District 428 NIU Partnership

District 428 and NIU worked together closely for decades, but the partnership started in a new direction in 2003, when planning began for a professional development school. Paul T. Wright School opened in fall 2004 as a PDS and a school of choice with strong support from educators and the community. Due to high student performance and family enthusiasm, Wright was so popular that the annual lottery for placement was always over-subscribed.

Spurred by a successful referendum that enabled the building of a new high school in 2008-2010, the NIU-428 partners began planning a high school PDS that would focus on educating students for global competitiveness. Also in the fall of 2010, enrollment changes caused a merger of Paul T. Wright and Chesebro schools into Founders Elementary, which became another new PDS. By 2012, District 428 had found the PDS model so valuable in raising performance of their students that they requested development of professional development schools in all 11 district buildings. The development process is underway.

Schools in the partnership include:

Brooks Elementary
Cortland Elementary
Founders Elementary
Jefferson Elementary
Lincoln Elementary
Littlejohn Elementary
Malta Elementary
Tyler Elementary
Clinton Rosette Middle School
Huntley Middle School
DeKalb High School

PDS Goals for District 428

World-class student achievement including academics, activities and citizenship.

Rigorous curriculum that matches expectations of higher education and the worksplace.

Superior preparation of pre-service teachers, whose skills match the needs of today's classrooms, including proficiency in skills for improving achievement of low-achieving students.

Excellence in professional learning that supports District 428 and NIU faculty in their pursuit of globally competitive student achievement.

National model of school excellence that leads to regional and national recognition.

NIU Student Engagement

NIU students enrolled in teacher preparation programs may take education courses on-site at the new high school and engage in extensive observations, clinical experience and student teaching.


DeKalb District 428
IIRC District 428

PDS Districts

Cambridge Lakes Charter School
Kathleen Poole, Principal
900 Wester Blvd.
Pingree Grove, IL 60140

DeKalb CUSD 428
Richard Craven, Superintendent
901 S. 4th St.
DeKalb, IL 60115

Huntley Community School District 158
John Burkey, Superintendent
650 Academic Dr.
Algonquin, IL 60102

Kaneland CUSD 302
Todd Leden, Superintendent
47W326 Keslinger Rd.
Maple Park, IL 60151

St. Charles CUSD 303
Donald Schlomann, Superintendent  
201 S. 7th St.
St. Charles, IL 60174

Sycamore CUSD 427
Kathy Countryman, Superintendent 
245 W. Exchange St.
Sycamore, IL 60178

Contact Us

Jenny Parker, Ed.D.
Associate Vice Provost
University Office of Educator Licensure and Preparation