Professional Development Schools Alliance

The KU Professional Development Schools (PDS) Alliance is an active partnership between the School of Education and Human Sciences and 15 public schools in four school districts surrounding the main KU campus in Lawrence.
Student teachers at JFK Elementary

Founded in 1991, the alliance works to provide the following:

  • collaborative educator preparation
  • ongoing professional development
  • reflective inquiry
  • continuous school renewal

Within these tenets, the alliance works for collaborative research, training and professional development opportunities for public school educators, university faculty, and teacher education students with the ultimate goal of improving education for all children. The PDS program also provides KU students an excellent means to be part of a dynamic collaboration of caring and committed educational professionals.

PDS Alliance Courses & Opportunities

All teacher education students at KU who wish to be part of the PDS experience must indicate their choice during the "Intent to Student Teach" application process.

PDS students at KU may complete one or two semesters at a designated PDS site. PDS students complete the required hours of coursework together with PDS on-site hours each week. The on-site hours are designed to connect the content of the course with the practical and everyday applications to each specific site.

PDS students are also expected to learn the culture and the climate of their school during their weekly visits. The cohort model is designed to build lasting collaborative relationships with other student teachers as a support structure for the success of their futures. Combined, this experience prepares PDS teacher candidates to begin their spring student teaching experience immediately.

During the fall semester, the PDS program fulfills requirements for the course ELPS 537: The Governance and Organization of Schools. During the spring semester, the PDS program fulfills the requirements of C&T 495 Seminar: Developing the Teaching Portfolio. It allows teacher candidates to discuss their experiences, receive site-related timely topics presented by PDS school staff, and receive support and training to complete their Kansas Performance Teaching Portfolio (KPTP).

Although co-teaching is not a new phenomenon, its application to the student teaching arena is a relatively new area of study.

Co-teaching is defined as two teachers (in our case clinical supervisor and student teacher) working together with groups of students – sharing the planning, organization, delivery and assessment of instruction, as well as the physical space. Both teachers are actively involved and engaged in all aspects of teaching and instruction.

Advantages of co-teaching include:

  • Reduces student/teacher ratios
  • Enhances the ability to meet student needs in a large and diverse classroom
  • Increases student engagement
  • Builds more consistent classroom management
  • Increases instructional options for all students
  • Enhances overall collaboration skills

The PDS Alliance Executive Council is made up of teachers, instructional coaches, principals, and faculty members from across four of the five academic departments within the KU School of Education and Human Sciences.

The PDS Alliance Executive Council are active supporters of the KU PDS Alliance in a variety of ways including:

  • Serving as faculty liaisons between KU and the partner schools
  • Offering professional development on-site for collaborative learning opportunities
  • Working with educators in the districts to produce collaborative research and publications
  • Mentoring pre-service students in their professional development experiences

The PDS Executive Council members meet multiple times throughout the academic year.

In the true spirit of the PDS model of continuous improvement, the council meetings are sometimes hosted on-site at a PDS school location so that the schools can showcase their successful initiatives and allow for principals, teacher liaisons, and KU faculty to observe and interact with school staff.

Although co-teaching is not a new phenomenon, its application to the student teaching arena is a relatively new area of study.

Co-teaching is defined as two teachers (in our case clinical supervisor and student teacher) working together with groups of students – sharing the planning, organization, delivery and assessment of instruction, as well as the physical space. Both teachers are actively involved and engaged in all aspects of teaching and instruction.

Advantages of co-teaching include:

  • Reduces student/teacher ratios
  • Enhances the ability to meet student needs in a large and diverse classroom
  • Increases student engagement
  • Builds more consistent classroom management
  • Increases instructional options for all students
  • Enhances overall collaboration skills

The PDS Alliance Executive Council is made up of teachers, instructional coaches, principals, and faculty members from across four of the five academic departments within the KU School of Education and Human Sciences.

The PDS Alliance Executive Council are active supporters of the KU PDS Alliance in a variety of ways including:

  • Serving as faculty liaisons between KU and the partner schools
  • Offering professional development on-site for collaborative learning opportunities
  • Working with educators in the districts to produce collaborative research and publications
  • Mentoring pre-service students in their professional development experiences

The PDS Executive Council members meet multiple times throughout the academic year.

In the true spirit of the PDS model of continuous improvement, the council meetings are sometimes hosted on-site at a PDS school location so that the schools can showcase their successful initiatives and allow for principals, teacher liaisons, and KU faculty to observe and interact with school staff.