Photo of teacher in classrom with students raising their hands.

Sign up to receive the Great Lakes West E-newsletter.

Wisconsin Teacher Quality

In an effort to improve support to initial educators across the state, Wisconsin included administrative code requirements in the PI 34 Quality Educator Initiative for licensed educators graduating after August 2004 to participate in a professional development system that supports teachers at all career levels and settings. Under the new licensing system, districts, schools, and educators have new roles to fill to ensure comprehensive induction for new teachers and continued development for veteran teachers.

PI 34 introduced three levels of licensure for educators in Wisconsin: initial, professional, and master educator. Initial educator licenses are issued to those who complete accredited programs for the first time in a license category (e.g., teaching, administration, or pupil services.). This stage of licensure may last from three to five years, but by the end of the license, the educator must successfully complete (and have verified by a PDP team) an approved professional development plan (PDP) showing competency in at least two standards with evidence of professional growth and improved student learning. When initial educators complete the licensure requirements, they are eligible for a five-year professional educator license. (Wisconsin educators who completed accredited programs before August 2004 are grandfathered in as professional educators and have the option of renewing with a PDP or through the traditional six graduate credits.)

The professional educator license is a five-year renewable license. Professional educators also must complete a PDP (unless they are "grandfathered") showing growth in at least two standards—which is reviewed and verified by a PDP review team. To receive a master educator license, an educator must complete either the Wisconsin Master Educator Assessment Process or National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification.

While PI 34 advances a performance-based educator preparation and licensing program, it also addresses support and development of initial educators (those in their first five years of teaching). School districts provide initial educators with orientation, seminars to reflect on Wisconsin standards, and a qualified mentor. Qualified mentors are educators who have been trained to provide support and assistance and are not part of the initial educators' formal evaluation process. In addition, school districts provide the initial educators with supports to assist them in completing their PDP license requirements.

The team that reviews and approves an initial educator's PDP includes a teacher from the same subject or at least the same level who is not the mentor and who is selected by teacher peers, an administrator designated by the district administrator and subject to approval by the school board, and a representative from an institution of higher education. For initial educators to become professional educators, they must design and complete a PDP that demonstrates an increased proficiency and reflects the standards identified by the team for improvement and verify three years of regular employment during the term of the initial educator license.

To assist districts, schools, and educators in developing and implementing initial educator and mentor programs and completing the requirements of the PI 34 Wisconsin Quality Educator Initiative, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has developed tools and guidance for Wisconsin educators. The Teacher Education, Professional Development, and Licensing team has developed a website with rules, a toolkit (PDF Icon Adobe® Reader® PDF 835 KB), and guidance.


The information on this website was provided by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Get Adobe Reader

Adobe Reader FAQ