My colleagues and I had a compelling thought we deemed was worth exploring, “What exactly happens in a PDS room and how can it help future educators?” After attending and presenting at the National Association of Professional Development Schools Conference this past February, we were able to make essential connections with others. Our knowledge of PDS partnerships increased significantly learning about the key components of successful PDS programs and how our roles as Site Coordinator and University Liaison are instrumental in the process. An idea sparked, “Let’s plan a time for teachers to view the amazing things that happen inside a PDS room.” Before I even boarded the plane and flew back home, my journal was filled with notes and plans for the 1st Annual PDS Palooza. My teammate, Melissa Cates who serves as a University Liaison for Baylor University, partners with me at Spring Valley Elementary in Midway ISD. We supervise and coach teaching associates in the field and provide resources and feedback to grow exceptional future educators. Spring Valley Elementary is a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Campus (STEM), and our primary focus is creating meaningful learning experiences emphasizing “Best Practices” in math and science instruction. The National Association of Professional Development Schools publication of “What it Means to be a Professional Development School: The Nine Essentials” proves to be the pivotal backbone for our vision in fostering successful partnership with all parties involved. Our planning goals each semester include ways to build capacity for future Clinical Instructors and foster the STEM mindset within our campus culture. We wanted to create a time for staff to have the opportunity to witness the magic of learning through the powerful teaching model facilitated at Spring Valley Elementary with Clinical Instructors working side by side with Baylor Teaching Associates and Interns in the field.
“Come and Go Glimpses of a PDS room in action,
CIs, Interns and Teaching Associates working side by side,
Creating meaningful learning experiences with a positive reaction.
Students engaging in math content with academic pride.”
With the help of my campus principal, a schedule was formulated that allowed all teachers time to observe PDS rooms and witness the meaningful moments of teachers making a dynamic difference in the classroom. Invitations were sent and preparations began. Teaching Associates and Interns were encouraged to plan and proceed as usual for the event. The ultimate goal was to showcase the authentic learning that takes place between teachers and students.
Melissa and I served as tour guides navigating the PDS rooms and being available to answer any questions or clarify. Math and Science content professors from Baylor University joined in the festivities too. The PDS Palooza was a true success. The event not only informed future clinical teachers about taking part in the PDS teaching model but inspired them to join this powerful partnership between Baylor School of Education and Spring Valley Elementary.