A Professional Development School (PDS) is a collaboratively planned and implemented partnership for the academic and clinical preparation of interns and the continuous professional development of both school systems and institutions of higher education (IHE) faculty. The focus of the PDS partnership is improved student performance through research-based teaching and learning. A PDS may involve a single or multiple schools, school systems and IHEs and may take many forms to reflect specific partnership activities and approaches to improving both teacher education and PreK-12 schools. A key feature of the PDS partnership is its governance by a Coordinating Council comprised of school-based site coordinators and administrators, Hood faculty and PDS staff, and school system representatives.
Participants in the PDS partnership recognize a shared responsibility for the preparation of interns, the professional development of in-service teachers and administrators, improvement of all students’ learning, and improvement in professional practice. PDSs provide the site for performance-based learning by interns and offer interns successive experiences that build upon and integrate knowledge gained from coursework within the teacher preparation program. The partnership between the local school system and IHE ensures alignment of curriculum with the activities that interns observe and conduct within the PreK-12 classroom. PDS supports a focus on student learning that then informs curriculum development within the teacher preparation program. Additionally, PDS serves as a laboratory for demonstrations of best practices and introduction of new pedagogical techniques, including those that involve the use of technology.
The components of a PDS are:
• Teacher preparation through extensive internship
• Continuing professional development
• Professional inquiry, action research and performance assessment
• Shared focus on improving P-12 student achievement
The Standards for Maryland Professional Development Schools are designed to identify the characteristics of a PDS and to support the development and implementation of quality PDSs. They are:
• Learning Community – As a learning community, the PDS recognizes and supports the distinct learning needs of all stakeholders.
• Collaboration – The mission of the PDS is jointly defined and mutually supported by the IHE and the schools, who jointly set standards for participation and learning outcomes. Respect for the needs and goals of all stakeholders are central to the PDS.
• Accountability – The PDS accepts the responsibility of and is held accountable for upholding professional standards for preparing and renewing teachers in accordance with the Redesign of Teacher Education in the State of Maryland. All PDS stakeholders are held accountable for the achievement of PreK-16 students as measured by performance assessments.
• Organization, Roles and Resources – PDS partners allocate resources and time to support the continuous improvement of teaching and learning.
• Diversity and Equity – The PDS supports equitable involvement of PreK-16 faculty and interns, as well as equitable support of student outcomes.
DESCRIPTION OF PDS FIELD EXPERIENCES
It is the belief of the Hood College Education Department that practical, real-world field experiences are an essential component of the initial teacher certification process. These field experiences allow interns to interact with students, staff and administrators in operational school settings, and to gain first-hand experiences with school system curricula, procedures, and best practices of instruction.
Throughout all phases of the early childhood and elementary/special education programs, Hood students are placed with tenured, professionally certified PDS mentor teachers who are responsible for collaborating with the college faculty, supervisors, and PDS coordinators to provide the interns with individualized support. These pre-service mentors receive ongoing training in guiding, supporting and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of interns.
For additional Information, visit the Hood College PDS site.