PIR Help

What is PIR?

What isn't PIR?

When Does the PIR Year Start?

What Is the Difference Between OPI Renewal Credit and PIR Credit?

How do I do a special request?

I am an instructor. What are my obligations?

Frequently Asked Questions

Renewal Unit Certificates

Provider Compliance

How can I see what credits I have so far?

I'm from an outside district. How do I log in, etc?

What Is PIR?

PIR stands for Pupil-Instruction-Related. The Administrative Rules of Montana specify that a school that is in session for at least 180 pupil-instruction days may count for the year a maximum of seven PIR days with a minimum of three of the days for instructional and professional development meetings or other appropriate in-service training. These seven PIR days, in addition to the 180 pupil-instructed days, may be counted, provided that such additional days do not include any time counted for pupil instruction and are used for one or more of the following purposes:

(a) Staff orientation held prior to the beginning of pupil instruction for the purpose of organization of the school year.

(b) Staff professional development programs scheduled during the year for the purpose of improving instruction which shall include annual instructional and professional development meetings.

(c) Parent-teacher conferences for the purpose of acquainting parents with the school and the progress of their children.

(d) Post-school record and report completion at the end of the pupil-instruction year.

Two (2) of seven (7) PIR days must be selected from the Flexible options. One (1) PIR day is to be selected from the District-Directed options in this catalog. The District-Directed professional development will be catalogued on PIR e-Central. It will be delineated as "District-Directed" and the course title will be preceded by "DD". (3 days equals 18 hours)

Flexible offerings that qualify for PIR credit can be selected from the following:

  1. MEA Conference of any other professional fall conference listed in PIR eCentral.
  2. After-school/evening/Saturday sessions from the pre-approved PIR eCentral catalog
  3. GFPS Summer Institute offerings
  4. Special requests for non-GFPS sponsored events (must be pre-approved and limited to six (6) hours)


What Isn't PIR?
  • Working in your classroom
  • Lesson planning and preliminary curriculum development
  • Supervising extra-curricular activities
  • Committee work
  • Parent meetings
  • Staff and/or department planning


When does the PIR year start? 

The PIR year begins on the first day of summer vacation and runs until the last contracted duty day, usually sometime the first week in June. Pay will be docked, including benefits and retirement, if hours are not completed on time.


Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Q.   Can I just drop in at a workshop?



Please sign up through PIR eCentral. Many of the workshops have limited enrollment. Registrations are recorded by the date received in PIR eCentral. A workshop may be canceled if not enough teachers are enrolled. PIR eCentral does keep a waiting list; and as cancellations occur, the system will contact the next name on the list.

Q.   Do I need to cancel if I can't make the workshop?



Yes. Please make the adjustment in PIR eCentral.

Q.   How many hours equal one day of PIR?


Six (6) hours.
Q.   Who needs to know what workshops I attended?


  As part of your teaching contract, each full-time employee must attend seven PIR days with four (4) of the seven (7) days included in
  • the two (2) orientation days before students start
  • the two (2) parent-teacher conference days

The remaining three (3) days may be taken from the Flexible (2 days) and District-Directed (1 day) activities listed in the GFPS PIR eCentral Program. Your record of attendance for the three (3) additional days will be maintained by the GFPS PIR eCentral Program. The Curriculum Director Office will only have records for those workshops listed in this catalog for the current year.

