Wisconsin's Personnel Development System

Wisconsin Personnel Development Model (WPDM)

The Wisconsin Personnel Development System (WPDS) is a dynamic system designed to reform and improve personnel preparation and professional development systems for teachers, principals, administrators, related services personnel, paraprofessionals, early intervention personnel and parents and improve results for children with disabilities. The WPDS will meet this challenge by addressing these three goals:

Goal A: Increase the application of scientifically based practices in identified core content areas through both preservice and in-service professional development for educators and early interventionists in targeted LEAs and communities.
Goal B: Sustain implementation of new knowledge and skills through regional infrastructure that provides and supports ongoing learning utilizing trained mentors, communities of practice and other proven strategies.
Goal C: Increase participation of communities, family members, and youth in the system change process that results in organizations with the capacity to engage, support, and transition children with disabilities birth to 26.

The foundation of our Professional Development System is the Wisconsin Personnel Development Model or WPDM. The WPDM is a research based professional development delivery model that is closely aligned with professional development standards and principles established by the National Staff Development Council. These principles include: quality data driven professional development; targeted student achievement; research-based practices; priority on instructional strategies; collaboration and other follow-up strategies; continuous improvement; meeting the needs of all students; and emphasis on evaluation. The fundamental tenet of the Wisconsin Professional Development System is that data, including student need, will drive decision-making. NOTE: The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction extends their appreciation to The Iowa Department of Education for the permission to adapt and use the Iowa Professional Development Model. Adaptation of the Iowa Professional Development Model and Bev Showers’ work in research based professional development heavily influenced the planning and creating of the WPDS. The WPDS will consistently apply the research based Framework for Professional Development in all professional development activities to insure fidelity and sustainability of implementation.

Implementing the WPDS

Five Content Hubs are responsible for delivery and or support of core content including research-based approaches for natural/least restrictive environments, positive behavior supports, early literacy/reading/math, transition, cultural competence, data based decision-making and organizational structures to support fidelity and sustainability of professional development. Core content is delivered and supported either directly by Hub staff, or through subcontracts with partner agencies. Each Hub uses a combination of professional development approaches including in person or distance, single agency, statewide or regional training institutes. In some cases, the content varies based on the age of the children supported by the Hub. In other cases, the content is the same across the age ranges. The Hubs coordinate with other projects and agencies conducting similar initiatives to minimize duplication of effort and maximize the efficient use of resources. The Hubs and their subcontracting agencies are responsible for ensuring that all professional development activities follow the WPDS that emphasizes gathering data, reviewing research-based interventions, providing professional development and ongoing support to insure fidelity of implementation, and collecting data to determine impact and/or need to modify approach. Opportunities for follow up, collaboration, mentoring, and/or coaching are critical components of all professional development and are supported by staff and consultants from the Hubs and/or their partner agencies. The Hubs are responsible for promoting and supporting organizational leadership in incorporating practices that sustain professional development and result in greater teacher satisfaction and higher recruitment and retention.

Staff and/or contractual staff in each Hub include a director and content experts that are also experienced in providing training, technical assistance, and mentoring. Each Hub utilizes parent stipends to support parent participation in all professional development opportunities. As implied in the term “hub,” four special education units work in partnership—contractually and through agreement with the 12 Cooperative Education Service Agencies and other non-governmental organizations—to create a statewide network in each of the specific content areas. The work of each Hub is guided by a constituent advisory group.

For additional information and resources, please access the State Personnel Development grant (SPDG) website.


State Resources

National Resources

For questions about this information, contact Debra Ahrens (608) 266-7987