For the second year in a row, the Baylor School of Education (SOE) has won a prestigious national honor in recognition of its Professional Development School (PDS) partnerships with local schools — this year with partner Waco Independent School District.
The partnership, which began 25 years ago with the opening of the SOE’s first PDS campus, earned the Exemplary Professional Development School Achievement Award from the National Association for Professional Development Schools (NAPDS). The award was presented March 17 at the NAPDS annual conference.
The award is given to a small number of school-university partnerships each year whose work creates and sustains genuine collaborative relationships between pre K-12 schools and higher education and prepares the next generation of teachers with valuable classroom experience.
“The NAPDS award demonstrates the high value we place on the partnership between the School of Education and Waco ISD partner schools,” said Dr. Terrill Saxon, interim dean. “We believe everyone involved reaps benefits — the children, our pre-service teachers, Waco ISD mentor teachers and other administrators. The ultimate goal is to positively affect children’s learning in the classroom by providing future teachers with the best preparation. This partnership is a fundamental part of that preparation.”
Baylor has six PDS campuses in Waco ISD, with shared personnel at each campus to direct the student teaching interns. Classroom teachers who serve as mentors are trained by Baylor, and each Baylor student has a Baylor faculty supervisor who observes and evaluates growth in their classroom teaching skills.
“Both the teachers being trained through the partnership and the students that they teach are transformed by their experiences at our PDS campuses,” said Dr. Marcus Nelson, Waco ISD superintendent.
“I suspect that more than a few of our students have been inspired to become teachers by the role models they met through the partnership, and I know that some of our best teachers started out their careers at one of our PDS campuses.”
NAPDS is dedicated to promoting the continuous development of collaborative school/higher education/community relationships and to creating and sustaining genuine collaborative partnerships between pre K-12 and higher education. NAPDS membership includes both higher-education faculty and pre K-12 educators, with leadership elected from both groups. Dr. Doug Rogers, associate professor at Baylor, is currently president of the national organization, after being elected by the membership.
Baylor is the only university teacher preparation program to win this award back-to-back. Last year’s award recognized Baylor’s partnership with Midway ISD.