College of Education > News and Publications > 2018: 01-03 news > College of Education's Professional Development School earns national award

College of Education's Professional Development School earns national award

Penn State and the State College Area School District have earned the Exemplary PDS Achievement award from the National Association for Professional Development Schools and will be honored March 17 at the NAPDS conference in Jacksonville, Florida.

Penn State and the State College Area School District have earned the Exemplary PDS Achievement award from the National Association for Professional Development Schools and will be honored March 17 at the NAPDS conference in Jacksonville, Florida.

The awards committee cited the partnership for its 20-year anniversary and its commitment to a "culture of inquiry" as well as its leadership in the PDS movement nationally. Penn State's collaboration with the State College Area Schools received the same award in 2009. The College's Professional Development School program is celebrating its 20th anniversary this spring.

The College of Education sends between 70 and 80 prospective teachers each academic year to State College's various schools and a few other central Pennsylvania school districts. The student teachers are with their mentors and in their respective classrooms from mid-August to mid-June and leave with a complete sense of what an entire academic year entails.

The PDS conducts its annual Inquiry Conference in late April at Mount Nittany Middle School in Boalsburg, and each teacher presents his or her inquiry topic/research question and then fields questions from guests in their classrooms.

In addition, NAPDS chose Mary Elizabeth Higgins as winner of the 2018 Outstanding Dissertation Award. Higgins, currently on the faculty at the University of Colorado, earned her doctorate in 2017 from Penn State with a dissertation titled, "The Influence of Practitioner Research on Teacher Candidates' Beliefs." Higgins' work was cited for helping the local school community, as well as the larger PDS-teacher education field, to better understand the influence of inquiry on pre-service teacher development.

NAPDS is a national organization supporting and advancing school-university collaboration. The vision of the association is to serve as an advocate for the educational community in promoting the continuous development of PreK-12/higher education/community relationships. 

SUNY-Buffalo State, Baylor University and Ohio University are also receiving Exemplary PDS Achievement awards this year.

Jim Carlson (February 2018)