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WSU Team to Present Research on Professional Development Schools

November 29, 2012
By: Worcester State University News

Christina Bebas (Education), Mark Wagner (Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement), and Americorps Vista Lauren Hassett ’13 had a proposal accepted to present at the 2013 Professional Development Schools National Conference in New Orleans February 15-17.  They will be presenting research on how professional development school (PDS) partnerships have proven to be beneficial in the preparing the next generation of teacher candidates.

The National Association of Professional Development Schools is housed at the University of South Carolina. This year, they are celebrating their eighth national conference, and this year’s conference is titled “Back to the Basics: Examining the Unique Contributions of Professional Development Schools.”

With five professional development schools in contract with WSU, the subject of how our university engages with PDSs and how our students receive training in their chosen field is critical. Research shows pre-service teachers feel more prepared and confident when trained through a PDS model and have a greater ability to connect theory and practice than their counterparts not trained in a PDS (Darling-Hammond, 1994, 2002; Abdal-Haqq, 1998; Larson & Goebel, 2008; Swars & Dooley, 2010). The use of PDSs in the training of pre-service teachers may contribute to increases in beginning teacher retention.

This WSU presentation will also explore the possibility of additional benefits to professional development partnerships: Partnerships with and between universities and PDS schools may also be a means to address other school and community needs through community engagement and volunteering.

The two-part presentation is intended to introduce research conducted as an evaluation of Worcester State’s use of PDSs in their teacher preparation programs. Specifically, the research focuses on the collaboration between WSU and its five professional development schools and the effect this model of teacher preparation has on beginning teacher retention.

Secondly, this presentation will discuss findings as to what areas of activities in the PDSs are not addressed by the professional development arrangements and how these might be included in community engagement and civic-learning activities.

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