Center for Educator Preparation

Professional Development Schools and Partnerships

CEP uses the Professional Development School model where we partner with local school districts to allow future teachers to gain experience in real schools with real students from the very beginning of the program.

What is a Professional Development School?

Professional development schools (PDSs) are innovative institutions formed through partnerships between professional education programs and P–12 schools. PDS partnerships have a four-fold mission:

  • the preparation of new teachers,
  • faculty development,
  • inquiry directed at the improvement of practice, and
  • enhanced student achievement.

PDSs improve both the quality of teaching and student learning.

PDSs are often compared to teaching hospitals, which are also hybrid institutions created in the early twentieth century. As practicing professions, both teaching and medicine require a sound academic program and intense clinical preparation. The teaching hospital was designed to provide such clinical preparation for medical students and interns; PDSs serve the same function for teacher candidates and in-service faculty. Both settings provide support for professional learning in a real-world setting in which practice takes place.

Five Defining Characteristics of PDSs:

  • Standard I: Learning Community—Addresses the unique environment created in a PDS partnership that supports both professional and children’s learning.
  • Standard II: Accountability and Quality Assurance—Addresses the responsibility of a PDS partnership to uphold professional standards for teaching and learning.
  • Standard III: Collaboration—Addresses the development and implementation of a unique university/school community which shares responsibility across institutional boundaries.
  • Standard IV: Equity and Diversity— Addresses the responsibility of the PDS partnership to prepare professionals to meet the needs of diverse learners.
  • Standard V: Structures, Resources and Roles—Addresses the infrastructure that a PDS partnerships uses and/or creates to support its work.

Quotes from participating students

  • "The advantage of the program is you’re learning in a real world environment. It’s learning by doing. Our teachers are professionals actively working in the field. They give us tangible skills and inside knowledge about what really matters in working in Colorado Public Schools."
  • "The chance to be in the high school working with teacher s and staff has been extremely helpful. I feel much more prepared to enter a student teaching position than I would have without this opportunity."
  • "The cohort is great, very united and supportive of one another."

  • "I really appreciate how influential our professors are! They make this program what it is: an authentic and incomparable experience! Thanks teachers!!!"