As students prepare to enter college and the workforce, there has been a demand for them to be more independent, critical thinkers, innovative designers, and thoughtful collaborators. This preliminary study describes how a Professional Development School (PDS) partnership, between a middle school and a university, provides a more authentic teaching opportunity for middle grades teacher interns compared to the traditional, middle grades internship route. An authentic teaching experience provides a successful transition from “student to teacher” through a collaborative work environment; observing and developing the dispositions of an effective teacher; and learning the culture and structure of a school. The traditional middle grades internship route has been found to undermine the time needed to build relationships with students, cooperating teachers, and schools. The PDS partnership has alleviated this by securing a yearlong placement in one middle school leading to more confident, effective teachers prepared to engage the 21st century learner.

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