Dr. Susan Ogletree named first NAPDS/AERA PDS Research Relations Liaison

NAPDS is excited to announce Dr. Susan L. Ogletree, Georgia State University, as the first NAPDS/AERA PDS Research Relations Liaison. This ground-breaking, inter-organizational hybrid position is a collaborative effort between NAPDS and the American Education Research Association (AERA) Professional Development School Research Special Interest Group. The purpose of this collaboration is to elevate and amplify PDS research at the national level.

Dr. Susan L. Ogletree is Director of the Center for Evaluation and Research Services in the College of Education and Human Services at Georgia State University. The Center provides quantitative and qualitative research design development and evaluation services on large Federal grants and for state, local and international school systems. She also works with faculty to provide internships for students in the college interested in evaluation. Prior to her university work, Dr. Ogletree served as a classroom teacher and principal for over twenty years. She is a true boundary spanner. Her primary research interests include Professional Development Schools, both nationally and internationally, and their impact on academic achievement in high needs urban schools.

“I am honored and excited to serve as the first NAPDS/AERA PDS Research Relations Liaison linking two organizations that encourage collaborative relationships between universities and school districts as well as best practices in research. Thanks to many PDS educators and researchers in these organizations, the PDS work can continue to flourish and expand exponentially.” – Dr. Susan L. Ogletree

The NAPDS/AERA PDS Research Relations Liaison serves on the NAPDS Policy and External Relations Committee and on the AERA PDS SIG Leadership.

Stay tuned:
More information about PDS Research from the Research Relations Liaison and the Policy and External Relations Committee, coming soon.

Thanks for a great conference!

As an association, we are deeply grateful for the work of conference co-chairs, Jean Eagle and Audra Parker, for a second successful conference in DC. Your leadership and the work of your committee have established a strong foundation for NAPDS’ national conference. Likewise, our journal and news magazine editors, Kristien Zenkov and Ron Siers respectively, are stepping down after six years in those positions. Both publications have seen considerable change during your tenure as editors and the Association has been well served by the quality of and care for the work you have done. We are grateful for your service.

Two members of the leadership team are rotating out of their positions: Marcy Keifer Kennedy has completed her three-year term in the presidential rotation from president-elect to president to past president. Marcy, you were the right person for our transition; your grace and positive disposition kept us focused on our service to the membership. Thanks for your compassion for all of those involved and for the delightful energy you brought to our work. Peggy Lewis has completed her term as chair of the awards committee and we are thankful for the continuity you achieved and for your dedication to helping us celebrate the exemplary and outstanding work of our members. We are grateful for all of these who have voluntarily served in these capacities on behalf of the Association.

With equal gratitude, we welcome a number of Association members into new leadership roles. Seth Parsons and Mandy Bean will be joining us as co-editors of our journal, School-University Partnerships and Eva Garin will be joining our Association secretary, Drew Polly, as co-editors of our news magazine, PDS Partnerships. We also have new chairs for some of our committees: Rebecca Burns for Policy and External Relations, Jana Hunzicker for Communications, Keith Conners for Awards, and Lorri Sapp will join Audra Parker as co-chair for our 2018 conference.

Thanks too, for the faithful participation of our membership. Without your willingness to share what is going on in your partnership, there would be no reason for us to host a national conference. Please make your plans now, to join us in Jacksonville, Florida, March 14-17, 2018. We look forward to seeing you.

