Friday, April 4, 2014

Professional Development Schools

I recently had the opportunity to attend the National Association of Professional Development Schools (NAPDS) conference in Las Vegas with Dr. Sally Catoe, our USC Clinical Adjuct, Dr. Jeanene Varner, our USC Liaison, Mrs. Kelly Dawson, one of our coaching teachers, and our full-time USC interns, Courtney Falgowski, Emily Krick, Allison Mitzner, and Corinne Hangacsi. Corinne and Emily presented a 45 minute presentation entitled "A New Kind of Teacher; A Different Kind of Leader" along with Dr. Catoe, Dr. Varner, Mrs. Dawson, and myself. Courtney and Allison presented at the student poster session on Saturday morning about the connections between USC and their experience here at NSE.

The conversations at this conference are always so rich and exciting because of the combination of university people, P-12 people, and teacher candidates. I believe that it is imperative that the P-12 and teacher preparation programs at the university level work hand in hand when it comes to preparing teacher candidates for the workforce. Content and practice cannot be taught in isolation and the more practice these young teachers have the better prepared they will be.

This trip was followed up with a visit from some educators from Georgia Regents University on yesterday (Thursday, April 3). This conversation was equally rich and exciting because we brought in a current full-time intern, a part-time intern, a former intern who is now teaching second grade, Dr. Bruce Field, Dr. Maree Price, Dr. Jeanene Varner, and myself. One of the most profound comments came from our full-time intern. She said that her teacher last semester made the comment that she (the intern) had taught her a great deal about how to implement technology in the classroom. This was important because many of our veteran teachers are struggling with the way that technology has impacted our teaching strategies. Of course, the intern was equally grateful for the things that the veteran teacher has taught her as well. The relationship between the coaching teacher and the intern should be reciprocal.

Over the last three years, we have had the privilege of hiring six USC interns at our school. Several others have joined other schools within the district because of their relationship with the PDS program. PDS interns graduate with a more rigorous and practical experience that gives them a heads up during the hiring process. One reason is because, the school administration is better prepared to speak confidently about their skills in the classroom and with colleagues.

Dr. "H."
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