What are Professional Development Schools?

Professional Development Schools (PDSs) are innovative partnerships between K-12 schools and university teacher credentialing programs.  PDSs are similar to the relationships between teaching hospitals and medical schools.  Both professions require a great deal of academic theory accompanied by clinical fieldwork.  The teaching hospital model provides medical students with specific and detailed field work, giving them an opportunity to practice theory in a realistic environment.  Similarly in a PDS, teacher candidates work for one or two semesters alongside a veteran cooperating teacher, giving them the same opportunity to connect theory to practice.

The goal of this new initiative is to improve and promote high quality learning experiences through the collaborative efforts of school and university faculty.  The overall objective of the partnership has four components which include:

  1. The preparation of new teachers
  2. Continued professional development for both K-12 and university faculty
  3. Inquiry and collaboration directed at the improvement of teaching practices
  4. Improved K-12 student achievement

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