Professional Development System

PDS History & Timeline

Background Chronology 1989-Present


  • In 1989, proposals were submitted to establish the Consortium for the Advancement of Public Education (CAPE) and the Model Clinical Teacher Program (MCTP). CAPE's initial effort emphasized school reform while MCTP focused on the reform of teacher preparation.
  • Model Clinical Teacher Programs were begun as pilots in New Hanover, Brunswick and Duplin counties. The CAPE School Reform Initiative was funded through a BellSouth Foundation grant and matching contributions from seven school districts. The School issued a position paper entitled "The School of Education in a Decade of Reform" which called for a multi-faceted effort to redesign teacher preparation. This report listed eight issues which would be addressed over the next five years.
  • In 1991, CAPE was endorsed as a model by the North Carolina State Legislature and a portion of the appropriations was committed to the School Reform Initiative to work with twenty-three schools. MCTP was redesigned to focus on a broader agenda combining teacher preparation and induction with school improvement projects in Brunswick and Duplin counties.
  • In 1992, a number of related initiatives such as the establishment of the Office of Service to Public Schools, the redesign of the Educational Leadership Program, initiation of the Technology Outreach program, creation of the Instructional Technology Center and the redesign of all field components and numerous programs were undertaken.
  • In 1993 the partnership transitioned to the beginnings of a Professional Development System. The first district level formal partnership agreements focusing on both teacher preparation and school reform were signed with Brunswick and Duplin County School Systems. A planning team was charged by the Dean with examining ways to integrate the emerging parallel initiatives into a focused system.


  • In 1994, a study was commissioned by the Watson College of Education to evaluate the Model Clinical Teaching Program in Duplin and Brunswick School Systems. This study revealed that the program had a significant impact on the improved development of teacher interns and was widely supported by public school and university participants. The study also revealed, however, that the program was labor-intensive, needed to be more focused in its goals and objectives, and that university structures were changing more slowly than those in the schools. In response, a faculty committee was charged with addressing these concerns and with identifying the most salient features of the pilots for transfer to the total preparation program. The Master of School Administration degree program was redesigned to reflect many of the conceptual frameworks represented in the MCTP and CAPE pilots.
  • In 1995, PDS district level agreements were signed with eight additional districts in the immediate service region. The North Carolina Legislature appropriated funds to support the UNCW model and the program at ECU as pilots for a potential state-wide effort. UNCW partnered with Pembroke State University and school districts in Brunswick, Onslow/Camp Lejeune, New Hanover, Columbus/Whiteville, Pender, Duplin, Robeson and Bladen counties. A Professional Development System Advisory Council was formed along with faculty and public school teams from UNCW and Pembroke to give general guidance to the expansion of the partnership network, the redesign of curricula, and the development of orientation and training materials.
  • In 1996, the Professional Development System partnership received top national honors from the Association of Teacher Education. The project was awarded second place for the "1996 Distinguished Program in Teacher Education." Formalized roles and responsibilities were developed for the UNCW PDS Program Coordinator, PDS Principals, school-based Site Coordinators, University Supervisors, Partnership Teachers, and Interns.
  • Additional university faculty were engaged in professional development activities throughout the year with a target of 100% of all faculty completing training by the summer of 1998. PDS Seminars were initiated at all PDS Partnership Schools that had interns. A PDS research and evaluation team was established to collect baseline and continuing data.
  • The School-University Applied Research and Development Initiative was established as a means of linking university partners and public school partners in ways other than the placement of interns at PDS sites. It created a mechanism for responding to requests from K-12 schools for assistance in writing grants, designing ways to study and use test results, accessing current research, designing programs, and a host of other education-related issues. It also provided Watson School of Education students with authentic opportunities to conduct literature reviews, develop tentative program plans, and collect/ analyze data. This initiative was viewed as a way to foster the professional development of school/university faculty, administrators, and education students.
  • The PDS Implementation Team was formed to help guide the development of the Professional Development System and to respond to the issues that impact the university-school partnership. The team consisted of partners from both public schools and the university who met monthly to identify issues and facilitate the design and implementation of appropriate solutions.
  • Three conferences were held with partnership teachers, site coordinators, administrators, and university partners to discuss common issues, ideas, and insights for the improvement of all partners.


