Regional Professional Development (PDS) Schools

Regional PDS Goals and Partners

Goal and Mission: The Regional Professional Development School (RPDS) seeks to increase student learning through the establishment of a learning community involving collaborative work between school-based teachers and college-based faculty as well as administrators from both contexts. The projects of the RPDS will frequently, but not exclusively, center on providing pre-service teachers with a more authentic classroom experience to better prepare for entry into the profession The RPDS will also give teachers in the schools an opportunity to engage in applied research with college colleagues that will deepen and inform instructional practice for all participants. College faculty not only have a practical setting from which to conduct research which might have a comparatively immediate impact on student learning, but also have access to a real world environment that instructors can use to bridge the sometimes seeming insurmountable gap between theory and practice that looms for pre-service teachers. The RPDS offers opportunities for school and college faculty to develop more refined skills as instructors, to advance intellectual inquiry in an immediately relevant context, and ultimately, to increase student learning through more authentic engagement with pre-service teachers. In accordance with the CAEP standards for PDS partnerships, the RPDS will work toward a four-fold mission:

  •       The preparation of new teachers
  •       Faculty (both school and college-based) development
  •       Inquiry-directed improvement of practices
  •       Enhanced student achievement


SUNY Cortland and Tully Schools Share Classrooms via Technology

SUNY Cortland and Tully schools are using technology to provide college education students with actual classroom experiences earlier than most programs. Through the use of video conferencing equipment, education students at the State University are able to watch classes in the Tully schools as they take place, discuss them and even interact with students and teachers through video and audio links. This affords opportunities for these future educators to experience a classroom a year or more prior to their actual student teaching.

The technology avoids the logistical issues of travel and time and bringing a full college class physically into the public school classroom. University faculty can discuss what is taking place without disturbing the classroom. Additionally time is available for discussion with the classroom teacher and the teacher prep students after the instruction period.

SUNY faculty member Karen Hempson initiated the program with several staff members of the Tully schools last year. The public school participants have expanded in the current year due to the success of the program as viewed by both institutions.

Dr. Marley Barduhn, Assistant Provost for Teacher Education at SUNY Cortland, said that college students described this experience as "one of the most valuable learning experiences" they’ve had. “The entire class was able to share the same experience which provided a common ground for discussion,” wrote one of the teacher candidates.

Tully classrooms have been using video conferencing for courses and collaborations with other schools for several years. The current project is one of the first such collaborations between the public schools and higher education in the region. Dr. Kraig Pritts, Tully Schools Superintendent, believes that rural schools have the opportunity with this technology to work more closely with their university partners in bringing the reality and excitement of the classroom to new teachers-in-training.

The program is one of an ongoing series of relationships developed by SUNY Cortland in a Regional Professional Development School program (RPDS). The RPDS works with area schools to enhance the development of future educators while also providing professional development opportunities for those already in the field.


Call for PDS Action Plan Mini-grants

The goal of the Cortland Regional Professional Development School (Regional PDS) is to increase student learning through the establishment of a learning community involving collaborative work between school-based teachers and college-based faculty, as well as administrators in both contexts. In accordance with CAEP (Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation), the Cortland RPDS will work toward a four-fold mission:

  • preparation of new teachers
  • faculty development (school- and college-based)
  • inquiry-directed improvement of teaching practices
  • enhanced student achievement

Teacher candidates benefit from authentic classroom experiences, students benefit from fresh ideas and innovative practices, teachers benefit from reflective practice and college faculty benefit by staying in touch with developments in classroom practice and ideas for collaboration and future research.

The Regional PDS Mini-grants are designed to support teachers and college faculty in collaborative school improvement efforts. Because of budget constraints, we will only be able to award a limited number of grants. Mini-grants may be awarded up to $1500. Grant proposals must:

  • Identify how the grant will impact student learning/achievement
  • Involve a PDS School (there are 16 member school districts)
  • Include a college faculty member directly as part of the school project
  • Involve SUNY Cortland teacher candidates either through direct involvement or by presentations in pedagogy classes and other venues
  • Append a statement of support/approval from the local administrator

Awardees will present the project and describe its implementation and results to the Regional PDS governing group in at the spring, 2012 retreat.

