Customize Your Professional Development

Whether you are a special educator, a general educator or any other kind of educator, you know that a one-size-fits-all teaching approach doesn’t work in today’s diverse classrooms. The very best teachers tailor their instruction, so that it’s a good match for their particular group of students.

So it only makes sense that when it comes time for your learning, your professional development shouldn’t be generic either, but instead customized especially for you.

And that’s exactly what MSDE and CTE’s Professional Development Online Tracker (PDot) tool allows you to do. Based on the “Stages of Professional Development,” PDot is a free tool designed for Maryland teachers who work with students with disabilities. It helps you assess your own teaching in relation to the 10 standards from “Stages” and then provides you with specific resources – based on that self-assessment – to address the areas where you want/need to grow as a professional.

Here are some of the highlights of this easy-to-use tool:

  • A simple but very specific self-assessment process that helps you measure where you are as a teacher of students with disabilities. You can also chart your self-assessments over time so that you can monitor your development.
  • Based on your self-assessments, PDot directs you to resources (websites, articles and videos) specifically chosen to help you meet your goals as a teacher. You can also access the entire PDot library of resources (searchable by keyword, standard or type of resource). With more than 150 resources, PDot is continuously being updated with high-quality PD resources that address the areas needed to be a successful educator of students with disabilities.
  • The information you enter into PDot will help to facilitate aggregate analysis to improve the PD offerings of districts, states and teacher preparation programs. However, your personal profile and self-assessments are for you and you alone, unless you decide to share them. And PDot makes it easy to share your information should you decide to do so – it can potentially be another key aspect of your professional development – with a particular mentor or colleague.
  • PDot has a certification tab that links you to the MSDE certification system. Here you will find information on, as well as the tools for, obtaining Maryland teaching certifications.
  • The fields already in PDot will help with future planned functionality of matching professionals around areas of need and expertise to create a vibrant online community of coaching and mentoring. And even now, you can share the PDot tool with your colleagues via Facebook.
  • You work hard everyday to customize your teaching for your students. We think you deserve the same kind of treatment when it comes to your professional development. We hope you’ll give PDot a try. Click here to access the tool.

Districts and Teacher Prep Programs

Want to know what your teachers want and need from their professional development? PDot features a set of robust reporting tools that can help you shape your PD to match your teachers and improve how they work with students with disabilities. Email to have an MSDE representative contact you regarding use of PDot’s backend aggregate data system to identify your next PD targets.


The Professional Development Tracker (PDot) provides quick and easy access to a personalized site where you can monitor your own professional growth and progress.

A quick reference How To guide for Getting Started Using PDot, is available here.   Instructions on how to Manage Groups Using PIN Codes, including running Reports, are available here.

Voice of Experience

Mentor – “My experience in using the tool has been as a mentor. Having first used the Stages in the document form, I was really excited to share the online tool with my teachers. The online tool reduced the anxiety many of my teachers felt when trying to complete the self-assessment in paper form. There were so many pages that the teachers were overwhelmed before they even got started. The online tool allows the teachers to create a profile and complete the self-assessment by standard (in segments) which reduced their anxiety. It also provides immediate feedback to them and provides professional development modules for them to access at their leisure. In the age where there is so much paperwork required to document the supports provided to and progress made by students with disabilities, this tool is an excellent resource for teachers who really desire to improve their practice but do not desire the additional paperwork.”

Printable Resources

If access to PDot is limited, these Stages of Professional documents can be downloaded and printed:

Stages of Professional Development aligns INTASC standards with each stage of a teacher’s professional development.

Utilization Guide spells out the conceptual framework of the “Stages of Professional Development” and introduces the professional development cycle used in “Stages:” It will help to spell out the conceptual framework that is at the heart of “Stages” and at the heart of every teacher’s professional growth.

Self Assessment Form provides a printable version of “Stages” for teachers unable to access the Professional Development Online Tracker (PDot).


MSDE and Maryland Public Television partner to offer quality online courses through the eLearning for Educators program. These courses help educators meet their professional growth and certification needs and provide a different and convenient path for teachers who want to deepen their content knowledge, pedagogical expertise, and technology integration skills. Many of the courses offered carry Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credit; some carry an option for graduate credit.