Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
PORTALES – Eastern New Mexico University elementary education students are getting a taste of real-world teaching experiences through a collaborative effort with the Portales Municipal School District.
The Professional Development School (PDS) at James Elementary in Portales, a collaborative effort between Eastern and the Portales Municipal School District, is in a position to close the gap between research about teaching and actual practices, according to Dr. Patricia Whitney, ENMU associate professor of curriculum and instruction and director of the Professional Development School. PDSs are re-designed and re-structured to support their mission of professional preparation of teaching candidates, development of both the university and public school faculty, and improvement of teaching practices to enhance student learning, says Whitney.
Approximately 100 ENMU students per year who are teacher candidates participate in the PDS at James. They work with approximately 12 teachers at James, according to Dr. Jerry Everhart, ENMU associate professor of elementary education and graduate coordinator.
ENMU's steering committee consists of Dr. Kenneth Moore, dean of the College of Education at Eastern, Dr. Patricia Whitney, director of the PDS, Dr. Jerry Everhart, associate professor of elementary education, Anna Brock, clinical faculty member, and Jane Thompson, coordinator of teacher education. James' steering committee consists of Portales Municipal Schools superintendent Dr. Jim Holloway, assistant superintendent of instruction Deborah Dominguez-Clark, James Elementary principal Mike Terry, and teachers Mary Murray, Caron Powers, Sonia Strong, Max Pino and Waverly Criswell.
|THE RIGHT RECIPE FOR TEACHING SUCCESS – Eastern New Mexico University pre-service teacher Tabitha Basom is one of approximately 100 ENMU students that receive teacher training each year at Eastern's Professional Development School at James Elementary in Portales, in collaboration with the Portales Municipal School District. Here, on a recent day at James, Tabitha works with (left) Elizabeth Goodwin and Raesha Cain in learning about some everyday household products.|
Whitney says that Professional Development School partners – ENMU and James Elementary in this case – work together over time, building relationships and commitment to their shared goals. They develop new strategies, roles and relationships to support their work. At the most advanced stages of development, PDS partnerships influence policies and practices at the district, state and national levels.
According to Whitney, "More demands are placed on public school students all the time. They are expected to demonstrate deeper and more advanced levels of knowledge. Attention to teacher quality is critical in meeting these demands. Professional Development Schools are an attempt to bridge the gap between what is expected of teachers and their training to meet these missions."
Whitney says that one approach to meeting these challenges is for university teacher preparation programs to become aligned and work effectively with public schools. Educators in both schools and universities realize that there is often a gap between research and practice. PDSs try to develop linkages that allow universities and schools to benefit from the relationship created between them.
In the case of ENMU and James, Eastern students get a chance to practice their teaching methods while working with experienced public school teachers. The public school teachers have the opportunity to be exposed to the latest research in learning practices.
"The expertise and resources of both Eastern and James have the opportunity to support each other," says Whitney. "We are very excited and pleased that James allows us to give our teacher candidates the benefit of working with their teachers who are rich in real world-experience. It's a great learning laboratory for Eastern students. We also hope that the shared experience invigorates the public school teachers."
Five specific standards have been developed for Professional Development Schools by the national Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. These are:
- Learning Community. The PDS is a learning-centered community that supports the integrated learning and development of public school students, teacher candidates and PDS partners. Learning supported by this community results in change and improvement in individual practice and in the policies and practices of the partnering institutions.
- Accountability and Quality Assurance. PDS partners are accountable to themselves and to the public for upholding professional standards for teaching and learning.
- Collaboration. PDS partners systematically move from independent to interdependent practice by committing themselves and making a commitment to each other to engage in joint work focused on implementing the PDS mission.
- Diversity and Equity. PDS partners ensure that the policies and practices of the partner institutions result in equitable learning outcomes for all PDS participants.
- Structures, Resources and Roles. The partner institutions ensure that structures, programs and resource decisions support the partnership's mission. The partnership effectively uses communication for coordination and linkage with the school district, university and other constituencies and to inform the public, policymakers and professional audiences of its work.
According to Everhart, Eastern and the Portales Municipal School District have partnered the Professional Development School at James Elementary since 1995.
|PDS STEERING COMMITTEE – Members of the steering committee for the Professional Development School at James Elementary include (L-R): Dr. Kenneth Moore, dean of the ENMU College of Education and Technology; Dr. Patricia Whitney, ENMU associate professor of curriculum and instruction and director of the Professional Development School; and James Elementary teachers Waverly Criswell, Sonia Strong, Caren Powers and Max Pino. Members of the steering committee not pictured are Dr. Jim Holloway, Deborah Dominguez-Clark, Mike Terry, Mary Murray, Anna Brock and Jane Thompson.|