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Teacher preparation program receives national award

March 10, 2015

Emporia State's Professional Development School received the 2015 national award for exemplary achievement on March 6. The award, given by the National Association for Professional Development Schools (NAPDS), was announced March 6 at the NAPDS national conference in Atlanta. 

Receiving the award were students and faculty members from Emporia State’s Department of Elementary Education, Early Childhood, and Special Education. Picture left to right: Paige Hardiman (intern), Lori Mann, Jennie Long, Teddy Roop, Courtney Maddux (intern), Jill Jones, Nancy Smith, Deb Larson, Dathan Fischer (William Allen White Elementary School Principal) Sara Schwerdtfeger, Karen Bates, Matt Seimears, Ken WeaverThe NAPDS Award for Exemplary PDS Achievement was created in 2009 to recognize school-university partnerships successfully preparing teacher candidates for the classroom by embracing active engagement in P-12 schools. Selection for the award is based on significant advancements in the nine essentials of PDS work detailed in the April 2008 NAPDS statement titled “What it Means to be a Professional Development School.”

“This is the top award a department can receive for being a Professional Development School model. The faculty are very excited that we were recognized for the award,” said Matt Seimears, associate professor and chair of the Elementary/Early Childhood/Special Education department which oversees the PDS partnerships. “Our number of PDS have grown in number and diversity,” Seimears continued. “The outreach and scope of our mission has expanded to include public school students, pre-service teacher candidates, in-service educators who are mentor teachers in our program, Emporia State faculty, and community college partnerships.”

Emporia State’s PDS was created in 1993 to enhance teacher preparation by partnering with in-service teachers to provide internship opportunities for students. The mission has grown to include school-university collaboration and ongoing professional development to enhance the quality of teaching and school leadership in the region. Today, the program partners with 14 districts and 43 schools in Kansas.                                                                                                                                       

“For over two decades, the Elementary Education faculty and K-6 teachers from over 40 elementary schools have created a true partnership to prepare elementary teachers in elementary school classrooms for an entire academic year,”  said Ken Weaver, Dean of The Teachers College. “This Professional Development School model prepares exceptional teachers who are not only committed to a career in teaching but have 75 to 80 percent retention after five years where the national average is 50 percent.”

NAPDS became an official national association in 2005. Its origin dates back to 2000, when its first conference attracted 600 university and pre-k educators looking to share ideas on how best to create and sustain collaborative school-university partnerships. Since then, interest in PDS has grown and an estimated 1,000 educators from across the nation attended the 2015 conference in March.                                

To learn more about Emporia State’s Professional Development Schools, visit

To learn more about the National Association for Professional Development Schools, visit



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