Exploratory discussions began in the spring of 2007 after Chesebro administrators contacted NIU to request establishment of a professional development school.
A professional development school is a collaboratively planned partnership implemented for the academic and clinical preparation of interns and the continuous professional development of both the school district and the higher education faculty.
Meetings were scheduled every third Tuesday morning. A mission statement and goals were drafted. An all-day retreat was held with NIU faculty and teachers from Wright Elementary School, the first NIU-District 428 professional development school. National conferences were attended to gain outside perspectives.
In May 2008, the group presented its proposal to the school board. The PDS officially launched in the fall of 2008.