Professional Development School (PDS) program

What is Professional Development School (PDS) program?

A Professional Development School is a space where prospective teachers’ and mentor teachers’ learning is experimental, grounded in teacher questions, collaborative, connected to and derived from teachers’ work with students, intensive, sustainable and connected with aspects of change at the School site and the university.

West Chester University and the West Chester Area School District partner in offering the PDS program for seniors in the Early Grades Preparation, Middle Grades Preparation, and Special Education Double Major programs. Students apply as juniors to spend senior year matched with a classroom teacher, completing three days a week in the fall semester and five days a week in the spring semester in the same K-8 classroom.

When do we attend an Information Session for the PDS program?

Information sessions are held three times each fall semester. Interested EGP, MGP, and Special Education double majors may attend the information sessions earlier than junior year to learn about the program and hear from current participants. Students planning to apply must attend an Information Session in fall of junior year.

How do I apply for the PDS program?

When you attend an information session in the fall of junior year, you will receive the application link. The application will be due January 15 of your junior year.

Which courses will I enroll in during my senior year if I am participating in the PDS program?

Students should save the following courses for fall of senior year if they are planning to participate in the PDS program.

EGP majors: EDR 317 (6 cr.), EGP 400, EGP 402, and EGP 335 or EDA 303

MGP majors: EDR 318 (6 cr.), ERM 354, MGP 335, and SCE 330 or EDA 303

What additional time commitment is required in the PDS program?

Participants must attend the WCASD week of inservice in mid to late August (see WCASD calendar for dates). In addition, they will be spending three full school days in their classroom in the fall semester (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays). After final exams end in the fall, interns spend several days in their placement before the winter break. They resume their time in their placement one week prior to the WCU spring semester start date.

What activities will I could participate in that I would miss if I were a spring traditional student teacher?

PDS interns set up the classroom in August, attend Sneak-a-Peek, four days of teacher in-service, the first day of school, Back-to-School Night, and fall parent-teacher conferences. Our spring student teachers do not have any of those experiences when completing traditional student teaching in late January through mid-May. In addition, our PDS interns attend fall staff meetings and professional development that the teachers attend.

Who can I speak with if I have specific questions about the program?

Dr. Karen Johnson, Chairperson of the Department of Early and Middle Grades Education, can meet with you about specific questions you might have. In addition, Ms. Lainie Harkins, Associate Director of the Office of Clinical Experiences, and PDS Liaison, is also available to discuss the PDS program.

Our contact information is:

Dr. Karen Johnson (610) 436-3545

Ms. Lainie Harkins (610) 436-3452