Skip to Main Content

UNF professor co-authors ‘Nine Essentials’ national professional development school guidelines

teachers working with students in classroomDr. Rebecca West Burns,  director of clinical practice and educational partnerships for UNF’s College of Education and Human Services (COEHS) and a Bill Herrold Endowed Professor, co-authored the recently released National Association for Professional Development Schools’ second edition of the “Nine Essentials,” the national guidelines that set the standard for high quality school-university partnerships.

Professional Development Schools (PDS) are collaborations between colleges and universities with PK–12 schools and districts to advance agendas of mutual interest in education with the goal of preparing and sustaining professional educators. PDS are unique school-university partnerships that aim towards the improvement of PK–12 student learning, the joint engagement in teacher education activities, the promotion of professional growth of all participants and the construction of knowledge through intentional, synergistic research endeavors.

The second edition of the Nine Essentials describes the core, crucial elements of PDS, details new features and beliefs about their nature, suggests aspirations and directions for this national movement, and addresses how PDS should attend to the topics of equity, antiracism, and social justice.

PDS are incredible collaborative opportunities that serve the educational system in various roles:

  • Resident clinical faculty members work as liaisons between the PK-12 district and university to better prepare teachers by connecting theory and practice.
  • Faculty in residence professors have specific expertise, spend at least one day a week at the PDS and help to harnesses the resources and knowledge of the university to support schools.
  • Teacher candidates are UNF COEHS students placed in local PDS where they get to learn from and work with mentor teachers.
  • Mentor teachers are excellent classroom teachers who have assumed the role of teacher educator, coach, and mentor while modeling best practices in the classrooms.

UNF’s COEHS is proud to serve as a partner with Duval County and Clay County schools in establishing PDS in the Jacksonville area. Local UNF COEHS professional development schools include: King’s Trail Elementary, Woodland Acres Elementary, Grove Park Elementary, Tiger Academy, and Orange Park junior and senior high schools.

The partnership and collaboration with each of these schools provides UNF with an opportunity to work closely to improve educational opportunities throughout the community. UNF PDS participate in school-wide action research to develop reflective practitioners. In addition to action research, University faculty work alongside school-based faculty to develop research agendas that work to inform instruction and improve learning outcomes for all students.

Burns is a nationally recognized scholar whose research and scholarship are situated within clinically based teacher education where she targets three, sometimes interconnected, strands of research: supervision, school-university partnerships, and teacher leadership. Her research has been published in numerous peer-refereed journals and is aligned with national calls to transform teacher education by increasing clinical practice and school-university collaboration.

Burns recently co-authored two books released in 2020, “Clinically Based Teacher Education in Action: Cases from Professional Development Schools” and the second edition of Dr. Carl Glickman’s best-selling ASCD book, “Leadership for Learning: How to Bring Out the Best in Every Teacher.” Burns also co-authored the newly released book “(Re)Designing Programs: A Vision for Equity-Centered, Clinically Based Teacher Preparation.” Her next book “Supervision in Clinically Based Teacher Education: Advances, Opportunities, and Explorations” is scheduled for release in late 2021.

Learn more in “What it Means to be a Professional Development School (PDS): The Nine Essentials (2nd Edition).”