About Bradley PDS Partnership

Professional development schools are innovative partnerships between P-12 schools and teacher education programs, designed to prepare new teachers, develop practicing teachers’ knowledge and pedagogical skills, conduct and disseminate research to improve professional practice, and enhance student achievement (National Association for Professional Development Schools [NAPDS], 2008; National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education [NCATE], 2012). Wise and Levine (2002) elaborate:

"The PDS is to teacher preparation as the teaching hospital is to physician preparation, i.e., a new institution to provide high quality service to students while preparing new generations of teachers. Children in the PDS have the benefit of expert teachers and university faculty present and focusing on their needs. At the same time these experts are mentoring and supervising candidates who are learning to practice effectively, (para. 6)."

Professional development schools “are extremely important in enhancing teacher quality and student achievement in urban schools with high needs populations,” NCATE, 2012, para. 4). Indeed, they have the potential to maintain and expand the pool of highly qualified teachers by preparing pre-service teachers and developing practicing teachers. PDS partnerships also strengthen teacher education programs through application-based projects and assignments with real students and teachers in real schools (Leslie, 2011).

Three Bradley PDS sites, Harrison, Manual, and Trewyn, are also Peoria Full Service Community Schools (PFSCS).  Based on the premise that maximum student learning can occur only after students’ basic needs are met, “community schools focus on the whole child by providing resources to support academics, health and social services", (The Federation for Community Schools [TFCS], 2012, para. 3). Full service community schools offer a range of supports and resources (i.e. health care, legal services, breakfast programs, parent education, etc.) for students and their families so that students are more likely to succeed academically (Baldwin Grossman & Vang, 2009). Professional development schools, on the other hand, place greater emphasis on teaching effectiveness and student learning.

Funded by the William T. Kemper Foundation-Commerce Bank, Trustee and Bradley University College of Education and Health Sciences, the Bradley PDS Partnership was established in 1995. Based on the needs of Bradley’s eight PDS sites, and inspired by the full service community schools model, the partnership extends beyond teacher education to include all five departments in Bradley’s College of Education and Health Sciences (i.e. Family and Consumer Sciences, Leadership in Education, Counseling, and Human Services, Nursing, Physical Therapy, and Teacher Education). Each semester, professors and students from these departments, and Bradley University’s Center for STEM Education, partner with students and teachers at Bradley’s PDS sites through clinical experiences, course connections, professional development, and special projects/events.


  • Baldwin Grossman, J., & Vang, Z.M. (2009). The case for school-based integration of services: Changing the ways schools, families, and communities engage with their schools. Public/Private Ventures: Groundwork. Retrieved from http://www.ilcommunityschools.org/docs/Case%20for%20Integration%20of%20Services%20-%20PPV.pdf
  • Leslie, D.A. (2011). Seeking symmetry in a school-university partnership: University of Chicago and Chicago public schools: A collaborative approach to developing models and tools for professional development and teacher preparation. Planning and Changing, 42(1/2), 120-154.
  • National Association for Professional Development Schools (2008). What it means to be a professional development school. Retrieved from http://www.napds.org/19%20Essentials.statement.pdf
  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (2012). Professional Development Schools. Retrieved from http://www.ncate.org/Accreditation/AllAccreditationResources/ProfessionalDevelopmentSchools/tabid/497/Default.aspx
  • The Federation for Community Schools (2012). What are community schools: Definition. Retrieved from http://www.ilcommunityschools.org/?definition. 
  • Wise, A.E., & Levine, M. (2002). Improving student achievement in low-performing schools in urban districts. Retrieved from http://www.ncate.org/Accreditation/AllAccreditationResources/ProfessionalDevelopmentSchools/PDSResources/ImprovingStudentAchievement/tabid/502/Default.aspx