Professional Development School (PDS) Program
Since opening in 2009, EARTHS has been working in partnership with Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology to train credential candidates and support EARTHS’ students through a professional development school model.
A professional development school (PDS) is a partnership between a school and a university focused on improving the quality of teacher preparation and professional development through inquiry and collaboration. Four goals are integrated into the program at a PDS (Teitel, 2003):
- Improvement of student learning
- Preparation of educators
- Professional development of educators
- Research and inquiry into improving practice
EARTHS invites multiple-subject candidates from Pepperdine’s Westlake Village campus to join our school community for a full school year to learn and develop alongside our teachers and students in a medical model. During this year our candidates participate in a developmental observation rotation which allows them to observe student development in all grade levels and better understand the scope and sequence of curriculum across the elementary school grades. This also allows them to observe management and instructional strategies from multiple teachers to develop a sense of their own identity as a teacher.
The candidates will then student teach in two grade levels, one primary and one upper grade, in order to develop their instructional practices. Supervision and coaching is provided to these candidates through EARTHS staff members who serve as master teachers, an on-campus field supervisor, and Pepperdine adjunct faculty.
Credential candidates enhance student learning by providing additional support in the classroom, reducing student-teacher ratios, and supporting the school with their own service-learning research projects.
In collaboration with Pepperdine as well as with our partnership with the FOSS Leadership Academy, EARTHS teachers are able to continue their own professional development through reflection and inquiry into improving teaching practices in the classroom.
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