The University of South Carolina’s (UofSC) Professional Development Schools Network (PDS) earned the coveted Exemplary PDS Achievement Award from the National Association for Professional Development Schools (NAPDS). NAPDS is the pre-eminent national organization supporting and advancing school-university collaboration.
The Exemplary PDS Achievement Award is given to school-university partnerships each year whose work creates and sustains genuine collaborative relationships between Pre K-12 schools and higher education. The UofSC was selected for the 2019 award and will be honored on February 15 at the organization's national conference in Atlanta, Georgia.
The big thing to me is to have opportunities to get your head out of the minutia - to have relationships with university people who care what the school people have to say and to be in environments where people are thinking about how to better the field. This is what PDS provides.
Roy Blakeney, Dreher High School administrator
The UofSC has a history of sustaining strong PDS partnerships since 1990 when the College of Education became a national leader in starting the Professional Development Schools movement. One or more of its partnership schools has received the Exemplary PDS Achievement Award on six previous occasions. This year's award, however, recognizes the entire UofSC PDS Network for its leadership locally and nationally.
“Receiving the NAPDS Exemplary Achievement Award brings the UofSC PDS network full circle. The College of Education started the National PDS Conference and was instrumental in the formation of the national association. Our ability to evolve and progress over the years has led to a vibrant, sustainable network,” says Cindy Van Buren, Assistant Dean for Professional Partnerships and UofSC PDS Director.
The UofSC network encompasses 21 schools in five schools districts in the Midlands. The mission statement for the partnership calls for establishing and maintaining "sandboxes" for research and innovation where teacher educators and practitioners can "play around with ideas" - a touchstone that has inspired NAPDS from the organization's founding and whose manifestations are evident in UofSC's successful partnership sites.
“Being part of the PDS Network has afforded my faculty and students a wealth of resources and experiences that could not be obtained through any other partnership,” says Cassy Paschal, Principal of Irmo Middle School in Irmo, South Carolina. “The small fiscal commitment from the school pales in comparison to what my school has gained. If you are seeking to take your school to higher professional development and instructional levels, PDS is the ultimate path.”
“The big thing to me is to have opportunities to get your head out of the minutia - to have relationships with university people who care what the school people have to say and to be in environments where people are thinking about how to better the field. This is what PDS provides,” says Roy Blakeney, Assistant Principal, Dreher High School in Columbia, South Carolina.