Professional Development Units (PDU)

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    What is a Professional Development Unit (PDU)?

    A Professional Development Unit (PDU) is differentiated, action research learning with application to practice. They are designed to support teachers and SSPs to improve or acquire skills focused on topics of student need, including closing the opportunity gap. This is learning beyond opportunities provided during contract hours and provides educators with the autonomy to opt in to additional self-selected and self-directed development to advance their professional practice. 

    PDUs have 3 components – Study, Demonstration, and Reflection, completed through a 45 hour (minimum) course of study. The action research learning involves study of a topic that will benefit student growth, with simultaneous application of the learning content towards a specific problem of practice. The experiential learning afforded by PDUs empowers educators to demonstrate the implementation of the best instructional practices, and reflect on learning, change in practice, and student performance with peers.

    For additional information on PDUs, see the FAQ document. Any questions not addressed in the PDU FAQs may be directed to the Professional Development Quality Specialist.

    Types of PDUs

    • District-wide - open to educators across the district
    • Multi-school/Regional - open to educators across region
    • School- Wide - open to educators within specific school
    • Small Group - 2-9 participants, can be school or district-wide
    • Personal/Individual - self-directed PDU

    For PDUs available in the 2020-2021 school year see 2020-2021 PDU Course List.

    PDU Guidelines and Submission Process Information

     PDUs provide educators and SSPs with the equivalent of 3 graduate credits (45 hours) that can be applied towards salary lane changes. PDU guidelines were updated in 2019 based on the DCTA-DPS agreement that reflects the quality and rigor of all PDUs, and related credit and compensation. The PDU application reflects these guidelines and DPS-DCTA Agreement. Applications are due according to the PDU Calendar, and reviewed 3 times per year. Each PDU application is reviewed by a content expert according to the PDU application rubric. The PDU application and rubric are designed to ensure each and every PDU provides the quality and rigor of graduate-level coursework, and have a significant impact on student and educator learning.

    PDU application deadlines can be found in the 2020-2021 PDU Calendar. 

    Applications should adhere to the PDU guidelines and be submitted to

    Detailed information on application review cycle timelines can be found here. For additional resources to support PDU design and implementation see Quicklinks.

    PDU Advisory Council

    Advisory council members serve in an advisory capacity, providing feedback to improve the PDU process and experience for both leaders and participants.

    The PDU Advisory Council is now accepting applications; teachers and SSPs with PDU experience are encouraged to apply. Meetings are held 4 times a year, outside of educator contract time. This is a paid extra duty position. Apply for 2020-21 school year by completing this form. If you have questions, please reach out to

    PDU Peer Reviewers 

    Peer Reviewers are an intrinsic part of the PDU team, providing feedback and support to PDU leaders throughout the PDU process. Reviewers receive a $1,000 stipend for participating in the peer review process for PDUs. Applications are being accepted now for the 2020-21 school year. To see full job description and apply, click here


  • Carmen Stagg


    Carmen Stagg

    Professional Development Quality Specialist

    Emily Griffith Campus 
    1860 Lincoln St.
    10th Floor, South Side
    Denver, CO 80203