Professional Development School Partnership with Mount Saint Mary's University
A Professional Development School (PDS) is a collaboratively planned and implemented partnership for the academic and clinical preparation of teacher candidates and the continuous professional development of both school system and institution of higher education faculty. The focus of a PDS partnership is improved student performance through research-based teaching and learning. The university enjoys a long-standing PDS partnership with elementary, middle and high schools in Frederick County, Md. It is possible, but not mandatory, that early field experiences take place in one of the PDS sites. However, the standards for Maryland PDSs hold that all teacher candidates are provided equitable access to an extensive internship (at least 100 consecutive days) in a PDS. The Mount's field placement coordinator, working in concert with the PDS coordinator and building principals, arranges internship placements in PDSs. A mentor teacher and university supervisor support candidates' professional development toward meeting the Mount's benchmarks. Upon graduation, students are expected to demonstrate standards-based teaching that is measured through evaluation of teaching performance and portfolio assessment. The department uses the standards of the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) for evaluating student performance. Teacher candidates are also expected to demonstrate the personal dispositions that relate to successful teaching.