Report on the Secondary English PDS

State College Area School District and
Penn State College of Education Department of Curriculum & Instruction


As the fifth year of the Secondary English PDS draws to a close, this report highlights key benefits, reviews its instructional and fiscal arrangements, and presents a strategic plan for its continued operation.

Key Benefits

Both the school district and university have experienced benefits from the collaborative program. Many of these benefits take the form of increased human potential, and are therefore more difficult to measure in terms of quantitative data. Key benefits for the school district are the increased staffing to better meet the language learning needs of students, and teacher professional development through the additional relationships with university interns and faculty associates as collaborative teaching professionals. Key benefits for the university include the improvement of teacher education courses as a consequence of faculty and GA inquiries into pedagogical issues and ideas within the “live laboratory setting” of the school district classrooms, and the publication of these inquiries within the field of English literacy education.

Penn State has benefited from the work of the interns who have completed the program. Of the 47 interns completing the program, 32 were graduate students who came to Penn State specifically because of the PDS opportunity, and 15 were undergraduate students who preferred the year-long school-based program over the traditional campus based experience with one semester of student teaching. Past interns, who have sought teaching positions, have experienced 100% employment, and many school districts are seeking future graduates from the PDS program after already hiring one. Some interns have reported their readiness to take on key English curriculum leadership positions in their school district.

Graduate education at Penn State has also benefited. Teaching, supervision, and administration of the program has involved 13 Graduate Assistants, three of whom were Holmes Scholars representing diverse minority populations. These future professors developed skills at working with school districts in both professional development and research contexts. They transferred their experience in the school district classrooms, in which they often co-teach with mentors and interns, to on-campus class instruction. Doctoral graduates of the PDS now hold positions at major universities, recruited in part because of their experience in a successful University-School collaboration.

Graduate research has been an integral part of the PDS activities for interns, mentors, and associates. Fifteen interns have completed M.Ed. papers with nine more expected to finish by August, 2003. GA’s have completed three M.Ed. papers, have three Ph.D. theses in the final stages of writing, and four more Ph.D. theses in the research data collection stage. Two additional doctoral theses were completed during the early development of the PDS. Many of the mentor teachers are now involved in graduate study and research. Five mentors have completed M.Ed. papers, two are enrolled in Ph.D. programs, and two are enrolled in M.Ed. programs, with more interested in graduate study at Penn State. In addition, through the PDS activities in the school, teachers learn of summer graduate classes, and approximately 150 registrations for 3 credit classes have been made over the past five summers.

Fifteen national presentations have given prominence to the English PDS program, in particular since it is one of the few national programs for school based teacher education at the secondary level. The National Reading Conference, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the International Reading Association, as the premier organizations for English and literacy education, account for 13 of the PDS presentations over the last five years. Interns and mentors have been significant participants in these presentations along with university associates. Dr. Myers has been invited to present the PDS program as a main presenter at the 2002 and 2003 annual Colloquium of National Conference of Teachers of English Conference on English Education.

Publications include a major book for the field of English education that extensively draws from examples from classrooms in the PDS to illustrate the new and best practices in teaching secondary school English language arts. Two journal publications and a book chapter have also resulted from PDS activity, with other manuscripts currently under review, or revision after review. Mentors have also published independently on classroom teaching ideas as a consequence of their involvement in the PDS. Scholarship efforts have been focused on the field of literacy development and English teacher education, rather than the general field of teacher education and supervision; this focus is characteristic of secondary programs that have strong subject area interests.

While the members of the PDS must do more to share their success with the field of education at large and the field of English teaching in particular, the program takes very seriously its central belief that everything we do must focus on improving the educational experience of the student in the classrooms at State College High School. Such a focus maintains the engagement of the mentors teachers and administrators of the school district.

The involvement of interns and university associates in the school classrooms has increased the educational experience for students and mentor teachers. With a second teacher in the classroom for the entire school year, additional students are reached that would have been missed by the one teacher because of a lack of time or personal connection. Each intern also serves as a support teacher every day in a specially designed inclusion classroom as part of the district’s Collaborative Teaching Initiative (CTI); some of these classes include Social Studies and Science as well as English. Interns serve in special education and reading support centers providing additional instructional support for the school. Survey data and language performance data is being collected in an attempt to document the benefits to students of collaborative teaching in the PDS and CTI classrooms. Interns have also presented to teacher education classes on campus and hosted university students for the middle field experience or for special events like the annual African-American Read-In Day.

