Department of
Elementary Education / Early Childhood / Special Education

Elementary Education Program

Professional Development School

Emporia State's Professional Development School Model is a collaborative, 100% field-based, year-long, clinical school experience for seniors from The Teachers College. Designed, implemented and evaluated by school district and college personnel, the outcomes-based program strongly reflects components of The Teachers College's teacher education program.



Since the early 1980s, there has been a strong call nationally for change in education at all levels. The Teachers College at Emporia State University has long been an advocate for change and an initiator of change. The addition of Professional Development Schools (PDS) in conjunction with Emporia USD 253 and Olathe USD 233, provides our novice teachers the opportunity to study their profession in a school setting where university and school faculty collaborate and the administrative structure encourages professional development and empowerment of all participants.

Fall 2016 ESU Professional Development SchoolsAlthough the main purpose of the PDS is to provide a unique setting for the education of students and the preparation of new teachers, the PDS environment has so much more to offer. It allows for the development of innovative teaching practices as university faculty and classroom teachers collaborate on new methods and approaches to instruction. It provides university faculty with an opportunity to conduct research, and field test and disseminate educational innovations. Finally, it provides in-service opportunities and practice for the participating school district.


Participating Agencies and School Sites

As of Fall 2016, Emporia State works with 46 schools in 15 school districts; click here for a list of sites.



At each PDS site, on-site coordinators organize instructional activities, conference regularly with interns (individually and as a group) and collaborate with mentors, principals and district personnel. Each coordinator is also the primary university supervisor for the intern's teaching experiences (see Responsibilities of PDS Directors and Coordinators).

Highly trained mentor teachers at each site work closely with the interns to initiate them into all aspects of the teaching profession from meetings and classroom preparation the week prior to the opening of school through the establishment of classroom rules, procedures, and routines, to the planning, teaching, and evaluating of lessons. The interns also get experience with parent conferences and all-school functions. (See Expectations for PDS Mentor Teachers)

Emporia State seniors are chosen to be interns following a selection process that includes formal written application and personal interviews. The interns work long hours as they participate daily in classrooms alongside their mentors. Interns also attend on-site seminars designed to provide needed background related to the art and science of teaching.

Collaborative teachers at each site work with the interns to develop long range curriculum units that incorporate specialty areas such as physical education, music, art, counseling and using the media center.  In addition, the interns spend time observing the collaborative teachers working with children in their specialty areas. (See Responsibilities and Expectations of Interns)

For further information as assistance in planning for the PDS experience, please visit the Elementary Education Advising Center.