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Professional Development Schools

Professional Development


What are Professional Development Schools?

Professional Development Schools (PDS) are innovative institutions formed through partnerships between colleges of schools of education and P-12 schools. Their mission is professional preparation of teacher candidates, faculty development, inquiry directed at the improvement of practice, and enhanced student learning. These schools are more than sites for field placements for teacher candidates. A PDS is an environment in which university students, faculty liaisons, classroom teachers, and students in the schools can engage in long-term, on-going research-based initiatives that benefit all members in the learning community. In 2008, the National Association for Professional Development Schools (NAPDS), identified the essential working components of effective PDSs.​

The nine required essentials of a PDS:

  • Essential 1: A Comprehensive Mission A professional development school (PDS) is a learning community guided by a comprehensive, articulated mission that is broader than the goals of any single partner, and that aims to advance equity, antiracism, and social justice within and among schools, colleges/universities, and their respective community and professional partners.
  • Essential 2: Clinical Preparation A PDS embraces the preparation of educators through clinical practice.
  • Essential 3: Professional Learning and Leading A PDS is a context for continuous professional learning and leading for all participants, guided by need and a spirit and practice of inquiry.
  • Essential 4: Reflection and Innovation A PDS makes a shared commitment to reflective practice, responsive innovation, and generative knowledge.
  • Essential 5: Research and Results A PDS is a community that engages in collaborative research and participates in the public sharing of results in a variety of outlets.
  • Essential 6: Articulated Agreements A PDS requires intentionally evolving written articulated agreement(s) that delineate the commitments, expectations, roles, and responsibilities of all involved.
  • Essential 7: Shared Governance Structures A PDS is built upon shared, sustainable governance structures that promote collaboration, foster reflection, and honor and value all participants’ voices.
  • Essential 8: Boundary-Spanning Roles A PDS creates space for, advocates for, and supports college/university and P–12 faculty to operate in well defined, boundary-spanning roles that transcend institutional settings.
  • Essential 9: Resources and Recognition A PDS provides dedicated and shared resources and establishes traditions to recognize, enhance, celebrate, and sustain the work of partners and the partnership


Learning Community

The Maryland Professional Development School Network connects Maryland colleges and universities and their local school system partners in their efforts to implement the Redesign of Teacher Education in Maryland. The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) sponsors regional network meetings of stakeholders in these partnerships - college/university liaisons, school system PDS representatives, school principals and site coordinators, and preservice mentor teachers. The MSDE PDS website offers additional information.

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) requires interns to complete a 100 day internship across two consecutive semesters in a Professional Development School (PDS). MSDE defines a Professional Development School as a collaboratively planned and implemented partnership for the academic and clinical preparation of interns and the continuous development of both school system and Institution of Higher Education (IHE) faculty. The focus of the PDS partnership is improved student performance through research-based teaching and learning. A PDS may involve a single or multiple schools, school systems and IHEs and may take many forms to reflect specific partnership activities and approaches to improving both teacher education and PreK-12 schools.


The mission of PDS is jointly defined and mutually supported by the IHE and the school(s). Roles and structures are collaboratively designed to support the PDS work and to improve outcomes for PreK-12 students and interns. 

Diversity in Equity

The PDS supports equitable involvement of PreK-16 faculty and interns, as well as equitable support of student outcomes. PDS is attentive to issues of equity related to student achievement and seeks to address them through research-based program improvements that enable interns to meet the needs of diverse learners. 

PDS Partnerships


Nicole Wall
Supervisor - Professional Learning
Office of Professional Learning and Leadership
Division of Human Resources
301 749 5238 ext. 45515

Mr. Eric Stephens- Non-PDS Placement Contact
Supervisor - Induction and Educator Support
Office of Professional Learning and Leadership
Division of Human Resources
301 749 5238 ext. 45521