Mentors have expressed extensive professional development as a consequence of working with university interns and associates. As a consequence of these additional relationships, they engage in more reflective dialog and thinking about classroom instruction and students needs across all phases of their work. They meet regularly to discuss common questions and share ideas for English teaching.
The power of the PDS is through its impact on people in their everyday experience as students and teachers in the public school. While the PDS program provides important contexts for teaching and research, it simultaneously fulfills the critical mission of university service to the public.

Instructional and Fiscal Arrangement of the English PDS

Interns enroll in 36 credits over the Fall, Spring, and Summer I semesters. The Fall and Spring credits fulfill their certification requirements. The CI 501: Classroom Inquiry, Summer I course, acts as a capstone course on teacher inquiry, and maintains enrollment at the University through the end of the school district year in June. Summer tuition from this course supports the work of university associates for an additional month or so of May and the first of June.

Secondary English PDS Scholarship


  • Myers, J. & Pirrone, J. (1997). School-University Collaboration at the Secondary Level, Pennsylvania Educational Leadership, 17/1, 38-46.
  • Myers, J., Hammett, R., & McKillop, A.M. (2000). Connecting, Exploring, and Exposing the Self in Hypermedia Projects. In M. Gallego & S.Hollingsworth (Editors), What Counts as literacy: Challenging the school standard, 85-105. New York: Teachers College Press.
  • Myers, J. & Beach, R. (2001). Hypermedia authoring as critical literacy. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 44(6) (538-546).
  • Beach, R. & Myers, J. (2001). Inquiry-Based English Instruction: Engaging Students in Life and Literature. New York: Teachers College Press.
  • Myers, J. & Beach, R. (2003). Hypermedia Authoring as Critical Literacy. In B. Bruce, Ed., Literacy in the Information Age: Inquiries into meaning making with new technologies, 233-246. Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association.
  • Myers, J. (2004). Using technology tools to support learning in the English language arts. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 3(4), 436-442.
  • Myers, J & Beach, R. (2004). Constructing critical literacy practices through technology tools and inquiry. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 4(?), in press.


