Professional Development Schools (PDSs) are collaboratively planned and implemented partnerships between an institution of higher education (IHE) and a local school system and/or an individual school. Mandated by the State of Maryland, PDSs provide for the academic and clinical preparation of interns and the continuous professional development of both the school system and the university faculty.
PDS activities take many forms in order to reflect specific partnership objectives for improving both the teacher-candidate preparation and the school’s operations. University faculty members stay current with teaching practices and school policies through multi-layered connections with P-12 schools. Schools provide authentic learning environments in which faculty can conduct research. P-12 teachers participate in regularly scheduled professional development workshops. P-12 students benefit from extra hands in the classrooms as well as the enthusiasm and new techniques that interns bring to their internship experience.
Through PDS programs, P-12 teachers may be recruited to:
- Teach/co-teach a university course
- Collaborate with university faculty on school-based research
- Write for a publication
- Deliver a professional development workshop
- Attend conferences
Teacher candidates are placed in a UMBC PDS for their internship experience whenever possible. An individual PDS typically receives five or more teacher candidates per year. A PDS school-based liaison and a PDS IHE liaison work together to facilitate the internship experience. In addition, they develop activities beneficial to both the school and UMBC’s Education Department.