Doug Rogers, NAPDS President



Science in My City: Using Photography to Make Science More Relevant

Charlease Kelly-Jackson, Ed.D, Kennesaw State University, Bagwell College of Education, PDS Liaison, ckellyja@kennesaw.edu

Cindy Szwec, Ed.D, Fair Oaks Elementary, PDS Principal, cindy.szwec@cobbk12.org

Taylor Davis, Riverside Intermediate Elementary, Fifth Grade Teacher, taylor.davis@cobbk12.org

Kassell Lebert, Powers Ferry Elementary, Third Grade Teacher, kassell.lebert@cobbk12.org


Science content knowledge is an integral part of being an educated citizen in this global and technological society; however, “for students unfamiliar with the language or style of science, the deceptively simple act of communication can be a barrier to understanding or becoming involved with the science” (Hines, Wible, & McCartney, 2010, p. 447).  This is especially problematic for English language learners (Rosebury & Warren, 2008) whose teachers continue to place greater emphasis on the verbal or linguistic way of processing knowledge rather than the visual. It is imperative that teachers provide students with the abilities and techniques to interpret, demonstrate, and apply learning to new situations (Vasquez, Comer, & Troutman, 2010).

Visual images give meaning to words and provide alternatives to words as a means of communication. As teachers, we must not only acknowledge students’ units of knowledge but what they can do with the knowledge (Vasquez, Comer, & Troutman, 2010). Developing visual literacy skills is one approach to helping students reach that high level of cognition. Visual text, such as photography, is a tool that represents an abstract concept or series of concepts. Photographs can capture the meaning of a concept far more easily than pages of written text (2010). As a matter of fact, the concept becomes even more significant and relevant when the student is the photographer. The photographs become the center of the discussion while the student serves as the expert or initiator of the conversation (Luttrell-Rowland, 2006).

To get a sense of how personal experiences connect to science, three preservice teachers at Kennesaw State University conducted a “Science in My City” project with a third grade class at Fair Oaks Elementary. The project allowed forty-three third graders to take pictures of ‘science in their city’ for four weeks. Students were divided into three groups and assigned a preservice teacher who worked with them during homeroom, computer lab, recess and/or afterschool. As the final product, students created PowerPoint presentations detailing where the pictures were taken; how the picture connected to Earth, life, or physical science concepts; and science academic vocabulary associated with the picture. Data revealed that students connected primarily with life and Earth science concepts. Students took pictures of parks, rivers, rocks, trees, leaves, grass, flowers, water, etc. During the school’s Leaders Loving Math and Science Night, students orally presented their findings and were able to use science academic vocabulary (such as rocks, minerals, soil, exposed roots, erosion, weathering, life cycle) to describe items and/or activities in their photographs.

Photographs of physical science concepts were limited; however, this could have been attributed to the emphasis on life and Earth science concepts prior to the beginning of the project. Nevertheless, students were able to ‘see’ the relevance of science and how it is embedded into many aspects of their lives. The following quotes demonstrate how students felt or what they learned from the project:


“I think science is not all about one area, it is everywhere.”

Science is everything. Before I did my project I did not know this.”

“When I took my pictures it made me want to learn more about science and I learned that science is not just in the classroom.”

*Project supported by Kennesaw State University’s Bagwell College of Education Research Award



Hines, P. J., Wible, B., & McCartney, M. (2010). Learning to read, reading to learn. Science, 328(5977), 447.

Luttrell-Rowland, L. (2006). A photovoice relationship: Collaboration and difference in photovoice methodology. In Proceedings of the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) (pp. 3079-3084). Asheville, NC: The University Of North Carolina at Asheville.

Rosebery, A. & Warren, B. (2008). Teaching science to English language learners: Building on students’ strengths. Arlington, VA: National Science Teachers Association Press.

Vasquez, J.A, Comer, M., & Troutman, F. (2010). Developing visual literacy in science K-8.  Arlington, VA: National Science Teachers Association Press.


How a Master Teacher Began Her Inquiry Journey

Brian Brinkley, Director of the Betty Holden Stike Education Lab in the Watson College of Education, UNC Wilmington.  brinkleyb@uncw.edu

Dorian Barnes, Murrayville Elementary School in Wilmington, NC,  Master Teacher with the Watson College Professional Development System.  dorian.barnes@nhcs.net


Picture it – fifth grade American history projects. The teacher assigns topics, and students write a one page, five paragraph essay about their assigned topic. Now picture the alternative – students are inspired to connect in personally meaningful ways to an event, individual or issue in American history. The latter is exactly what happened this past January as Dorian Barnes, a teacher at Murrayville Elementary in New Hanover County, North Carolina, changed the way her class approached American history.

