Frequently Asked Questions

Professional Development Frequently Asked Questions (3 Questions)

1. What is professional development?

Professional development is improving knowledge, skills, aspirations, attitudes and/or behaviors of participants throughactive and continuous engagementin quality training and practices to include coaching, mentoring and particpation in learning communities.

2. What are some other terms synonymous to professional development?

staff development; professional learning; professional training

Terms synonomous to professional development are prefssional learning, staff learning, staff development, professional growth activities, and professional training.

 3. What does PLU stand for?

Professional Learning Unit

For more information and to read about the requirements for an Instructional Leader Certificate view this document.

1. What is a PLU?

A PLU is a long-term period of professional learning that lasts over several months. Course objectives for this professional learning experience are aligned with the Alabama Standards for Instructional Leaders and Effective Professional Development. Authorization from the Alabama Council for Leadership Development or the local superintendent is required in order to offer a Professional Learning Unit (PLU).

2. Who is required to complete PLUs?

Professional Learning Units are required by all educators who have the instructional leadership certification. The need for the PLU is determined by the educator's certification and not his/her position, role, or place of employment. In other words, practicing instructional leaders and educators who are not currently employed as instructional leaders are required to complete PLUs in order to maintain the instructional leadership certification.

Instructional leader categories include: superintendent, superintendent-principal, principal for any grade level, educational administrator, supervisor, administrator of career and technical education, instructional leader, and practicing instructional leader.

3. When was the PLU requirement decided?

In 2008, it was determined that PLUs would replace CEIs as requirements for certification in instructional leadership. This decision was approved by the Alabama State Board of Education.

4. How many PLUs are needed to maintain certification?

Five PLUs must be earned over a five-year certification cycle. The five PLUs should include at least two PLUs that have been approved by the Alabama Council for Leadership Development (ACLD), two PLUs that have been approved by the local superintendent, and another PLU that can be approved by either the ACLD or the local superintendent.

Beginning with the 2009-2010 academic year, the following rubric will be applied when evaluating an educator's record of completing PLUs.

Timetable for Completing Professional Learning Units

Certificate Valid Period

Maximum PLUs Required

Maximum CEUs Allowed
















5. Where are PLUs listed?

Currently, the following agencies/institutions are providing opportunities for PLUs: