Locating Resources on Professional Development Schools. ERIC Digest. 

by Abdal-Haqq, Ismat 

In the mid-1980s, professional development schools (PDSs) emerged as a promising approach to simultaneously improving both teacher education and P-12 schooling. PDSs are functioning schools that have three primary missions: (1) maximizing student achievement; (2) providing a rigorous clinical setting for the professional development of preservice and inservice teachers; and (3) developing, testing, and refining effective practices through applied research.

Pioneers in PDS development had little guidance from the education literature; however, information about PDSs is now more abundant and more accessible. Much of this increase can be attributed to the expansion of PDS-related documents and journal articles in the ERIC database from less than 30 at the end of 1990 to more than 200 by March 1996. While ERIC remains the largest source of conventional literature on PDSs, exploring other sources can also be productive. This digest looks at several categories of resources that include PDS-related material. The discussion includes suggestions for more productive ERIC searching, examples of electronic resources, locating fugitive literature, and using information centers.


The ERIC database contains abstracts of more than 200 PDS-related resources research reports, project descriptions, books, journal articles, handbooks, directories, conference papers, and bibliographies. Following a few simple guidelines will enable a searcher to more accurately and completely identify appropriate material.

*Use all relevant keywords, descriptors, and identifiers in your search. Remember that other terms professional practice schools, clinical schools, partner schools, and professional development centers are also used to describe institutions that embody the professional development school concept (Book, 1996).

*Full-text searches may identify useful resources. For example, consider the results of a menu-based search of the Dialog CD-ROM, 1983-March 1996 edition of the ERIC database. Using the ERIC Subject Headings professional development schools, professional practice schools, clinical schools, and partner schools to identify sources produced 220 records. However, when a Words and Phrases search was done using the same terms, 263 sources were identified. The first search was essentially a key word search in which two fields, ERIC descriptors and ERIC identifiers, were searched. The second search scanned titles, abstracts, and notes, as well as subject headings.

The ERIC database can be searched on World Wide Web (WWW) (http://ericir.syr.edu/Eric). However, at present, the Web version of the database only includes records added between 1991 and 1996. Also, searchers often find that they are not able to conduct Internet searches with as much precision and refinement as they can with CD-ROM or on-line versions of ERIC.


Internet and WWW PDS resources are not very plentiful at present, but they are growing in number and offerings. These resources generally fall into two categories interactive structures, which are designed to promote collegial exchange and share information; and reference sites, which supply documents, announcements, and links to other sites.


At least three listservs with a PDS focus have been formed over the past few years. Subscribers pose questions and offer advice to colleagues; announce conferences, new publications, and job openings; and post full-text documents, which can be accessed and downloaded. To subscribe to these listservs, contact each list directly at the e-mail address given below, or request subscription procedures for all the lists from the Clinical Schools Clearinghouse ([email protected]). Topics covered by the first two listservs include all aspects of PDS work while the third focuses on research issues.

*PDS-NCREST, sponsored by the National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools, and Teaching (Teachers College, Columbia University) contact: [email protected]MBIA.EDU

*PDSnet, sponsored by the Chicago Teachers' Center

contact: [email protected] or [email protected]

*PDS-RES, sponsored by Johns Hopkins University

contact: [email protected]


The following WWW sites provide information on professional development schools and are examples of reference sites.

*Currently, the most extensive public access reference site is maintained by the Clinical Schools Clearinghouse (CSC), which also functions as the Adjunct ERIC Clearinghouse on Clinical Schools. Information includes: PDS bibliographies, statistics, Internet resources, announcements, sample partnership agreements, and the PDS Database data collection form. Links are given to text files on the clearinghouse's gopher site, which offers a list of CSC publications, a call for literature, and a statement of purpose. The web site provides links to other PDS-related Internet sites and addresses, as well as to full-text ERIC digests on PDS issues.

URL= http://www.aacte.org/menu2.html

*The Regional Alliance Higher Education Reform Network maintains a public access web site, which posts PDS-related messages received by Alliance listservs. Messages thus far have ranged from short introductions to multi-page program descriptions. URL= http://hub.terc.edu/ra/rns/ed-reform/postings/0423.html

Periodic searches of the WWW, using different search engines, may turn up new Internet resources. In addition, Web sites frequently contain links to related Internet resources.


