NAPDS award

Accepting the award are Lindsey West (West), Jessica Hastings (Morrison-Gordon), Chris Kennedy, John Henning, Dean Renée Middleton and Sara Helfrich (Patton), Liz Hoisington (Plains), Jenny Spero (Plains) and Marcy Keifer Kennedy (Patton).

Photographer: Bryan Burgin

National award

Dean Middleton presents the award to East Elementary Principal Claire Giardino and PDS partners Tracy Williams-Miles, Madison Backus, Chris Kennedy, Jennifer Wakeley and Stephanie Nisley More and students Elliot, Isaiah, Keenen, Kacie, Sophia and Taran.

Photo courtesy of: Patton College of Education

Liz Hoisington

First-grade teacher/PDS teacher liaison, Liz Hoisington, shows the award to The Plains Elementary students Kylee Hart, Alyasia Williams, Timmy Blackstone, and Tyler Stotts, while Principal Heather Skinner (R) and Dean Middleton (L) look on.

Photo courtesy of: Patton College of Education

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Patton Center for PDS Partnerships and Athens City Schools win national award

Ohio University's Patton College of Education's Center for PDS Partnerships and Athens City Schools won a prestigious national award recognizing innovative partnerships and professional development. This March, at the National Association for Professional Development Schools (NAPDS) national conference in Las Vegas, NAPDS presented The Patton College of Education and Athens City Schools with the Award for Exemplary Professional Development School Achievement.

This award recognizes Professional Development School relationships for their ongoing contributions to create and sustain genuine collaborative partnerships between P-12 and higher education that shapes educator leadership and practice.

The mission and focus of The Patton College's Center for PDS and Athens City Schools is to positively impact P-12 students and prepare the best teacher candidates possible. By providing in-depth clinical experiences for teacher candidates, intervention programming created through the PDS partnership relationship, and shared professional development that is positively impacting all parties involved, the Athens City PDS Partnership serves as a model that has been refined over the past two decades. The emphasis on reflective practice and the sharing of innovative ideas for programming also help to keep the focus on how to improve existing programming.

"This recognition affirms the hard work, dedication, and commitment of our teachers who contribute daily to the learning needs of P-12 students and the preparation of the next generation of teachers," said The Patton College Dean Renée A. Middleton. "The strong working relationship between faculty, teachers, and teacher candidates in this collaboration with the Athens City School District has greatly benefitted P-12 student learning," said Middleton.

With an emphasis on student learning, the collaboration engages in constant reflection and planning to best meet the needs of everyone involved. "All PDS programming that is done in collaboration with the Athens City Schools is intentional and planned to meet the needs of the individual school and the learners in that school," said Marcy Keifer Kennedy, Director of the Center for PDS Partnerships at The Patton College of Education. "In the Center for PDS Partnership, schools and faculty have multiple opportunities to engage in reflective dialog during the academic year in various ways," said Keifer Kennedy.

The partners often collaborate and reflect on best practices in the schools and in the university setting. Meetings across all PDS Partnership programs are held regularly. School administrators, teacher liaisons, and mentor teachers are invited to be involved with The Patton College of Education's Unit for the Preparation of Education Professionals (UPEP) meetings and the Design Teams created by the Communication and Connections group. In addition, PDS partners share their important work with districts across the region by participating in meetings and conferences outside of the Center for PDS Partnerships.

The Center for PDS Partnerships is committed to supporting teacher development that is ongoing through the use of graduate credit waivers to support professional development in the Athens City Schools. This, along with providing opportunities for teacher candidates, mentor teachers, and university faculty to engage together, helps support the goals for both the school and university communities.

"Our partnership with The Patton College of Education's Center for PDS Partnerships has resulted in interventions and programming that has significantly improved the education of students in our school district," said Carl Martin, Superintendent of Athens City School District. "Together, we have helped children with reading and math deficits improve their skills while providing the students from The Patton College an excellent learning laboratory. This collaboration has enabled us to increase our capacity and reach more P-12 learners, strengthening our community's educational foundation," said Martin. "Receiving the NAPDS award recognizes that our efforts are exemplary."

Some of the interventions as a result of The Patton College of Education's Center for PDS Partnerships and Athens City Schools award-winning collaboration include: West Elementary RTI Early Literacy Intervention – In the last five years, teacher candidates at West Elementary have engaged in early reading intervention with great impact on student learning. All kindergarten children are assessed early in the school year to identify those who are at risk in terms of reading. This early response is designed to help children gain the foundational knowledge needed to ensure educational success. In response to Ohio's new legislation during the 2012-2013 school year, the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, reading intervention was also implemented with third grade students. The teacher liaison, the partnership candidates, and the retired teacher volunteers all collaborated to ensure that at-risk students would receive reading intervention five days a week.

Morrison-Gordon Elementary Reading Intervention – The Morrison Gordon Early Childhood PDS Partnership began during the 2011-2012 academic year. School partners identified reading intervention as a primary need in the school. As part of the partnership experience, teacher candidates work in small groups with K-3 students who are struggling with reading. Candidates are given valuable experience in the areas of reading instruction, assessment, and differentiation.

The Plains Elementary Math/Reading Intervention Programming – For the past three years, K-3 children at The Plains Elementary have been divided into groups for math and reading intervention. Originally, the teachers administered the center-based instruction providing hands-on activities focusing on math skills and reading assessments. The responsibility of planning the centers was released to teacher candidates as the year progressed. Aligned with method courses, the teacher candidates applied theory they learned in their coursework to design, teach, and reflect on their lessons. The Plains PDS Partnership also received a mini-grant from The Patton College to engage in additional professional development.

East Elementary School Community Involvement – The PDS partnership teacher candidates placed at East Elementary in the middle childhood grades are involved in yearly service learning projects. The most recent project answered the call for more nonfiction reading material for the school. As a result, students coordinated fundraisers to purchase nonfiction literature for the school library. Teacher candidates placed at East Elementary get multiple opportunities to interact with families and experience firsthand the role that parent and family involvement has on student learning, self-esteem and academic success. Student involvement in these activities helps solidify the connection between communities and schools.

The Patton College of Education's Center for PDS Partnerships and Athens City Schools collaboration is a relationship that benefits all: Athens City School students, mentor teachers, and administrators, as well as The Patton College teacher candidates and faculty. Partners will continue to focus on positively impacting P-12 student learning as they continue to build upon the existing programing for years to come.

The national award will be displayed at The Patton College of Education, as well as West Elementary, Morrison Gordon Elementary, The Plains Elementary, and East Elementary.