Mini-grant proposals are due December 15, 2010. Please send them to Joy Mosher, RPDS Coordinator, Cornish Hall 1238. Review and notification of awards will be completed by the end of December, 2010. Awarded funds must be expended by June 25, 2011.

Proposal format

Title of project

Names of authors, listing school affiliation, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses. Identify

others who will be involved in the project.

Mission/goals of the project, focusing on the above CAEP four-fold PDS mission.

Brief description of the proposed project (250-500 words) that addresses the following points:

  • How will this proposal improve student learning?
  • How will this program better prepare teacher candidates?
  • How will the program expand and improve the skills of teachers and college instructors (how might the program offer research opportunities)?
  • What assessment tool will be used to measure program success? How will the program be evaluated? Describe measurable outcomes.
  • What resources (equipment, materials,) are required to implement the program?

Append a separate budget identifying specific costs of project equipment and materials, not to exceed

$1500. Provide information on in-kind or other contributions from the school district involved. Please

note that SUNY Cortland funds cannot be used to pay teacher stipends. Materials or equipment must be

purchased by SUNY Cortland: include accurate names of vendors, addresses and catalog numbers with

the proposal.

Proposals that do not address all points above will not be considered for awards.

If you are awarded a mini-grant:

This mini-grant may qualify for in-service credit for teachers depending upon the school district’s policy. Please check with your building administrator.

Equipment and/or materials must be ordered by SUNY Cortland staff and delivered to SUNY Cortland. Please double check the vendor information to be sure that it is accurate and up-to-date. Arrangements will be made for pickup from 1239 Education Building.

Awardees will present their projects and describe preliminary findings and assessment at the spring, 2012 retreat.

District Partners:

2011 Regional Professional Development School Initiative Mini-Grant Awards

Project-Based Learning – the Flat Classroom Project”
Erika Rossman, Tully Jr/Sr High School
Cynthia Sarver, English Department, SUNY Cortland

“Overnight Backpacking”
Geoffrey Sorenson, Homer High School
Amy Shellman, Recreation, Parks and Leisure Studies
Eric Malmberg, Physical Education, SUNY Cortland

“Using Inquiry to Meet Living Environment Core Curriculum Requirements and to Develop Skills Using Digital Data Collection within Local Environs”
Nancy Hummell, LaFayette Jr/Sr High School
Rena Janke, Biological Sciences, SUNY Cortland

Integrating the Common Core State Standards and 21st Century Skills”
Heather Sheridan Thomas, TST BOCES
Cynthia Sarver, English Department, SUNY Cortland

”It’s Your Magazine”
Lorraine Dougherty, McGraw High School
David Franke, English Department, SUNY Cortland

“The Portable Library”
Kraig Pritts, Leila Madani, Tully Jr/Sr High School
Karen Hempson, Childhood/Early Childhood Department, SUNY Cortland

“Videoconferencing with Tully Students and Teacher Candidates”
Susan Hardy, Cynthia Moy, Mike Perkins, Mary Podsiedlik, Tully Elementary School
Karen Hempson, Childhood/Early Childhood Department, SUNY Cortland

2010-Regional Professional Development School Initiative Mini-Grants Awards

Cortland Regional 21st Century Skills Consortium
Kraig Pritts, Tully School District
Cynthia Sarver & Shufang Shi, SUNY Cortland

Developing Inquiry Skills Through Laboratory Design
Nicholas Lefort, LaFayette High School
Rena Janke, SUNY Cortland

Kidwatching: The Interface of Assessment and Instruction
Leesa Ferris, Homer Intermediate School
Sheila Cohen, SUNY Cortland

TST BOCES Smith School Community Reading Project
Heather Sheridan Thomas, TST BOCES
Douglas Keating, SUNY Cortland

Writing More and Writing Differently
Anne Marie Heymann, Tully Elementary School
David Franke SUNY Cortland

2009- Regional Professional Development School Initiative Mini-Grant Awards

Generating Learning by Generating Wind Power
Kevin Sommer, Tully High School
Katina Sayers-Walker, SUNY Cortland

Community Symposium: Building Inclusive Relationships with Urban Schools
Selected Syracuse Schools
Foundations and Social Advocacy Department, SUNY Cortland

Visual Understanding in Education: School Visit to Dowd Fine Arts Center
Cincinnatus Central School District
Cynthia Benton & Judith Schillo, SUNY Cortland