The University of North Carolina Wilmington maintains powerful partnerships with several school districts and partner schools in southeastern North Carolina. One initiative, the PDS Master Teacher Program, pairs teacher leaders with university faculty to initiate curriculum change projects or conduct research within their schools and classrooms.

Selected as a Master Teacher in the fall of 2015, Mrs. Barnes teamed up with Watson College’s Ed Lab Director, Brian Brinkley, to change the way her class approached American history. She wanted to change from project-based to inquiry-based teaching, constructing opportunities for, students to ask and answer their own questions and create products of their own design to share what they learned.

After conversations with Mr. Brinkley and after reading about the promise of inquiry-based instruction, Mrs. Barnes opened the world of American history to her students with a series of introductory videos and high interest reading. Students consulted with their teacher, parents and other students to decide what to investigate. Through a three week process, Mrs. Barnes taught students about asking good questions, using primary and secondary sources, taking notes, and presenting in ways that made sense.

The results were undeniable: Every student in Mrs. Barnes classroom was deeply engaged in learning. Mrs. Barnes’ teaching was reenergized, as were her fifth grade colleagues. When the other teachers saw what was happening with her students, they decided to change their American history project to an American history inquiry. The fifth grade Learning Expo was planned to last a few hours on one day. It turned out that the fifth grade classes had to present over three days because of the interest of other grade levels in their school.

On a personal level, the inquiry experience was impactful, as well. Michael, one of Mrs. Barnes’ African American students, decided to find out what he could about Harriet Tubman. He learned that

she was an abolitionist, that she helped with the Underground Railroad, and that she had been born into slavery before she escaped. After sharing his brief presentation on a digital tablet, Michael reached behind him and revealed a pair of slave shackles – an artifacts of his inquiry study. Realizing the deep symbolic importance of what Michael held in his hands, Mrs. Barnes asked, “Where did you get those, Michael?” “Me and my dad made them,” he answered.

Like Michael, each student’s inquiry experience was both personal and meaningful. Even with the obstacles and pitfalls she experienced, Mrs. Barnes knew she could trust her faculty colleague, Mr. Brinkley, to support her every step of the way. Because of the partnership made through PDS, she is committed to helping students grow even more with asking and answer their own questions, next time in their studies during Black History Month. She summed it up this way, Perhaps one of the most beautiful outcomes of this project was that students were actually listening to one another and everyone felt equally smart! Now picture that!

A Partnership in Preparing Preservice Teachers to Teach with Mobile Technologies

Tiffany Hill, Emporia State University, thill7@emporia.edu
Jo Couch, Olathe Public Schools, bcouchrr@olatheschools.org
Nancy Smith, Emporia State University, nsmith@emporia.edu
Lori Mann, Emporia State University, lmann@emporia.edu


In response to an increase in the number of mobile technologies used in public schools in the state of Kansas [KSDE, 2016], and in an effort to prepare teacher candidates to use those technologies upon entering the classroom, the Hornet Connected Learning [HCL] initiative at Emporia Sate University [ESU] was launched in Fall 2014. The one-to-one mobile technologies initiative, which has become an essential element of the Professional Development School [PDS] program at ESU, has an articulated mission of putting pre-service teachers in a position to be leaders in connected learning and teaching through the use of current technologies.


From the conception of the program, HCL was designed to be an initiative that would better prepare preservice teachers for teaching with mobile technologies. In turn, all preservice teachers at the level of sophomore and above are required to bring an Apple iPad to classes, and instructors have integrated within their courses learning experiences to help pre-service teachers to understand methods of using the iPad to make them more productive in their professional activities and more effective in their instructional practice.