Q.   What are approved PIR activities?
A.   Allowable activities include the following:
  1. The six (6) hours of District-Directed professional development will be catalogued on PIR e-Central. It will be delineated as "District-Directed" and the course title will be preceded by "DD."
  2. The 12 hours of Flexible offerings that qualify for PIR credit can be selected from the following:
  • MEA Conference of any other professional fall conference listed in PIR eCentral.
  • After-school/evening/Saturday sessions from the pre-approved PIR eCentral catalog
  • GFPS Summer Institute offerings
  • Special requests for non-GFPS sponsored events (must be pre-approved and limited to six (6) hours per year)
Q.   What if I attend a professional conference or convention and the district pays part of my expenses? Does this qualify for PIR?
A.   Yes, if the time spent is outside the contract day/year, i.e. the teacher is not on salary status and is approved for PIR credit in the catalog or through the special request process.
Q.   Will there be other opportunities for PIR available throughout the year other than those listed in the catalog?
A.   Most likely yes. It is difficult to plan activities a year in advance. Additional offerings will be part of the study group or special request process. Special requests are limited to six (6) hours per year.
Q.   What if I am sick or have a conflict on a day that I have registered for a PIR workshop?
A.   Teachers should drop the class through PIR eCentral and then select an alternative workshop to fulfill their requirement. Illness, personal leave or extracurricular responsibilities do not release teachers from their PIR obligation.
Q.   What if I don't fulfill my PIR obligations?
A.   Teachers will not be paid for the days they fail to complete. Their June paycheck will be docked accordingly. We can only dock pay by half- or whole-day increments, not by the hourly basis. Thus it is essential teachers complete their PIR requirements.
Q.   If I am taking a college class for credit, can it also count for PIR credit if it is outside the contract day/year?
A.   No, university credit has the potential to advance teachers on the salary schedule. Teachers cannot use district-paid PIR days for financial gain. This applies even if they are at the top of the salary schedule. The only exception would be if a teacher were to audit a university course.
Q.   Can I use adult education course work as PIR credit?
A.   Yes, if it meets the criteria outlined in the "Special Request Process" and is approved by the teacher's principal/supervisor, the appropriate assistant superintendent and the curriculum director. Teachers are limited to six (6) hours of PIR credit for all special requests.
Q.   How do I get OPI credit?
A.   Classes taken through PIR eCentral have an electronic certificate. Teachers should print it out as soon as the class is complete, fill out the top section and store in a safe place. Certificates are not given for conferences or special requests where a certificate is given at the session. No replacement will be given if certificates are lost or not printed by the end of the year.
Q.   What if I have completed more than my required 12 hours of Flexible PIR hours? Do I have to attend District-Directed days or other district PIR days?
A.   Yes. You can sign-up for and attend more than the required 12 hours of Flexible PIR listed in the PIR eCentral catalog. However, these additional hours do not replace the requirement to attend one of the many District-Directed (6 hours) events, nor does it replace any of the hours assigned toward the remaining four (4) days of contracted PIR days (two (2) orientation days and two (2) teacher-parent conferences)
Q.   I am a part time teacher. What is my PIR obligation?
A.   Part-time teachers, those hired after the start of the school year and those retiring or resigning early must check with HR for their PIR obligation. Information is available on the HR webpage.
Q.   Can I use professional travel for PIR credit?
A.   Yes, as long as it meets the criteria in the "Special Request Process" and is pre-approved by the teacher's principal and respective assistant superintendent prior to being submitted to the curriculum director. It must be directly related to professional development for the teacher's teaching assignment and cannot be part of a family vacation or student trip. In addition, teachers must have approval prior to attending the professional development opportunity. All special requests are limited to six (6) hours of PIR credit and teachers cannot be on pay status.
Q.   If I attend MEA or another pre-approved professional conference or convention and want PIR credit, do I need to provide documentation?
A.   No. For any conference pre-approved in the PIR eCentral catalog, the PIR eCentral documentation form is what is required. Please remember falsifying this form will lead to disciplinary action.

However, for any special request that involves a conference not listed in the PIR catalog, then documentation must be provided as proof of attendance before credits are awarded.
Q.   What if I am unable or do not want to attend the MEA conference?
A.   The district has developed a variety of workshops listed in PIR eCentral that can be used to meet the 12 hours of Flexible PIR requirement.
Q.   How do I do a special request for a workshop or conference not listed in the Catalog?
A.   Fill out this form. Please scan and email it to Shelly Kelly (elementary) or Susan Quinn (secondary) in the Curriculum Office when it is complete. Once received, it will be reviewed to see if it meets the definition of PIR. If approved, the participant will be emailed to let him or her know it has been approved, and added to PIR eCentral as a special request. Once the conference or workshop is completed, the participant must send proof of attendance to the Curriculum Office to credit the participant in PIR eCentral. If it is not approved, the requestor will receive and email with an explanation.
Q.   Can I do a special request for the District-Directed requirement?
A.   Yes, this process is done manually, however. Ask your principal for the paper form, fill it out, have your principal approve it and then send to the assistant superintendent. The curriculum office will do the final approval and let you know if your request was approved by everyone.
Q.   What if I have signed up for MEA and have to coach a game that day or have to leave early to coach when I have a workshop?
A.   Coaches are expected to complete the contracted 18 hours of PIR during each school year. If their coaching duties take them away from professional development opportunities during the October MEA days or any other workshop or conference, then they must participate in other flexible PIR workshops offered during the school year to meet their entire obligation.
Q.   Can I use sick or personal leave days for PIR?
A.   No, according to Montana Code, a teacher cannot use contractual leave to avoid thd obligation to attend either MEA or other in-service training during the year as approved by the trustees.
Q.   If I have questions about PIR, whom do I contact?
A.   Curriculum office at 268-6020.
Q.   If I would like to teach a professional development workshop, what do I need to do?
A.   Teachers may submit course proposals through the PIR eCentral program. Their courses will be added to the catalog if approved. In order for a course to be considered, all fields must be complete, including location and time. Courses submitted with fields marked TBD, TBA will not be approved.
Q.   How much will a trainer be paid for a six (6)- hour workshop?
A.   Workshop facilitators will be allotted 16 hours at the teaching rate per hour, which is $400. If more than one person teaches the class, they must divide the total.
Q.   If I teach a workshop, can I count it toward my 18-hour PIR requirement?
A.   Teachers may count six (6) hours toward their 12-hours of Flexible requirements only once in the same PIR year. However, if teachers choose this option, they will be paid for 10 hours of prep time, which is $250.
Q.   If I would like to facilitate a discussion group. What do I need to do?
A.   Submit a course proposal through PIR eCentral. Be sure to set the Category to Study Group. If approved, the course will be added to the catalog offerings.
Q.   As an instructor, what are my obligations?

