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Professional Leave Frequently Asked Questions

What is professional leave?

Professional leave is approved leave to participate in professional activities that benefit Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and the employee’s professional growth. Professional activities are not part of the employee’s regular job duties and occur outside the workplace.

In addition, if a substitute is required for an employee to participate in an activity, professional leave must be requested and approved. Professional leave requires the identification of a funding source for all expenses including but not limited to substitute hours, conference fees, and travel.

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What are some examples of professional leave?

Some examples of professional leave are attendance at a professional conference, AP Scoring/Mid-State Review, or a formal training program. In all cases when a substitute is required, the funding source must be identified.

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What is the PACS attendance code if a staff member leaves the building to attend to business that is part of their job?

Activities that are school related and/or part of the employee’s job responsibilities should be reported as regular time (REG). The employee should sign a log or book they are out of the building on school business.

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Is professional leave paid or unpaid leave?

Once approved, professional leave is a paid leave and can be posted as PRO on the employee’s time record in PACS.

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Is Professional Leave the same as Professional Improvement Leave?

No. Professional Improvement Leave is an unpaid study leave that permits an employee to pursue their academic studies while remaining an employee of MCPS. Professional Improvement Leave is for a minimum of one semester and during this time the employee is in a leave status. Professional Leave is of a much shorter duration and the employee remains in an active status.

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Can School Improvement Allocations be used to pay for substitutes?

No. Paying for substitute teachers by using school improvement allocations is not permitted.

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If an employee attends a staff development activity within the school building and uses the school’s allocation of staff development substitute time, is this professional leave?

No. This time is to be reported as REG. If, however, an employee attends staff development activities within the building and a substitute is used who is NOT a staff development substitute, a funding source for the substitute must be identified in advance of the activity and the employee would report this time as Professional Leave (PRO).

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If a new employee is required to attend New Employee Orientation and a substitute is required, what is the funding source for the substitute?

The Office of Human Resources is the funding source. When the employee is invited to the new employee orientation they will be provided the Form 430-94: Professional Leave.

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If an employee has requested Professional Leave and a substitute is required but there is not a funding source for the substitute, can the employee still take professional leave?

No. There must be a funding source to cover the cost of the substitute. In some circumstances a school may be able to cover classes without the use of a substitute.

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Should the new Professional Leave form be used in lieu of the 430-1A?

Yes. The new Professional Leave form (430-94) should be used for requests of four or fewer days. For professional leave requests of five or more days the employee must complete Form 430-1: Leave Request (Requiring ERSC Authorization) and attach the necessary documentation.

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Who receives the copies of Form 430-94: Professional Leave?

The original is maintained at the location and filed with the timesheet. Copies should be forwarded to the funding office and the employee.

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How do I know the funding source for MCPS training programs?

The office initiating the training will provide the funding source information to the participant. If this information is not provided, the participant needs to call the provider of the training. The three major offices within MCPS that provide training are:

- Office of Organizational Development

- Office of the Chief Technology Officer

- Office of Curriculum and Instructional Programming

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Our building service worker is going to Plant Equipment Operator training. Should he report professional leave?

Yes. This is professional leave and Form 430-94: Professional Leave must be completed.

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When a Building Service Worker attends training what is the PACS posting for that time?

Because this time is considered as professional leave the time in PACS should be posted as PRO.

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A teacher is going to a meeting at CESC to represent our school. Does the teacher report professional leave?

No. Meetings like this should be scheduled when a teacher does not require a substitute. If the meeting is being held during a time when a substitute is needed, the sponsoring office should provide the funding source information for the substitute.

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A teacher is attending Grade Book training. Does the teacher report professional leave?

Yes. Grade Book training is professional leave. The sponsor of the training (in this case, the Office of the Chief Technology Officer) should provide the account number for the funding of the substitute.

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A special education teacher is out of the classroom for parent conferences. Does theteacher report professional leave? Who pays for the substitute?

Yes, professional leave is appropriate if funding is provided by the Office of Special Education and Student Services. If there is no funding, a substitute is not to be called and the school must make other arrangements for class room coverage.

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A teacher (not special education) is out of the classroom for parent conferences. Does the teacher report professional leave? Who pays for the substitute?

No, professional leave is not appropriate and a substitute may not be used. The teacher should schedule the conference(s) before or after the school day or on a day when students are not present.

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What about the Patrol Picnic for all school patrols. Who pays for the substitutes?

Funding for both physical education teacher substitutes (to cover physical education teachers conducting patrol attendee activities) or for the sponsors are provided by the central office sponsoring the event. Substitute coverage funding source information should be provided as part of the event notification.

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A teacher is working in the school with our resource teacher. Does the teacher report professional leave? How does the teacher acquire a substitute?

Unless the substitute is funded from the school’s allocation of school improvement substitutes, a substitute should not be called. The teacher should work with the resource teacher one-on-one during planning periods or outside the teaching time.

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The school administrative secretary registered via Professional Development Online (PDO) to attend the Early Ordering Support session. Is this professional leave?

This is one of the rare cases where attendance at an event scheduled through PDO is not training and no professional leave is to be reported. The Early Ordering Support session is not training but a support activity provided to schools to assist them in accomplishing their early ordering.

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Is attendance at a union meeting considered professional leave?

No, attendance at a union meeting is Union Business Leave (UBL). The form for union business leave should be provided by the individual union.

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When a teacher attends Outdoor Education and a substitute is required, is this considered professional leave?

Yes, when a substitute is required it is considered professional leave. However, if the coverage for the teacher’s class can be accomplished without substitute coverage there is no leave category required and the time for the teacher would be posted in PACS as REG.

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