To the benefit of our pre-service teachers, the HCL initiative paralleled a one-to-one iPad initiative that was also launched in Fall 2014 in our largest PDS partner district, Olathe Public Schools. With the launch of their initiative, the district provided professional development for their teachers and welcomed our pre-service teachers to attend that same training. With pre-service teachers learning alongside their mentor teachers, pre-service teachers reported a clearer vision for how the iPad could be used as a tool to improve instruction.


Outside of their ESU coursework and professional development within the school district, interns continue to develop as a result of support received from their mentor teacher in the field. For example, Mrs. Jo Couch, a third grade teacher in Olathe Public Schools, showed her intern how to use an iPad application called Educreations in a mathematics lesson. In the lesson, students solved mathematics problems in writing within the application, and then used the application to record verbal explanations of their strategies for solving the problem. The intern was further taught to use the recordings to make sense of student understanding, and reteach, if needed. From the lesson, the intern noted how the application enhanced student engagement and improved her awareness of student understanding in the lesson.


Since the launch of the HCL initiative, data has been collected to monitor the progress of our pre-service teachers and their use of mobile technologies in their field placements. Initial results indicate that 60% of mentors indicate that their intern has better than average skill with the iPad. Further, just over 70% of mentors agree that their intern has leadership skill and confidence with the iPad. Mrs. Couch notes, “Interns come to me already confident with the use of technology, however by the end of the semester, my interns tell me that integrating the iPad into their lessons challenged them to be creative and to strategize its usefulness in their teaching.”


CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Stories from the Field

Call for Submissions: Stories From the Field

Teachers, administrators, specialists, researchers, professors, and advanced graduate students are invited to submit papers for publication in the Stories From the Field segment of the NAPDS website. Stories From the Field focuses on research and/or anecdotal evidence concerning professional development school (PDS) successes and challenges. Submit brief (500 words or less) blog post describing unique activities/experiences that transpire in PDS partnerships. Each submission should contain at least one K-12 contact person and email address and one college/university contact person and email address. If your story is accepted you will need to submit two photos to be included in the publication. Please submit to Thomas Habowski at habowski1@gmail.com

Interview Skills and the PDS Partnership at Baylor University

Dr. Madelon McCall, Baylor University, University Liaison, madelon_mccall@baylor.edu


Jeff Gasaway, Principal Midway High School (Midway ISD) jeff.gasaway@midwayisd.org

Lisa Osborne, Midway High School (Midway ISD), Site Coordinator, lisa.osborne@midwayisd.org


Jeff Gasaway, principal at Midway High School since fall 2011, is committed to the preparation of pre-service teachers in securing their first teaching position, even if that means they pursue employment opportunities at other schools! Each year Mr. Gasaway offers the interns the opportunity to participate in a mock interview at some time during their yearlong field experience at MHS. The interview is exactly what the interns would experience if they were interviewing for an actual position at MHS, except that Mr. Gasaway is the sole interviewer instead of a committee of interviewers. The questions and intensity of the interview are exactly the same. He spends 20-25 minutes questioning the intern, using the same question format as he uses for actual teacher interviews, and he then allows the intern time to ask their own questions. Mr. Gasaway takes detailed notes and then debriefs the interns on how well they performed during the interview and how they might improve their interviewing skills. The process takes approximately one and a half hours for each intern interview.

The slate is wiped clean once the interview has ended, even if the intern performed very poorly during the mock interview.  Mr. Gasaway assures the intern that nothing they said or did during the interview is seen as negative and will not adversely affect the intern if they decide to pursue a job at MHS. The experience is invaluable for the intern because they experience an actual intense teacher interview without it affecting their future job possibilities.  Interns have responded well to the mock interview process, and many have been hired as teachers at MHS.

In any given semester there are as many as fifteen interns on the MHS campus and despite the obvious time investment, Mr. Gasaway is confident that it is time well spent in helping the interns overcome interview jitters and assisting them in become confident interviewees, “Having the mock interview not only gives me the opportunity to get to know our Baylor interns better, but it also helps them in being prepared for success when interviewing. This time, I hope, will give them an edge as they have their first true interview.”

15-12-3-Baylor pic