Graduate School of Education

What are Professional Development Schools?

Professional Development Schools (PDSs) are innovative partnerships between K-12 schools and university teacher credentialing programs. PDSs are similar to the relationships between teaching hospitals and medical schools. Both professions require a great deal of academic theory accompanied by clinical fieldwork. The teaching hospital model provides medical students with specific and detailed field work giving them an opportunity to practice theory in a realistic environment. Similarly, in a PDS, teacher candidates work for one or two semesters alongside a veteran cooperating teacher, giving them the same opportunity to connect theory to practice.

The goal of this new initiative is to improve and promote high quality learning experiences through the collaborative efforts of school and university faculty. The overall objective of the partnership has four components which include:

  • The preparation of new teachers
  • Continued professional development for both K-12 and university faculty
  • Inquiry and collaboration directed at the improvement of teaching practices
  • Improved K-12 student achievement

Collaboration is essential in a PDS partnership. Rather than working in isolation, teachers and faculty from both institutions become a team and work together to reach their common goals. CLU students and professors will benefit by having a designated school site readily available for observation, participation in activities, and hands-on learning. Teachers from our partner schools become partners with CLU professors and work together to provide opportunities to demonstrate and share a variety of techniques, practical procedures and philosophies. These partnerships ultimately will benefit each young student by providing high quality learning experiences rooted in research-based teaching methodology.

California Lutheran University's Department of Teacher Education is proud to be partnered with Flory Academy of Sciences and Technology in Moorpark, CA, and Los Cerritos Middle School in Thousand Oaks, CA.

Learn more about the history of Professional Development Schools...

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