Baylor-Waco ISD Partnership Leads National 'Scaling Up' Of Professional Development Schools

Sept. 3, 2004

by Lori Scott Fogleman

How do we close the P-12 student achievement gap when the neediest students get the largest number of unqualified teachers? Twenty-one years after the release of the landmark report, A Nation at Risk, schools are still struggling with this question.

Professional development schools (PDSs) are partnerships between colleges of education and P-12 schools similar to teaching hospitals in the field of medicine, where new physicians complete their training. At first on the periphery of teacher preparation, PDSs are making inroads in preparing more pre-service educators than ever before. PDSs can be a useful strategy in helping to improve teacher quality, especially in hard-to-staff schools.

Baylor University's School of Education and the Waco Independent School District are among three school districts and universities nationally that have made a commitment to 'scale up' the PDS experience and make it available to more teacher candidates and P-12 students in their cities. The Baylor-Waco ISD partnership has already moved from the drawing board to reality as the number of PDSs has increased from one to 10 in the past 18 months.

Representatives from Baylor and Waco ISD will participate in a national phone conference to discuss the strategies that institutions are using to ramp up PDSs in their cities. Media are invited to attend the conference at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 8, in room 206 in the Draper Academic Building on the Baylor campus. The conference is expected to last 45 minutes with time for reporters' questions. The phone conference will be conducted by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) in Washington, D.C.

Local participants will include:


½ Dr. Thomas J. Proctor, Baylor professor of educational psychology


½ Dr. Mark Diaz, WISD associate superintendent for school improvement


½ Terri Patterson, Baylor/WISD district liaison and principal-in-residence


½ Pam Fischer, South Waco Elementary teacher and TSTA/NEA Waco president

To arrange to shoot video on a Waco PDS campus, contact Dale Caffey, Waco ISD public information officer, at (254) 755-9454 or mobile (254) 379-2787. For more information about Baylor's participation, contact Lori Fogleman, director of media relations, at (254) 710-6275 or mobile (254) 709-5959.

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