Emporia State's teacher-preparation program gains national acclaim

June 16, 2011

A teacher-preparation program modeled after how doctors are trained in hospital residencies is being presented as a model for the 21st century by the U.S. Department of Education.

The Teachers College at Emporia State University launched the Professional Development School program in 1993 on a trial basis. In the program, education majors in the final year of their programs are placed as interns in Professional Development Schools for the entire school year.

The program includes close collaboration among ESU faculty, administrators at the PDS sites and the supervising classroom teachers who act as mentors to the students. Collaboration continues after students graduate from ESU, also. If administrators who hire beginning teachers believe they need more training, the teachers may return to ESU at no cost for additional work. In the 18 years of the PDS program, only five teachers have been referred back to ESU.

The PDS program also is helpful for ESU education students who can see just what teaching in the classroom is like. Of teachers trained at ESU, 92 percent remain in the classroom more than five years, which is almost twice the national average.

“Graduates of the Teachers College are highly sought-after by school districts because of their depth of knowledge and thoroughness of training and experience they bring to the classroom,” wrote Todd May in a blog on the U.S. Department of Education website.

In the blog, May introduced a video about the PDS program that was produced by the education department. The video is posted on the USDE website, on YouTube and on ESU’s website and YouTube channel.

The video, shot on the ESU campus and in classroom settings at PDS sites around the state of Kansas, includes interviews with ESU officials including President Michael R. Lane and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Tes Mehring, who was associate dean of The Teachers College when the PDS program was launched.

The new video is not the first time The Teachers College at ESU has drawn attention at the federal level.

In a 2009 speech at Columbia University about teacher preparation, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan referred to The Teachers College as the “crown jewel” of ESU.

The full Department of Education blog is online.

The video is on the home page of ESU’s website and the university’s YouTube channel.

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