$107,000 Grant Awarded to FSU PDS Partnership

Friday, August 14, 2015

The West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts has awarded a $107,000 grant to the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc., on behalf of Fairmont State University’s Professional Development School Partnership.

“This state funding makes it possible for Fairmont State and our 40 partner public schools to work uniformly to provide ongoing professional development for those students training to become teachers and for practicing educators,” said Barbara Owens, Director of Clinical Experiences and the PDS Partnership for the FSU School of Education, Health and Human Performance.

“We encourage job-embedded support that is aligned with the school’s comprehensive instructional program to help improve student achievement at all levels. We couldn’t be more pleased and thankful that this work is recognized and valued at the state level. Our PDS Partnership has resulted in a reciprocal relationship that has greatly benefited all stakeholders.”

In the early 1990s West Virginia became one of the first states to support the transformation of teacher professional development and teacher education through P-12 -- higher education partnerships. In a process known as “simultaneous renewal,” higher education and public schools work together to focus on teacher quality as the cornerstone of enhanced student achievement. Now, all public higher education institutions and local public schools in West Virginia are engaged in this effort. Through this initiative, West Virginia has become a leader in creating a network of partnerships that support teacher excellence, beginning with rigorous teacher education, and continuing through a teacher’s career with professional development in teacher practice and content knowledge.

The Fairmont State Professional Development School (PDS) Partnership has expanded from three schools to include 40 schools located in six counties. Participating schools are located in Harrison, Marion, Monongalia, Preston, Taylor and Wetzel counties.

The $107,000 state grant funding will be used to:

  • Assess current infrastructure of the PDS networks and plan and implement improvements;

  • Expand higher education faculty presence in schools;

  • Provide more professional development opportunities through system-wide and school-based workshops, courses and action research activities;

  • Improve data infrastructure so the PDS partnership can make more data-driven decisions;

  • Intensify and expand training for teachers mentoring teacher candidates;

  • Involve more school personnel in planning, mentoring and otherwise providing time and expertise to PDS activities;

  • Provide support to schools' improvement plans to increase student learning;

  • Hold strategic planning sessions, for long-term planning;

  • Materials (e.g., books) and faculty time and stipends to buy time for following up on professional development;

  • Paying stipends to school faculty to compensate them for time spent off-contract in planning, mentoring, and otherwise offering time and expertise to PDS activities;

  • Competitive grants to PDS schools to support site-based initiatives to enhance student achievement.

“Fairmont State University has a distinguished history as an institution that educates excellent teachers and provides support to the education profession in West Virginia and beyond. Throughout its history, the School of Education has prepared educators who help ensure that West Virginians are empowered, democratically minded, and economically successful. Our work is central to ensuring that all people have access to educational opportunity,” said Dr. Carolyn Crislip-Tacy, Dean of the School of Education, Health and Human Performance.

The School of Education, Health and Human Performance moved from a traditional model of student teacher supervision to the PDS liaison role. Faculty members are involved in the familiar role of teacher education supervisor, but also work with public school colleagues to support their practice. To date the 25 faculty members from across campus embrace this work by committing to a set of newly developed institutional commitments for rigor and challenging work in teacher education.

Since its inception in 2007, the FSU PDS Partnership has been awarded more than $1 million in state and local funding to support its mission. The PDS Partnership has awarded more than $250,000 in competitive grants to area schools.

For more information about the FSU PDS Partnership or the School of Education, Health and Human Performance, visit http://www.fairmontstate.edu/schoolofeducation/professional-development-schools-partnership.