What are Professional Development Schools

William Paterson University

Office of Field Experiences


Professional Development Schools

What are they?

“Professional Development Schools (PDS) are innovative institutions formed through partnerships between University professional education programs and P-12 schools.  Their mission is professional preparation of candidates, faculty development, inquiry directed at improvement of practice and enhanced student learning.” National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, PDS Standards. 

What are the benefits?

1)    Stronger sense of professional community - When teachers have a strong sense of professional community their morale is better and teacher commitment is higher.  Teachers collaborate more with each other and administrators.

2)    School based professional development – PDS relationships help support innovative teaching practices and help teacher development as school leaders.

3)    More adults in the classroom – With many pre-service students (practicum and student teaching) in PDS on a regular basis P-12 students benefit from more adults to assist in the teaching learning process.

4)    Reflective Practice – PDS often encourage thoughtful inquiry into teaching and learning and which fosters a reflective teaching process.

5)    New Leadership Opportunities – Opportunities for teachers and administrators to serve as adjunct faculty and take on new leadership roles

Professional Development Schools are by design an environment that combines the best theory, research and practice by fostering a collaborative community of learners!