PDS At A Glance

What is a PDS?

A Professional Development School (PDS) is a collaboratively planned and implemented partnership for the academic and clinical preparation of interns and the continuous professional development of both school systems and university faculty. Future teacher candidates take part in a year-long internship, arriving at school in August at the same time as the teachers, and participating throughout the year in all aspects of a teacher’s life in the school.


Why establish a Professional Development School?

The focus of the PDS partnership is to improve student performance through research-based teaching and learning. Success for all learners is at the heart of a Professional Development School. Its mission is lifelong learning by providing a place where future teachers, practicing teachers, and university faculties learn together along with their students.


What are the benefits of a Professional Development School?

Professional Development Schools receive additional resources in terms of the number of adults working with children. Opportunities are provided for continued growth and development for current teachers. Students enrolled in Professional Development Schools benefit from being taught by teachers who are focused on teaching excellence. Principals benefit since new teachers and potential teacher candidates are placed in their schools.


Who are the key players involved to make PDS a success?

  • Coordinating Council. The coordinating council is the collaborative governance vehicle that serves as the organizing body for the development and implementation of all aspects of the PDS. It is co-chaired by school/school system and University personnel. The Coordinating Council meets at least four times per year.
  • Site Coordinator. The site coordinator assumes the role of influencing smooth operation and success of the PDS partnership, serves as a designated representative for the school principal, and resolves many questions and problems on behalf of the school administration.
  • University Liaison. The University liaison is the point person for the University in the PDS partnership. Working collaboratively with the site coordinator, the University liaison provides leadership to the PDS. 
  • University Supervisor. The University supervisor is the University representative who is responsible for collaborating with the mentor to provide individualized support and guidance to the PDS intern. The University supervisor and the mentors work together to provide formative and summative assessment to the intern.
  • Principal. The principal plays an integral role in influencing the success or lack of success of the PDS and must be committed to the identity of the school as a PDS. The principal’s enthusiasm, knowledge, and coaching establish and maintain the tone of the partnership.
    Mentor. The mentor, also known as the cooperating teacher, provides opportunities for interns to experience the blending of theory and practice in learning to become competent teachers.
  • Interns and Pre-Service Interns. The interns (also known as student teachers) and the pre-service interns are students in a teacher preparation program who participate as part of a cohort in an extensive internship in a PDS.
  • School Systems Representative. The school system representative is the designated PDS coordinator for the local school system.


Source: Maryland State Department of Education

Current RPDS Network Partners:
Dorchester County Somerset County Wicomico County Worcester County