For a variety of reasons, PDS print and nonprint material may not routinely find its way into the education literature mainstream. For example, a number of PDS partnerships and networks produce newsletters that not only relate the activities of the individuals or institutions that are a part of the network or partnership but may also include thoughtful essays or discussions of recent research. However, the major education and social sciences databases do not routinely abstract and index newsletters; thus, this material does not have the same exposure that exists for published reports, journal articles, or even conference papers. Also, educators who work in PDS settings, particularly school-based educators, sometimes publish articles and papers in regional or state journals or conference proceedings that do not enjoy wide circulation. Newsletters can be a good source of information about such material.

One strategy for locating newsletters, project descriptions, and other material is to approach individual partnerships. To identify partnerships and obtain contact information, begin with a PDS directory. The second edition of Professional Development Schools: A Directory of Projects in the United States (Abdal-Haqq, 1995), published by the Clinical Schools Clearinghouse, contains information on more than 300 PDSs. Approximately 300 partner schools are members of the National Network for Educational Renewal, and contact information can be found in the National Network for Educational Renewal Partner School Directory (Clark, 1995), which is generally revised annually. State networks often publish directories of the PDSs in that state (Gottesman, Graham, & Nogy, 1993; Teitel & DelPrete, 1995). Finally, a number of organizations, information centers, and clearinghouses can provide contact information on local and national PDS partnerships, as well as other resources. A selected list is given below.


Clinical Schools Clearinghouse, AACTE, One Dupont Circle NW, Suite 610, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-2450, e-mail: [email protected]
The clearinghouse collects and abstracts PDS literature for the ERIC database; disseminates information on PDSs; schedules workshops; conducts research; publishes bibliographies, directories, digests, and other material related to PDSs; and publishes the Clinical Schools Update, a periodic insert, which appears in the AACTE newsletter, Briefs.

The Holmes Partnership, Office of the Dean, College of Education, The Ohio State University, 127 Arps Hall, 1945 North High Street, Columbus, OH 43210, (614) 292-2461

This organization evolved from the Holmes Group, whose design principles for professional development schools have shaped PDS development for the last decade. Members of the new organization will include local school-university PDS partnerships and national organizations.

Michigan Partnership for New Education, Michigan State University, 513 Erickson Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824-1034, (517) 336-2195

One of the pioneers of the PDS movement, the Michigan Partnership has helped to establish and maintain more than a dozen PDSs across the state.

National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools, and Teaching (NCREST), Teachers College, Box 110, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, (212) 678-3763

NCREST sponsors the PDS Network, an association of institutions involved in PDS activities. The group publishes a newsletter, PDS Network News; manages a listserv; sponsors conferences; and has produced one of the few videos on PDSs.

National Network for Educational Renewal (NNER), Center for Educational Renewal (CER), College of Education, University of Washington, 313 Miller Hall Box 353600, Seattle, WA 98195-3600, (206) 543-6230

Sixteen NNER partnerships have established more than 300 partner schools in 14 states; the 19 Goodlad postulates guide the design of these programs. Center Correspondent is a newsletter published by the CER.

Professional Development Schools Standards Project, National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), 2010 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20036-1023, (202) 466-7496

The PDS Standards Project is a two-year project, begun in 1995, which has three primary goals: to establish a consensus about quality and good practice in PDSs; to design developmental standards for PDSs; and to create an infrastructure, which will support and sustain PDSs. The project has collected research data on a number of partnerships and has convened forums, which focus on best practices in PDSs, developing financing and cost models, and constructing draft standards.

Centers for Professional Development & Technology (CPDT), Dr. Laurie Ochoa, Education Preparation, Texas Education Agency, 1701 North Congress, Austin, TX 78701, (512) 305-8701

The statewide network of CPDTs includes several partnerships, which are partially funded by state funds. A number of these partnerships publish newsletters.


References identified with an ED number have been abstracted and are in the ERIC database. Most documents (ED) are available in microfiche collections at more than 900 locations. Documents can also be ordered through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service: (800) 443-ERIC.

Abdal-Haqq, I. (1995). Professional development schools: A directory of projects in the United States (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. ED 391 778

Book, C. L. (1996). Professional development schools. In J. Sikula, T. J. Buttery, & E. Guyton, Handbook of research on teacher education (pp. 194-210). New York: Simon & Shuster Macmillan.

Clark, R. W. (1995). National Network for Educational Renewal partner school directory. Seattle: Center for Educational Renewal, University of Washington. ED 380 417

Gottesman, B., Graham, P., & Nogy, C. (1993). South Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching and School Leadership: Professional development schools. Rock Hill, SC: South Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching and School Leadership. ED 366 549

Teitle, L., & Del Prete, T. (1995). Creating professional development school partnerships. A resource guide. Boston: Massachusetts Field Center for Teaching and Learning. ED 387 460

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