Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How will students know they are in a professional development school?

A PDS student see a teacher candidate observing in a classroom, benefit from co‐teaching by his teacher and an NIU faculty member, learn from an NIU student teacher, see NIU students in a classroom learning from NIU faculty during part of the day, participate in a teachers’ research project, notice NIU students assisting with lunch‐time or after‐school activities, or work with an NIU tutor.

What will a PDS cost?

  • The costs of the PDS are shared and minimal.
  • Faculty and staff from both institutions are compensated for their time in the planning process.
  • Time of administrators is donated.
  • Promotional materials (brochures and posters) are paid for by NIU.
  • Facilities on school district property are used free of charge for partnership activities.

What is the division of responsibilities between the school district and NIU in the PDS?

  • District administrative support, identification of cooperating teachers, coordination of professional development, support for research projects; space for NIU classrooms; technology as needed and affordable
  • NIU faculty liaisons to each building, PDS Coordinator, identification of faculty to teach NIU courses in the school; pay for cooperating teachers; transportation for clinical observers and student teachers, delivery of professional development, participation in research projects; joint attendance at professional conferences; technology as needed and affordable

What is the time commitment for School and NIU faculty and staff?

  • Time commitments will vary depending upon the aspect of the PDS in which they are involved. Participation in the co‐teaching model will involve slightly more time than participating in the traditional student teaching model of one semester.
  • Depending upon the scope of the project, collaborative inquiry and research endeavors will require varying time commitments.
  • Pre-service Committee and Site Council committees are collaborative groups comprised of personnel from both the school district and NIU with time commitments of approximately 1‐2 hours per month.

What unique features and experiences are available at the PDS?

  • Experience in a nationallyrecognized program The PDS model has been tested and proved successful across the U.S. PDS objectives are customized for each school.
  • Multidisciplinary collaboration With the goal of meeting the needs of all learners, the PDS is a multi‐departmental and multi-college partnership focused on collaborating, innovating, and supporting new programs. 
  • Utilization of the coteaching model for student teaching Participants can choose the year‐long, co‐teaching model, whereby co‐teachers not only work together, they reflect together to improve their instruction and strengthen their relationship, the outcome of which is an enhanced learning experience for all involved.

Where can I learn more?

Melanie Bickley, Associate Director for Professional Development Schools, at 815-753-2034