A Development History of ESU PDS - 1999-2017 and beyond
A Professional Development School partnership model chosen by ESU teacher educators as the strongest way to prepare beginning teachers, facilitate renewal at both the school and university, and enhance teaching and learning that leads to student success. Programs with PDS relationships can be found in Elementary Education, Special Education, Secondary Education, and Health and Physical Education.
Four interlocking puzzle pieces represent the phases of ESU's PDS journey. The synthesis of these ideas is based on the compilation and analysis of ESU PDS scholarly activity over the past 18 years, including grants, publications and presentations. Three pieces - Initiation (blue), Integration (green), and interdependence (red) represent how ESU and public school partners from Monroe/Pike Counties and the Lehigh Valley began, grew and engaged in PDS work from 1999-2017. The orange puzzle piece - Innovation represents a future that is grounded in our growth.
INITIATION: Valuing and Imagining
The Initiation Phase was built on a solid foundation of mutual respect and years of coordinating efforts between school districts and ESU for teacher education candidates’ clinical experiences and student teaching. This phase involved a deeper valuing of each other’s roles while increasing communication and conversations about our individual responsibilities and plans for collaboration and creating learning communities. We grew together across schools and the university, but we also grew closer within our Individual settings across department and grade levels through our conversations and shared experiences. Partnership grants provided the necessary funding to support developing the PDS with our elementary, secondary, and special education partners in Monroe/Pike Counties and the Lehigh Valley. Faculty scholarship included publications and presentations about building a quality PDS. Most notable of these was the 2006 monograph, Cultivating a PDS Landscape: Designs from East Stroudsburg University containing articles by several faculty and PDS teachers.
“PDSs build from a foundation of individuals from K-12 schools and universities working together through shared interest, mutual commitment, and trust. The resulting conversations and growth changed us all as we understood each other and ourselves better. University faculty developed relationships with teachers and schools focused on improving student achievement as the ultimate goal” (p. 7).
INTEGRATION: Boundary Spanning
The Integration Phase was a period of expansion, collaboration and learning as a community. We designed a common language, mission, and vision; found that our PDS practices compared favorably with national standards and gained a presence on the national PDS stage. With the onset of scale PDS models in ELED/SPED, HPE, SPED and the inclusion of graduate and some undergraduate programs in PSED we were engaged on multiple levels spanning departments, colleges, and seven school districts. We enhanced communication, planning and assessment through Coordinating Council and Site Council meetings. We began to dig deeper into working together more effectively, sharing responsibility, and gathering data on the impact of our work on student learning and pre-service teacher development. We held semester-end Celebrations of Learning to commemorate the success of our collaborations, teacher candidate growth, and our joint impact on student learning. PA PDS Network grants provided funding to support collaborative projects. Teachers, administrators and faculty scholarship included publications, presentations and symposia on action research and best practice. Most notably, ESU received the 2007 NAPDS Spirit of Partnership Award that recognizes institutions that have played key roles in the success of the PDS National Conference through presentations documenting collaborative research and innovative practices with their PDS partners. ESU faculty and school partners have presented annually at the National Association of Professional Development School Conference since 2000, serve on the NAPDS Board, editors and reviewers of the journal, and as past presidents (Dr. Alison Rutter, 2008-2010).
“As a learning community, the education of beginning educators has become a collective effort…Research on PDS has shown that beginning educators who are given this richness of immersion and input from multiple mentor educators develop a stronger teacher identity and ability to begin their teaching careers confidently and competently” (Rutter and Krenz, 2006, p. 49).
INTERDEPENDENCE: Believing and Sustaining
The Interdependence Phase embodied leadership, expertise, and belief in the transformative power of Professional Development Schools within and across various stakeholders. We now had principals who, as teacher candidates, experienced the power of PDS, a history of impact on student learning, and continued status at the state and national level for Teaching Excellence. Partners had an equitable voice in curriculum and programmatic changes, adding ideas about how to work together to enhance and sustain our partnership. Student teachers now complete action research projects, sharing results at their PDS sites and a Teacher Researcher symposium each semester. Stakeholders embraced responsibility for the success of all learners and the development of excellence in teaching. Faculty scholarship included publications and presentations on curriculum development, inquiry and interdisciplinary collaboration. Most notably was the digital publication, Stories from the Field (2013), written about the engagement of our teacher candidates, masters and doctoral students with faculty and master teachers in authentic learning experiences for students.
“We recognize that true teaching blends the art and science of instruction with a deep rooted care and concern for students and lifelong learning. Through these stories we truly understand the difference teachers make each and every day in the lives of their students” (Stories from the Field, p.2).
INNOVATION: Leveraging Social Change
We now embark on the Innovation Phase with full recognition of our history and our capacity to effect change. We know that we are better together, that we can rely on each other’s expertise, and that we are mutually invested in the learning of all students and excellence in teacher preparation. We see our new role as change makers exploring entrepreneurial initiatives and harnessing ideas about social innovation to make a difference in the lives of students, families and the community. Charting new paths will require both a recommitment to our mission and engagement in a cycle of continuous improvement through inquiry and more rigorous program evaluation. The PDS Symposium program breakout sessions are designed to inspire innovation and educational risk-taking at ESU and PDS sites. The collaborative work session – Leading by Convening: Setting A Future for PDS Work will engage stakeholders in setting a bold path for innovation and excellence initiated by grants. To begin this exciting next step we are inviting stakeholders throughout the Symposium to think forward, imagine new possibilities for collaboration and inquiry, student success and teacher development, and ways to bring innovation into our teaching and learning. Quite possibly we need to consider giving ESU PDS a new name as we recommit to the dynamic, collaborative partnerships in which we engage to maximize learning at every level.
“Vision without execution is hallucination” (Case, S. 2013. The Education Innovation Summit).
History Synthesizers: Suzanne Mueller and Bob Smith