  • 1/97 The Holmes Partnership Gateway Conference, Saint Louis, Missouri: "Actualizing The Professional Development School at the Elementary and Senior High Levels: Promises, Possibilities, Problems and Pitfalls," Jamie Myers, Nancy Dana, Lynn Dobash, Josphine Pirrone, and Judy Fueyo.
  • 12/97 National Reading Conference 47th Annual Meeting, Scottsdale, Arizona: "Structuring a Literacy Community: A School-University Teacher Education Collaboration," Jamie Myers and Josephine Pirrone.
  • 12/97 National Reading Conference 47th Annual Meeting, Scottsdale, Arizona: "Girlfiend in a Coma: A discussion of reading practices demonstrated in students' hypermedia compositions about Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet," Jamie Myers, Roberta Hammett, Ann Margaret McKillop, and Josephine Pirrone.
  • 1/98 The Holmes Partnership Annual Meeting: Imagine Tomorrow: "Integrating Information Technologies into the Curriculum," Work Team Leaders Jamie Myers and Josephine Pirrone.
  • 1/98 The Holmes Partnership Annual Meeting: Imagine Tomorrow, Orlando, Florida: "Powerful Partners: Penn State's College of Education and State College Area School District's Stories of Elementary and Senior High Collaboration," Jamie Myers, Nancy Dana, Judith Fueyo, Peter Rubba, Tom Dana, Genevieve Duque, Josephine Pirrone, Evan McClintock, Sandra Wynggard, and Lynn Dobash.
  • 7/98 Literacy, Arts and Learning: Crossing Boundaries, Boise, Idaho: "Authoring Hypermedia in Response to Literature and Life," Keynote Conference Address, Jamie Myers.
  • 12/98 National Reading Conference 48th Annual Meeting, Austin, Texas: "The Consequences for Literacy and Pedagogy when Integrating Multimedia Hypertext Tools: A Museum of Classroom Practices," Jamie Myers, Michelle Black (High School Senior); Lincoln Blaisdell, Regina Derrico, Josephine Pirrone, & Lisa Zolnowski (High School Teachers); and Roberta Hammett and Ann Margaret McKillop (University Professors).
  • 12/98 National Reading Conference 48th Annual Meeting, Austin, Texas: “Constructing Identity as a teacher through dialogue journals: Negotiating multiple perspectives.” Jamie Myers, Roberta Hammett, Jim Albright, Peg Vlasak (High School Teacher), and Denise Savini (Intern).
  • 1/99 The Holmes Partnership Annual Meeting: Interdependence Days, Boston, MA: “A Secondary English Education Internship Collaboration,” Jamie Myers (University); Ben Brigham, Dana Salter, Denise Savina, Heather Turner (Interns); Ellen Campbell, Carol Paul, Jenn Simons, Peg Vlasak, Sandra Wyngaard (Mentor Teachers); and Jim Albright, Rochelle Brock, Rod Pederson (Doctoral Students).
  • 1/99 The Holmes Partnership Annual Meeting: Interdependence Days, Boston, MA: Work Team #4 Leader: Integrating Information Technologies into the Curriculum, Jamie Myers.
  • 3/99 National Council of Teachers of English Spring Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio: "Powerful Technologies for Powerful Literacies," a 2 hour workshop, Jamie Myers, Ann Margaret McKillop and Josephine Pirrone.
  • 12/99 National Reading Conference 49th Annual Meeting, Orlando, Florida: “Literacy, Identity, and Relationships—Constructing Collaboration in a Secondary English Professional Development School, “ Jamie Myers (University); Carol Paul, Jen Simons, Peg Vlasak, (Mentors); Larry Ferguson, Rod Pederson, Rochelle Brock, Jim Albright (Associates); Denise Savini, Dana Salter, and Ben Brigham (Interns).
  • 1/00 The Holmes Partnership Annual Meeting: Powerful Partnerships, Cincinnati, Ohio: “Collaborative Classroom Research Projects,” Jamie Myers (University), Ann Vandervelde (Mentor), Betsy Fetchko, Kelly Bertoty, Leah Hunter, Karen Morris, and Andrea Acker (Interns).
  • 1/00 The Holmes Partnership Annual Meeting: Powerful Partnerships, Cincinnati, Ohio: “Museum of Technology Integration Projects,” Jamie Myers, Dana Salter, Amy Taylor, Larry Ferguson (Unviersity); Jason McMurtrie (Mentor); Kelly Bertoty, Karen Morris (Interns); and Richard Sawyer.
  • 12/00 National Reading Conference 50th Annual Meeting, Scottsdale, Arizona: “Challenging and Changing School Literacy Practices through Professional Development School Collaboration.” Jamie Myers (University); Carol Paul, Ellen Campbell (Mentors); Amy Taylor (Doctoral Student).
  • 1/01 The Holmes Partnership Annual Meeting, New Mexico: "An Inquiry Model for PDS learning," Anne Slonaker, Allison Becker, Michel Pavlov (Graduate Students).
  • 2/01 38th Annual Conference on Learning Disabilities, New York, New York: “Secondary Collaboration for Inclusion of Students with Learning Disabilities.” Jamie Myers (University); Patrick J. Moore, Marcia Kramer, Barbara DeShong, Ellen Campbell, and Deb Hagg (State College Area School District Administrators and Teachers).
