(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Feb. 8, 2018) A Conejo Valley teacher will be honored Saturday when educators from throughout Southern California come together to share the best practices in professional development schools.
English teacher Jacquie Meir from Los Cerritos Middle School in Thousand Oaks will receive the Exemplary Teacher Award during the Seventh Annual Professional Development Schools (PDS) Conference at California Lutheran University.
Meir has served as the liaison between the middle school and Cal Lutheran for eight years. She also mentors teacher candidates from Cal Lutheran who spend a year in residency at the school and works with them on strategies for helping English learners in all subject areas.
“Jacquie has been integral to the success of the Cal Lutheran-Los Cerritos partnership, and she is a great example for others to follow,” said Michael Cosenza, the PDS coordinator for Cal Lutheran and board president of Southern California Professional Development Schools Consortium, which is presenting the award and conference. “She works hard to meet the needs of students, teacher candidates, and school and university faculty to maximize the benefits of the program.”
Similar to the relationship between teaching hospitals and medical schools, PDS partnerships give teacher candidates at universities experience while providing preschool- through 12th-grade schools with additional resources. Student teachers are able to put the theories they have learned into practice, children benefit from higher adult-to-student ratios and the latest research-based teaching techniques, and university faculty get the opportunity to return to P-12 classrooms.
On Friday, conference participants will visit Los Cerritos and MATES (Meadows Arts and Technology Elementary School). MATES, a Thousand Oaks charter school, hosts up to 40 Cal Lutheran undergraduate students a year as they prepare to teach elementary school in a four-year-old partnership that is similar to a PDS.
On Saturday, the consortium will present its Exemplary Partnership Award to the University of California, Los Angeles, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and the Los Angeles Unified School District for their Computer Science for All program. Wendy Murawski from California State University, Northridge, will give the keynote address on working with students with special needs.
This is the third time Cal Lutheran has hosted the regional conference. With Cosenza’s help, Cal Lutheran has been at the forefront of the PDS movement in California. The university is preparing to launch its fifth PDS, this time in partnership with Simi Valley Unified School District. Cosenza is the president-elect of the National Association of Professional Development Schools. He is the first representative from the West Coast to be elected to the office.