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NAPDS Honors SU with Exemplary PDS Achievement Award

Clara Outten, Dennis Pataniczek, Merisa Booth, Michelle Brown, Stacies Siers, and Keith Conners

Pictured (L-R) are Snow Hill Elementary Coordinator Clara Outten, Seidel Dean Dennis Pataniczek, SU Interns Merisa Booth and Michelle Brown, Regional PDS Coordinator Stacie Siers, and Worcester PDS Liaison Keith Conners.

SALISBURY, MD---Salisbury University has earned national kudos for its teaching partnerships with Worcester County Public Schools.

The University was honored with the 2011 Exemplary Professional Development School Achievement Award from the National Association of Professional Development Schools (NAPDS). Only five campuses across the country were recognized.

“The work of the people involved in the Worcester Cluster has set the bar for SU’s other partnerships and for PDS programs statewide and nationally,” said Dr. Dennis Pataniczek, dean of the Samuel W. & Marilyn C. Seidel School of Education & Professional Studies.  “After spending a couple of hours at Snow Hill Elementary School, I was blown away by the seamless collaboration between interns and mentors.”

For over a decade, SU’s PDS network has enabled University students to improve their practice by working with students in public schools across the region.  Currently, some 34 schools in seven counties partner with SU to help train teachers.  The Worcester Cluster includes Snow Hill Elementary, Snow Hill Middle, Berlin Intermediate, Showell Elementary and Buckingham Elementary.

According to Dr. Jon Andes, Superintendent of Worcester County Public Schools, the active role his teachers play as mentors, site coordinators and adjunct instructors is excellent professional development experience.  He added:  “Ultimately, the real advantage is the value added to classroom instruction by [SU students] who collaborate with mentors during their fieldwork and internships.  Based on state test results, WCPS is one of the top performing school systems in Maryland. PDS has played a vital role in helping us improve the achievement level of our students.”

The NAPDS award recognized SU for “creating and sustaining genuine collaborative partnerships” with Pre-K-12 schools and for meeting nine essential PDS criteria.  Specifically, some of SU’s noteworthy accomplishments cited by the award include the establishment of a co-teaching model for internships and the dissemination of this model nationally, the exceptional buy-in by Worcester County teachers to the SU education program, and the strong linkage of intern involvement with student achievement.  Also noted was SU’s visibility at the NAPDS national conference, evidenced by 18 presentations in the past 5 years.

The achievement award was given at the 2011 conference in New Orleans in March.  Some 900 professionals attended, including Pataniczek; Stacie Siers, PDS coordinator; Dr. Keith Conners of the Teacher Education Department; Drs. Joel Jenne and Ron Siers of the Education Specialties Department; and Merisa Booth and Michelle Brown, SU teaching interns at Snow Hill Elementary.

Selected from among some 3,000 PDS sites that exist in the U.S. and around the world, SU was honored along with the University of South Carolina, Buffalo State College, Cleveland State University and Kansas State University.  SU is one of only three universities to ever receive both the achievement award and the Spirit of Partnership Award, which it earned at the 2009 NAPDS conference.

SU is the third largest producer of teachers in Maryland.  During this academic year, some 240 SU education majors are teaching interns.  For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at