(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Nov. 30, 2012) California Lutheran University and Conejo Valley Unified School District have joined forces to pilot a new professional development school at Colina Middle School.
Similar to the relationship between teaching hospitals and medical schools, the partnership gives teacher candidates in CLU’s Graduate School of Education experience while providing the middle school with additional resources.
CLU students work with experienced teachers in their classrooms for one or two semesters while earning their teaching credentials, and CLU courses are taught on the middle school campus. This format enables teacher candidates to combine theory and practice and provides middle school students with the benefits of higher adult-to-student ratios and the latest research-based teaching techniques. It also gives CLU faculty the opportunity to return to middle school classrooms. The CLU faculty, student teachers, veteran teachers and students all learn from one another.
This is CLU’s fourth professional development school partnership. The others are at Los Cerritos Middle School in Thousand Oaks and Flory Academy of Sciences and Technology and Campus Canyon College Preparatory Academy in Moorpark.
CLU has been at the forefront of the professional development school movement in California. Two years ago, there were only about 10 sites statewide, and three of them were in partnership with CLU. CLU faculty member Michael Cosenza, chair of the Southern California Professional Development School Consortium (SCPDS), said that number may have increased to 15 to 20 schools today, but he doesn’t know of any other middle schools in the state involved in such partnerships.
An expert in the use of the professional development school model for the preparation of new teachers and the development of veteran teachers, Cosenza has written and spoken extensively on the topic. He is helping to organize the next SCPDS conference, which will be held Jan. 12 at CLU.