Professional development schools are innovative institutions formed through partnerships between professional education programs and PreK-12 schools. Joliet Public Schools District 86, the College of Education at the University of St. Francis, and Joliet Junior College have established a professional development school at Farragut, A.O. Marshall, and Parks Elementary Schools and Dirksen Junior High School. This collaborative partnership is built on trust, respect and a shared mission.
The mission of our Professional Development School (PDS) partnership is to collaboratively enhance the professional preparation of teacher candidates and promote continuous exemplary professional development of all partners. The focus of the PDS partnership is to improve student achievement through research-based practices carried out in an innovative teaching and learning environment. The PDS is dedicated to supporting a diverse community of learners at all levels of educational development through shared decision-making, vision, goals, and trust.
The College of Education’s partnership with Joliet schools via the JPDSP have enabled candidates to have high quality experiences working with P-12 students from diverse ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic groups. Partner schools serve communities with many low income families, the majority of whom are African American or Hispanic. The candidates who complete field experiences at partner schools have excellent opportunities to learn how to draw from their students’ cultural knowledge to enhance student learning, and to practice strategies to help English Language Learners be successful. While not all teacher candidates complete formal field experiences at JPDSP partner schools, efforts are made for as many teacher candidates as possible to experience the partnership during one of the their field experiences.