  • 3/01 22nd Annual Ethnography in Education Research Forum, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: “Constructing New Practices of Literacy and Pedagogy in a PDS.” Jamie Myers, Rod Pederson (University); David Jagger,, Corey O’Brien, Stephen Fonash (Interns).
  • 4/01 46th Annual Convention of the International Reading Association, New Orleans, Louisiana. Institute Presentation: "Building a Professional Development School for Secondary School Literacy." Jamie Myers, Rod Pederson, Melissa Troise, Amy Taylor, Osayimwense Osa, Sarah Green, Larry Ferguson (University); Mary Nasatka, Jason McMurtire, Kaylene Brummett, Barbara DeShong, Denise Savini (Mentors); Corey O'Brien, John Gildea, Andrew Serrano, Kelly Bertoty, Daina Dexheimer, David Jagger (Interns).11/01 91st Annual Convention, Recreating the Classroom, National Council of Teachers of English, Baltimore, Maryland. "Generating New Literacies and Renewed Professionals in a Secondary English Professional Development School." Jamie Myers (University); Barbara DeShong, Ellen Campbell, Anne Vandervelde, Michael Goldfine, Kaylene Brummett (Mentors); Corey O'Brien, David Jaggar, John Gildea, Julie Hendershot, Casey Brady, Arlene Morris, Arianne Bumbarger, Will Aurandt, Sabrina Ehmke, Sarah Rito, (Interns); Sangmin Lee, Allison Becker, Ann Slonaker, Michele Pavlov, Larry Ferguson, and Mauricio Molina (Graduate Students).
  • 12/01 National Reading Conference 51st Annual Meeting, San Antonio, Texas: "Aligning our Practice: An Inquiry Discourse for the Literacy Classroom, for Teacher Education, and for Professional development." Jamie Myers, (University), Larry Ferguson (Graduate Student), Corey O'Brien (Intern).
  • 10/02 International Conference of the Korean Associate of Multimedia-Assisted Language Learning, Seoul, Korea. Jamie Myers, Keynote Speech: The benefits of student hypermedia authoring.
  • 11/02 92nd Annual Convention, Celebrating the Languages and Literacies of Our Lives, National Council of Teachers of English, Atlanta, Georgia. "Critical Inquiry Projects: Exploring how literacy constructs identities, relationships, and values in our social worlds. Jamie Myers, Denise Savini, Deb Steinberg, Anne Slonaker, and Richard Beach.
  • 11/02 92nd Annual Convention, Celebrating the Languages and Literacies of Our Lives, National Council of Teachers of English, Atlanta, Georgia. Convention on English Education Colloquium- Is there madness in our methods?: New directions for the English methods course; Jamie Myers, Critical Inquiry in a Year-Long Internship Program.
  • 11/02 92nd Annual Convention, Celebrating the Languages and Literacies of Our Lives, National Council of Teachers of English, Atlanta, Georgia. Critical Classrooms for Critical Times Workshop: Jamie Myers, Critical Inquiry into Social Worlds in the High School English Classroom through hypermedia.
  • 5/03 Information Technology Center ANGEL Day: A symposium of Faculty Examples, Pennsylvania State University: “Supporting an Inquiry Community.”
  • 5/03 College of Education Alumni Open House, Pennsylvania State University: “Enhancing Student Learning with Technology.”
    11/03 93rd Annual Convention, National Council of Teachers of English, San Francisco: “Connecting Diverse Literacies: Examples from inclusion classrooms.”
  • 11.03 93rd Annual Convention, National Council of Teachers of English, San Francisco: Conference on English Education, Invited Panelist Presentation: “Technology Issues in English Teacher Preparation.”
  • 12/03 53rd Annual Meeting, National Reading Conference, Scottsdale, Arizona: “The Texts of Teacher Education: Diversity in Research and Practice,” with Larry Ferguson, Margaret Finders, & Lucretia Penny Pence, Presenter.
  • 12/03 53rd Annual Meeting, National Reading Conference, Scottsdale, Arizona: “New Literacies in K-12 and Teacher Education: Examining Expanding Perspectives/Exploring Practical Applications,” Chair.
  • 3/04 Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, Atlanta, Georgia: “Integrating technology in the English Language Arts.”
  • 4/04 American Educational Research Association, 2004 Annual Meeting, San Diego, California: “The Place of Writing in Hypermedia Authoring: Tension and Paradox in English Class,”
  • 11/04 94rd Annual Convention, National Council of Teachers of English, Indianapolis: “How technologies support literacy strategies and professional development in secondary English inclusion classrooms,” with Denise Savini, Keith Thompson, Chris McKee, Veronica Iacobazzo, Sue Olenoski, Rebecca Pangborn, Donna King, and Allison Becker.

