School-Based Professional Development Details

Association of Christian Schools International / ACSI / Accreditation & Certification / School-Based Professional Development Overview / School-Based Professional Development Details

ACSI's School-Based Professional Development (SBPD) program is available to serve as fulfillment of the K-12 administrator/faculty qualification and continuing education requirements for ACSI accreditation (REACH Indicators 4.4 and 4.6; Inspire Indicator 12.2). The goal of this program is to provide qualified schools, with well-developed professional development programs, the flexibility of managing their school leadership and faculty qualification and continuing education requirements through displaying a commitment to providing a quality professional development program that is intentionally aligned to schoolwide goals and measured for effectiveness. 

The school would still be expected to meet the requirement for all administrators and all faculty to hold bachelor's degrees (with no more than 10% FTE of non-degreed faculty being an exception); however, the school would be expected to self-monitor this requirement and would not need to apply for waivers with the Divisional Office. 

There are two separate steps for the school:

Step 1 – Complete the application This will allow ACSI to determine if the school has the necessary pieces in place in order to successfully operate a school-based professional development plan that would fulfill accreditation requirements. The school will need to affirm or provide the following:

  • The school has a policy in place to hire only degreed administrators and faculty 
  • The school has a dedicated team overseeing the professional development program
  • The school has designated funding for professional development (whether a specific budget line item and/or Title funds)
  • The school has clear expectations and/or policies regarding professional development for school leadership and faculty
  • The school's accreditation status in good standing
  • The school has received no major recommendations regarding professional development on either of the last two accreditation visit reports; OR, if major recommendations were given, that those have been sufficiently addressed
  • A summary of last year's overall professional development plan/program at the school
  • The school's most recent accreditation visit report
  • Any other information as applicable

Please note: the school's answer to any given question will not necessarily automatically disqualify the school from participation in the SBPD program - various questions allow the school an opportunity provide an explanation. 

Once we receive the application, the ACSI Office of Academic Services will review the school's answers and applicable documentation and reach out to the appropriate divisional accreditation director to obtain a recommendation for the school's participation in the SBPD program. ACSI will invoice the school for the SBPD application fee one the school has been accepted into the program.

Step 2 – Complete the full professional development plan AFTER being notified of acceptance into the program. The plan consisted of seven (7) separate sections:

Section 1: Needs Assessment

It is expected that the school's analysis of needs will flow into overall goals (perhaps including both institutional goals, and goals for individual sub-groups of school leadership and instructional staff), culminating in evaluation of the professional development program that can serve to inform future goals for improvement. The school will provide an overview of the needs assessment process and articulate how the school’s needs assessment process informs professional development goals.

Section 2: Goals for Professional Development

Based on the school’s needs assessment, the school will identify the anticipated overall professional development goals for each of the next 3 years. Then, the school will describe the process for differentiating professional development content/activities for various sub-groups, such as leaders, new teachers, experienced teachers, etc.

Section 3: Required Elements

In addition to professional development designed to improve classroom instruction and overall teacher effectiveness, ACSI expects administrators and teachers in accredited schools to engage in study of the Bible and training in the Christian philosophy of education and biblical integration. The school will describe how teachers and administrators complete biblical studies and how they are trained in the Christian philosophy of education and biblical integration.

Section 4: Content and Activities

The school will provide more details concerning their professional development activities for the following school year (Year 1). The school will also articulate how it is utilizing best practices in andragogy (adult education) in the school-based professional development plan.

Section 5: Leadership and Growth

The school will focus specifically on leaders in this section, describing the school’s plans/process for professional development for leaders (including goals for leaders and how those goals are developed), providing specific actions or activities in which leaders will participate over the next year, and describing whether the professional development program is making an impact in overall leader growth.

Section 6: Measurement and Evaluation

The school will describe the overall professional development evaluation process (including formal and informal methods to gather feedback and monitor the professional development program). Additionally, the school will articulate how it has used previous professional development evaluation information to improve the overall program and whether the professional development program is making an impact in overall teacher effectiveness.

Section 7: Accountability and Reporting

The school must show compliance with the required percentage of participation in the school-based professional development activities. If your school utilizes a program/software that generates professional development reports for individuals, the school can utilize this for reporting. The school will need to find some way to verify that 100% of administrators (to include HOS and all divisional principals) as well as 80% of faculty and professional staff (to include assistant administrators and other school leaders) complete their professional development plan for the year. Otherwise, the school can use the Monitoring Tool developed by ACSI.


There is a one-time application fee of $250 (to be billed once a school is accepted into the program).

Ongoing fees for the program are billed annually in conjunction with ACSI membership. The 2024-2025 school year fees will be updated and published soon.


To have a plan approved and in place for the following fall semester:

  • Apply by March 1
  • Submit plan by July 1

To have a plan approved and in place for the following spring semester

  • Apply by August 1
  • Submit plan by December 1


Please note: Schools in this program will not be required to maintain individual certification for their teachers or administrators while maintaining a positive status in the SBPD program. However, if the school, or an individual teacher within the school, desires to maintain certification in addition to the school-based professional development program, there will be a REDUCED FEE for individual teachers to obtain that certification. There is a separate certification application link for those teachers/administrators.


Initial applicants would still need to submit the application, fee, and any transcripts or related documents so that the certification team can complete an initial evaluation. Any teacher/administrator who currently holds a Standard or Professional Level certificate will be able to use their participation in the school’s approved SBPD as evidence of completed renewal requirements, in whole or in part. Please contact for additional information.

School-Based Professional Development Program