures for consideration for salary advancement and record in OSPI e-certification for certificate renewal.

Other information:

  • No cost to educators to complete a PGP
  • You can earn 25 clock hours for free!
  • Potential salary advancement from clock hours achieved

The most enticing part of the PGP for me, is that there is a template and steps to follow to help ensure your success. Having the process to work through will absolutely help give the guidance to reach your goal. But what could be even more helpful, is to work with a coach through your professional growth plan.

This next year, I intend to work through a PGP of my own, to first understand the process so I can be a resource to others, but also because I truly believe that all educators would benefit from goal setting. As someone who is trying to grow into the coaching role, I thought it was quite important for me to start to do some research on this first indicator of ISTE Coaching Standard 3 about establishing trusting and respectful coaching relationships. 

I began researching best practices around instructional coaching and tech coaching. I found an effective coaching brief in which the National Center for Systemic Improvement at WestEd speaks on the three research based strategies that have proven alliance building coaching and educator relationships. They explain the concept behind observation, modeling and performance feedback as methods to increase coaching and teaching relationship builders. 

I learned some great strategies that can help in building that trusting and respectful relationship necessary to be an effective coach. I’m hopeful to tie these coaching strategies together with the PGP process to help create a trusting relationship in which I can come alongside my fellow educators while they are working on their personalized goals. 

What strategies do you use to help build those relationships with teachers in your buildings? What are your experiences with PGPs?


Oppelt, L. (2020, January 16). How to Get Teacher Buy-In. WeAreTeachers.

Pierce, J. D. (2015). Teacher-coach alliance as a critical component of coaching: Effects of feedback and analysis on teacher practice (Doctoral dissertation, University of Washington). Retrieved from 

Pierce, J., & Buysse, V. (2016, September). Effective Coaching: Improving Teacher Practice and Outcomes for All Learners. WestEd’s National Center for Systemic Improvement (NCSI).

Professional growth plans (PGPs). (n.d.). Professional Educator Standards Board. Retrieved July 16, 2020, from,then%20reflect%20on%20the%20process.


  • Megan H

    Thanks for sharing about the PGP process and how coaches can support. I haven’t looked into PGPs in awhile but it should like they have improved the process from when it first came out. I especially appreciate the idea of using the best practices you mentioned above in order to support educators in developing and implementing their PGPs. Thanks for sharing!

  • Doug

    Intriguing idea around utilizing Professional Growth Plans as a vehicle for personalizing educator support around the effective use of technology. I like the approach of using something that’s “already baked into the system” but leveraging the template for relatively new learning around the new ISTE Coaching Standards. The WestEd coaching language is especially helpful and I’m saving that for later. Thanks!

  • Kaelynn Mumley

    Thanks for sharing about PGPs. While teaching I drafted one of my own, but it then slipped to the wayside because of the business of teaching. At our end of the year interviews with our principal, our PGPs were mentioned, but there wasn’t much accountability throughout the school year. I loved your idea of coaches supporting teachers throughout the year with their PGP so that there can be follow through. I also agree that if we expect students to set goals, we should too! And how awesome that they can bring about an increase in teacher salary!

  • Jessica

    Thank you for sharing about PGP! I think there is a limited understanding of the power of PGPs (or even misconceptions) and this helped clarify. I look forward to learning more about your experience as you go through the process and your insights. Thank you!

  • Rachel

    Thank you for sharing all these resources! I hadn’t heard of PGP’s before you mentioned them to me. I love that there is a step-by-step process to help teachers be successful in writing their goals and achieving them. By setting this up and starting one yourself, you are already down the path of being a great coach!

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