The National Association for Professional Development Schools (NAPDS) will honor three award winners on February 15th at the organization’s 2019 NAPDS National Conference in Atlanta, GA.

The coveted Exemplary PDS Achievement Award is given to a small number of school-university partnerships each year whose work creates and sustains genuine collaborative relationships between P-12 schools and higher education. Partnerships involving the University of South Florida and the University of South Carolina were selected for the 2019 awards.

Its Exemplary PDS Achievement award is the second for USF’s College of Education, having previously been recognized for its partnership with the Hillsborough County Public Schools in 2014. The 2019 award highlights the partnership between the University and Mort Elementary Community Partnership School PDS, citing the extraordinary commitment of multiple stakeholders in supporting an urban Title I school through Florida’s Community Partnership Schools program. While most CPS’s feature three partners, Mort has seven other partners in addition to USF, helping the school to achieve dramatic progress in both student achievement and teacher retention.

The University of South Carolina is no stranger to the awards podium at NAPDS, with one or more of its partnership schools having received the Exemplary PDS Achievement Award on six previous occasions. This year’s award recognizes the entire USC PDS Network for its leadership locally and nationally. The USC Professional Development Schools Network encompasses 21 schools and includes a total of 86 educators who are currently members of NAPDS. The mission statement for the partnership calls for establishing and maintaining “sandboxes” for research and innovation where teacher educators and practitioners can “play around with ideas”-a touchstone that has inspired NAPDS from the organization’s founding and whose manifestations are evident in USC’s successful partnership sites.

In addition, Dr. Christopher Kennedy was selected as winner of the 2019 Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award. Dr. Kennedy, currently on the faculty of the Patton College of Education at Ohio University, earned his Ed.D. there in 2019 with a dissertation entitled Teacher Perceptions of Reading Interventions Conducted by Teacher Candidates in a PDS Partnership. Dr. Kennedy’s work was endorsed as a contribution to the body of knowledge related to professional development schools and he was praised for his work as a champion for P-12/higher education collaboration and how PDS partnerships can benefit student advancement.

NAPDS is the pre-eminent national organization supporting and advancing school-university collaboration. The vision of the Association is to serve as an advocate for the educational community in promoting the continuous development of PreK-12/higher education/community relationships. NAPDS sponsors two publications, PDS Partners: Bridging Research to Practice and School-University Partnerships, a refereed journal for scholarly research. The NAPDS annual conference typically draws 800-1,000 educators from the U.S. and several foreign countries. View a pdf of the press release here.
For additional information, contact Keith Conners, NAPDS Awards Committee Chair, at 410-430-8794 or by email at