Masters and Doctoral Papers/Theses

Doctoral Theses:

  • 10/98 Ph.D., Josephine Pirrone: Theorizing a Place for technology within a classroom dialectic: A teacher research investigation.
  • 8/99 Ph.D., Jim Albright: Rewriting English and the Problem of Normativity: A Bordieuian Analysis.
  • 12/03 Ph.D., Anne Slonaker: One Critical Literacy Inquiry: Working to connect personal struggles to social issues (critical literacy inquiry in PDS program)
  • 5/04 Ph.D. Namhee Kim, Cultural and Linguistic Identity of ESL Students in a U.S. High School
  • 8/04 Ph.D. Sangmin Lee, The role of online discussion and web authoring in creating community and identity.

Ph.D. Thesis Research currently being done about PDS activities:

Allison Becker, Critical literacy and democratic classrooms, anticipated in 2005
Denise Savini, Co-teaching and Collaboration Effects, anticipated in 2005
Carol Paul, Mentor teacher and intern professional development, anticipated in 2005

Masters’ Papers/Theses Completed:

4/99 M.Ed., Heather Turner: Building a Partnership
8/99 M.Ed., Denise Savini: Professional Development Collaboration: An Intern’s Perspective on the Structure of a Pilot Program.
8/99 M.Ed., Margaret Vlasak: The Trials and Triumphs of a Professional Development School from the Perspective of a Mentor Teacher.
12/99 Honors, Benjamin Brigham: Socializing the Self: Implications for the language and literacy classroom at the secondary level.
8/00 M.Ed., Dana Salter: I looked in the mirror and saw the teacher: the teacher looked in the mirror and saw me.
8/00 M.Ed., Betsy Fetchko: PDS 1999-2000: An exploration of power and hierarchy in defining a pedagogy
8/00 M.Ed., Andrea Acker: Creating a democratic classroom: The gradual process
8/00 M.Ed., Karen Morris: Technology in the English classroom
8/01 M.Ed., Adrianne Flower: Text and Community
8/01 M.Ed., Sean Coffron: Building Community in the Classroom
8/01 M.S. Melissa Troise: Constructing Classroom Communities
8/01 M.Ed., Marilyn Jones: Ninth grade students' perceptions of English Class as conditioned by their parents and society versus the creation of a humane literacy program in this technological multi-cultural multi-socioeconomic society.
8/02 M.Ed., Mauricio Molina: Learning the Teacher Discourse.
8/02 M.Ed., Arriane Bumbarger: Place-based pedagogy for Active Learning in the English Classroom.
8/02 M.Ed., Arlene Morris: Identity and Self-Efficacy as PDS Intern.
8/02 M.Ed., Sabrina Ehmke: Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The search to find a meaningful and practical way to assess student writing.
8/02 M.Ed., Krista Wegman: Active Reading Strategies.
8/02 M.Ed., Alison Colwell: An Exploration of inquiry in the English Classroom.
8/02 M.Ed., Gregory Miller: Creative Projects in the English Class as Accurate Methods of Assessment for Deep Thought and Relevant Personal Connections.
5/03 M.Ed., Ellen Campbell: Questions of Being.
8/03 M.Ed., Leah Haslam: Problems of engagement: Motivating students/motivating ourselves.
8/03 M.Ed. Thomas Correll: Giving the silent student a voice: Strategies to encourage active participation.
8/03 M.Ed. Kristina McGrath: Authentic Audience.
8/03 M.Ed. Eric Blackburn: Strategies to promote writing.
8/03 M.Ed. Rebecca Pangborn: Exploring our practice: Teaching reading in the secondary English classroom. (Also submitted to NCTE’s English Journal for possible publication).
8/03 M.Ed. Angela Single: A student teacher’s reflections: What can be discovered through reflection facilitated by daily journaling.
8/03 M.Ed. Veronica Iacobazzo: Developing my teacher identity.
8/03 M.Ed. Kathleen Dudley Perry: Confessions of an ex-gradeaholic: Redirecting student motivation.
8/03 M. Ed. Sara Kasper: A teacher’s technological odyssey: Integrating an online discussion board into English classroom curriculum.
12/03 M.Ed., Michele Pavlov Fowkes: Reading Fluency Uncovered: What Is Its Place in the High School Classroom?
8/04 M.Ed., Kimberly Dennis: Building Classroom Community by Exploring Our Values
8/04 M.Ed., Kevin Hulburt: The Role of Grammar in an English Curriculum.
8/04 M.Ed., Kathleen Kline: How did the Professional Development School Facilitate my Philosophy of Education?
8/04 M.Ed., Jessica Lackey: Using Reading Logs in the Classroom: My Never-Ending Inquiry.
8/04 M.Ed., Mariel Yuhas: The Socratic Method in the Secondary English Classroom.
8/04 M.Ed., Katherine Maslanik: Using Technology to Promote Literacy in the Middle School English Classroom.