UNF and Duval County Schools are a winning team for using innovative approaches in preparing future teachers. The UNF/Duval County Schools Urban Professional Development School Partnership received the Exemplary Professional Development School Achievement Award March 14 from the National Association for Professional Development Schools, the second time the partnership has received a national award.
The Urban Professional Development Partnership allows UNF education students to learn to teach by participating in on-site educational experiences at Duval County urban elementary or middle schools serving diverse student populations. Partnership schools include Woodland Acres Elementary, West Jacksonville Elementary, Pine Estates Elementary and Lake Shore Middle schools.
UNF partners with the school district to place clinical faculty members in each school to help UNF students learn to teach within a living laboratory. UNF also provides professors in residence who offer university courses on site at the schools. After listening to their instructors’ lectures, students put their learning into practice firsthand with children and teachers.
“The Urban Professional Development School program is among the most outstanding work we do, and this recognition confirms to us that the results we have seen are indeed noteworthy,” said Dr. Larry G. Daniel, dean of UNF’s College of Education and Human Services.
“This collaboration has enhanced our staff’s ability to continue to further their education profession,” said Duval County Public Schools Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals. “[It] has proven to not only be beneficial for our staff but also for the education of our students.”
The students’ achievement scores prove the partnership has made a difference. West Jacksonville Elementary School went from an F grade to an A grade in 2008. And staffing these schools no longer poses a problem.
“Many students who complete pre-internships or internships in these urban schools never want to leave,” said Daniel. “They fall in love with the children and the school principals fall in love with them. These previously hard-to-staff schools now have people waiting in line to teach there.”