Term of Award

Spring 2004

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Administration

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Lucindia H. Chance

Committee Member 1

Amy R. Heaston

Committee Member 2

Michael D. Richardson

Committee Member 3

Catherine C. Wooddy


Professional Development Schools (PDSs) were proposed as a way to revolutionize and reform schools by changing the way teachers are trained to teach in order to enhance and reform schools by changing the way teachers are trained to teach in order to enhance schools to expose K-12 teachers, administrators, university professors, and education students to the latest research on teaching and learning and to the realities of the public school classroom. The goal was to provide practical training for pre-service teachers and staff development for in-service teachers in order to promote better teaching and increase K-12 student achievement.

Peach State University (PSU) chose to use the Professional Development School model to fulfill the state's mandate to form "functional units" with public schools. In 1998, Professional Development School collaboratives were developed with five area high schools. The mission of the PSU PDSs was to provide student teaching experience within the realities of a public school, to enhance teacher education, and to promote student achievement by conducting inquiry-based research.

This research study proposed to study the PSU PDS collaboratives to discover the perceptions of high school teachers and principals regarding the training of pre-service teachers, the professional growth of in-service teachers, research and inquiry, and student achievement. In addition, perceptions of the advantages and disadvantages of membership in the PDS collaboratives were investigated. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected through surveys and interviews with teachers and principals in the five collaborating high schools.

The perceptions of the teachers and principals indicated that the PSU PDSs were fulfilling their mission in the preparation of pre-service teachers for the rigors of the public schools. In contrast, the influence on in-service teacher development, research, and K-12 student achievement was not evident. The teachers who were actively involved in the mentoring of apprentices and lab students benefited from their association with PSU. But, the majority of the survey and interview respondents did not indicate that collaboration with PSU affected in-service teacher development, research, or student achievement.

The PSU partnerships with the five area high schools have not yet evolved into Professional Development Schools according to NCATE standards. The partnerships must continue to develop and evolve into whole school collaborations in order to impact teacher development and K-12 student achievement.

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