Education Professional Development Schools

Clarke's Professional Development School Vision and Structure

Clarke University created a Professional Development School (PDS) model for its elementary education program in 1999. In Clarke's version of the PDS model, the professional-sequence, junior-year teaching methods students take a block of courses that are offered in K-5 schools. The classroom assigned for these courses is literally in the K-5 school, so students are in the school at least three hours-a-day, five days-a-week. Having the courses meet in elementary schools allows for a much closer relationship with the school, teachers, and elementary students. There are two College instructors at the school with the College students daily to teach methods, guide lesson planning, observe the students teach, and provide immediate feedback on their teaching.

Elementary education majors spend one semester at a private, parochial elementary school, and one semester at a public elementary school. Students working toward an endorsement in special education spend an additional semester in a third elementary school, serving children identified for special education. Students seeking a reading endorsement spend a semester, or summer term, working with children in a literacy and language magnet school. Students seeking a middle school endorsement spend a semester taking classes and working with children in a local middle school. Music education majors take their elementary music methods course in an elementary PDS as well. Clarke currently has PDS sites at Fulton Elementary School, St. Anthony Elementary School, Mazzuchelli Middle School and Table Mound Elementary School.

Click here for a complete listing of area schools.

How PDS School Involvement Improves a Teacher Education Program

Clarke's PDS structure provides for an integrated, contextual setting for students to learn curriculum and instruction. This structure allows students to learn from and with both the college professors and the elementary teachers in the schools. Clarke’s education faculty members understand that a merging of the theoretical and practical is necessary for teachers to develop fully. Clarke's PDS program is a successful integration of theory with real world experiences.

Components of the Clarke PDS Structure:

  • professor as facilitator 
  • experiential learning 
  • flexible class times 
  • PDS classes 
  • school experiences five days-a-week, all semester, for two to three semesters BEFORE student teaching
  • standards-based
  • Support Clarke - Spring
  • Arts at Clarke 2016
  • Transfer Fall 2015