College of Education > News and Publications > News: Jan. - March 2011 > Penn State/State College PDS Wins Spirit of Partnership Award

Penn State/State College PDS Wins Spirit of Partnership Award

For the fourth time in 10 years, the Professional Development School collaborative between Penn State’s College of Education and the State College Area School District has received a national award.

by Joe Savrock (February 2011)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – For the fourth time in 10 years, the Professional Development School (PDS) collaborative between Penn State’s College of Education and the State College Area School District has received a national award.

The Penn State/State College PDS has been named winner of the 2011 Spirit of Partnership Award, given by the University of South Carolina’s PDS National Conference Planning Team. The award will be presented March 10 at the PDS National Conference in New Orleans.

The Penn State/State College PDS involves preservice teachers and faculty members at Penn State, as well as veteran teachers and administrators of the school district, all of whom work together toward the high-quality induction of new teachers into the education field. The PDS concept supports the learning of prospective and beginning teachers by creating settings in which preservice teachers enter professional practice by working with veteran teachers, who in turn benefit in their own professional development by assuming roles as mentors.

The Spirit of Partnership Award recognizes institutions that have played key roles in the success of the PDS National Conference. Conference committee chair Bruce Field noted, “This long overdue recognition acknowledges the impressive contributions Penn State and its partner schools have made to the conference in terms of sheer numbers—my count shows 90 presentations since 2006—but also in terms of the vibrant intellectual spirit those presentations have brought to the event.”

“We've found that presenting the work we do together at a national conference plays an important part in keeping us focused on simultaneously renewing our teacher education program and the schools themselves,” said Bernard Badiali, coordinator of the Penn State/State College PDS. “Our goal in the PDS has always been to blend the expertise of university professors with that of classroom teachers and school administrators. Having them work collaboratively on research and innovative practices results in the kind of relationship that keeps our partnership healthy.”

Badiali added, “Not only is the conference experience important to our own discovery and affirmation of effective practices, but it has also allowed us to share our findings with literally hundreds of schools around the country. I feel strongly that what has been done through our partnership has had a very positive impact on professional development schools from coast to coast.”

The Penn State/State College PDS has won three other prominent national awards. In 2009 it won the National Association for Professional Development School’s inaugural Exemplary Professional Development School Achievement Award. In 2002, the PDS was named the Distinguished Teacher Education Program from the Association of Teacher Educators. In 2004, it earned the Nancy Zimpher Outstanding School–University Partnership Award, presented by the Holmes Partnership Group.