Email your class one week prior, reminding them of upcoming class and any items they are to bring.

Print Attendance sheets (one per session/day) and have the teachers sign for each session/day attended

Note the number of hours each teacher attends on the Attendance sheets for each session/day attended

Sign up for your own class if you want PIR credit rather than pay (Instructors may do this 1 time per school year)

Complete a Time Record sheet for yourself with everything filled out (If more than 1 person facilitates the class they must divide the total hours of pay)

Turn in all paperwork, including Attendance/Hour sheet and Time Record sheets for yourself and teachers (if applicable)

Click for video of Facilitator Overview

Click for PDF of Facilitator Overview

Click for video on how to email

Click for PDF directions on how to email

Click for video on how to print attendance sheets

Click for PDF directions on how to print attendance sheets

Click for PDF samples of all forms to be turned in

PLEASE NOTE: Your attendance sheets should have hours listed and signatures of attendees.

Q.   How much will a facilitator be paid for a six (6)-hour study group?
A.   Teachers will be allotted six (6) hours at the teaching rate per hour, which is $180. If more than one person facilitates the group, they must divide the total. You may also use the group for your PIR requirement. Some study groups will be for PIR credit only.


Renewal Unit Certificates

Renewal unit certificates will be issued for all of the district workshops in the GFPS PIR eCentral Program. Certificates should be printed upon completion of a class, be filled out in pen and stored in a safe place. No duplicates will be issued.


Procedures For Renewal Units
  1. Sponsoring provider (trainer) shall complete the application for renewal units for Flexible PIR Credit Workshop Proposal form and forward to the in-service provider (curriculum director) prior to the beginning of the in-service session.
    • One unit of credit is granted per hour of class-time. Credit cannot be given for less than five units.
    • Recertification units may be granted for staff development/training program. Curriculum work, meetings, etc., do not qualify.
    • No more than two 15 minute breaks for each day of training may be included.
  2. In-service provider (curriculum director) shall return application request either approved or disapproved.
  3. If approved, the sponsoring provider (trainer) shall provide the in-service provider (curriculum director) with a signed roster of all attendees with notes on any special circumstances about attendance. The in-service provider (curriculum director) will prepare and send the appropriate number of certificates as well as a Recertification Credit Report to the sponsoring provider (trainer).
  4. Immediately following the session, the sponsoring provider(trainer) will award credit to the participants so that they can receive their certificates and can complete Section I and III. After the completion of the in-service session, the sponsoring provider (trainer) will send the original copy of the roster and a time-record sheet to the in-service provider (curriculum director).


Certificate Renewal Requirements 
Questions should be directed to: Office of Public Instruction:

Certification Division

Box 202501

Helena, MT 59620-2501

Phone (406) 444-3150
Provider Must Assure Compliance to the Following:
FROM: 10-57-215 RENEWAL REQUIREMENTS and 10.57.201 Definitions
"Renewal Unit" means a quantitative recognition of a certificate holder's participation in activities designed to supplement, enhance, and/or upgrade their professional skills or knowledge base. Any professional development activity used to award renewal units for the renewal of teaching certificates must be
  • a planned and structured experience;
  • of benefit to the certificate holder's professional development, and
  • an exposure to a new idea or skill or an extension of an existing idea or skill.
(This excludes homework assignments, organization business meetings, travel time not directly connected to an educational tour, viewing of exhibits, "networking," and other activities not fitting the definition above.)
The following restrictions and conditions on renewal activities apply:
  • Renewal units will be available only in whole units and in amounts of five (5) or more per approved activity.
  • One renewal unit equal to one (1) hour (minimum of 50 minutes per hour if site changes required.) This excludes meals (except actual program portion) and breaks of over 15 minutes per half day.



Administrative Rules of Montana as Related to PIR

As part of a continuous program for instructional and administrative improvement, each school district shall provide a minimum of three days of professional development annually for each certified employee. A day of professional development is defined as six hours of actual contact time. Professional development time may be divided into no less than two-hour increments to facilitate delivery of professional development programs.