Affiliate Program Group helps promote, support Professional Development School

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.—The Professional Development School (PDS) is a collaborative student teaching program between Penn State and the State College Area School District through which Penn State pre-service teachers participate in a full-year internship experience in classrooms in the school district.

However, the PDS community includes many more individuals than just Penn State pre-service students. It also involves veteran teachers, administrators, graduate students and University faculty all working together. The PDS goals are to  enhance the educational experiences of all children, ensure high-quality inductions of new teachers into the profession, engage in furthering professional growth as teachers and teacher educators, and educating the next generation of teacher educators.

The PDS Affiliate Program Group (APG) is designed to provide services, promote and support the program, and provide leadership to current and past participants in the program.

"We hope to serve as a mechanism for encouraging and attracting former PDS participants and others to remain connected in a very concrete way. We help to promote the PDS program and serve as a vehicle for constant and on-going promotion of PDS," said the president of the group, Mary Beth Hershey, Class of 2005, elementary and kindergarten education.

Hershey also said the group provides leadership for the program and profession, and its members serve as role models by demonstrating the ideas of leadership, service, and ethical conduct.

Jim Nolan, who earned a doctorate in curriculum and instruction in 1983 at Penn State, is the Henry J. Hermanowicz professor of teacher education and co-facilitator of the Professional Development School. He started the APG in 2006. Its aim was to unite and facilitate interaction among and between all constituencies of the College of Education, including faculty, students, staff, former faculty, friends and family, and alumni of the PDS program within the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Since the start of the APG, the group has planned and staged two successful PDS alumni reunions, which were held in State College. It has also created and distributed a PDS alumni newsletter of all its happenings. Its most important agenda item was to use social media networks to spread the word about the group.

“After setting up a Facebook page, we are close to reaching 400 members. This avenue has been the most successful when it comes to connecting with our past PDS interns,” Hershey said.

“It is a convenient way to stay in touch, share current teaching ideas/ philosophies, advertise/announce open teaching positions and keep all members informed about upcoming PDS events. PDS alums are teaching all over the country, so we are seeing many alums benefiting from the connections that are made through our Facebook page.”

The PDS Facebook group can be found at www.facebook.com/groups/81560056182/.

“If you are a former PDS intern please join our Facebook group page,” Hershey said.

“We also would like to focus on connecting with and supporting current PDS students. Providing guidance and advice throughout their PDS experience is just one of our goals. We are excited about the future of our group and look forward to building upon our ever-growing PDS alumni community.”

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Last Updated June 18, 2014