  • A PDS Research Collaboration with other UNC System institutions was initiated. Five universities (Pembroke State, Fayetteville State, NC State, Western Carolina, and UNC-G) agreed to exchange campus visits in order to inform their individual PDS efforts. In addition, an agreement was reached to collaborate on research initiatives in four major areas: Teacher Development, Accountability, Technology, and Diversity. UNCW also visited sites in Kentucky to examine their partnerships.
  • In 1999, the PDS Implementation Team further refined the roles of its six functional teams (Technology; Training; Research, Development, and Evaluation; Dissemination; Communication; and Placement) to work more specifically in areas critical to the partnership.
  • The WCE Coastal Educational Technology Conference was held in the fall, attracting over 500 public school partners and educators from the regional community. Administrators from the partnership participated in the '"Administrator Technolympics," consisting of a series of technology activities designed around the NC Advanced Technology Competences expected of all NC students by 8th grade.
  • Three "Ideas, Insights, and Challenges" conferences were held for partnership teachers with interns, attended by over 275 partnership teachers and university faculty. These conferences focused on a close scrutiny of current curriculum/instructional issues and areas of shared concern. Participants exchanged information regarding currently used academic programs and methods of delivery for those programs.
  • The third round of three-year PDS contracts was successfully negotiated and signed by Superintendents, the Dean, the Chancellor, and the Provost following Negotiation Meetings held in each of the 10 partnership districts (February - June, 2002.) The process culminated in a formal signing of contracts on the campus of UNCW on June 10, 2002.
  • A new PDS School Application process was initiated for this three-year round of negotiated relationships, with Application/Orientation Meetings held in Onslow, Brunswick, and New Hanover counties for over 60 principals and other CO administrators. This process allows individual schools to select the level of partnership engagement with which they are comfortable and to articulate areas for concentrated work with WCE faculty, wherever possible.
  • Extended Training sessions were implemented in the spring of 2003 to give all partnership teachers who have been assigned curricular studies interns for the next semester, their site coordinators and principals an opportunity to refresh their skills and become informed of changes in WCE programs and intern requirements. Emphasis is placed on reflection, assessment, and accountability. New training materials have been created to assist in these areas.


  • PDS Partners benefited from participation in many WCE collaborative grants and initiatives. Included among them are the Eisenhower Middle Grades Mathematics grant, the NC Catalyst grant featuring technology author and specialist Dr. Annette Lamb, the NC Quest grant for middle grades math/science/mentor teachers, the PT3 technology grant, the CT3 coalition grant for mid-career professionals and the Watson College of Education K-8 Reading Institute initiative.
  • Orientations for new partners joining the PDS are held regularly throughout the year as our partnership and the needs of our partners continue to change and grow.
  • The Ideas, Insights, & Challenges conferences were held in the Fall and Spring for Partnership Teachers hosting interns. Some of the major presenters and topics included: Horacio Sanchez, presented a brain-based approach to changing the way we teach and discipline, the school climate, and the way we train teachers; Wendy Miller, the 2005-2006 NC Teacher of the Year, discussed keeping the magic alive in education by encouraging all students to become advocates of their profession, becoming risk-takers in their practice, and supporting their students; Coila Morrow and Victoria Baldwin, presented information on meeting the needs of diverse learners. PDS held technology workshops focusing on digital games in education and web tools for teachers. The 2008 Spring conference focused on North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards and their impact on the teaching profession. The Fall 2008 conference focused on 21st Century Teaching and examined the attributes of 21st Century Learners and how those attributes impact teaching and learning in the classroom.
  • The Watson School held a Mentoring 21st Century Educators Conference. The conference focused on learning and innovation skills, life and career skills, information, media, and technology skills, and 21st Century Themes.
  • PDS held extended PDS partnership teacher training that included information on cognitive coaching for 21st Century teaching as well as training for EYC partners.


  • In the summer of 2010, Ms. Diane Calhoun, PDS Director retired after 13 years of service to PDS. She provided outstanding leadership to the Office and strengthened our partnerships with local schools during her tenure. Dr. Susan Catapano assumed the role of PDS Director for one academic year. During her tenure, she developed online training for new partnership teachers. This training focuses on our cognitive coaching model. She also received a drop-out prevention grant which was used to provide targeted professional development to local schools.
  • In the fall of 2011, Dr. Donyell Roseboro assumed the role of PDS Director, and the PDS Office hosted a regional education summit with a keynote presentation by Congressman Mike McIntyre. At the summit entitled Innovation Inspires Collaboration: Exploring the Landscape of Southeastern North Carolina in Challenging Economic Times, approximately 125 district partners, students, and faculty shared their innovative initiatives and discussed ways to enhance these through partnerships. From this summit, the PDS Office invited applications from teachers interested in forming cross-district collaborative teams to work on implementing an innovative idea.
  • In the fall of 2012 the PDS Office initiated the Partnership in Actions Schools Program. A team of nine faculty and staff worked with the PDS Director to review applications, develop an interview rubric, interview finalists, and select schools for the program. Three schools were selected - Carolina Forest International Elementary School (Onslow County), Cedar Grove Middle School (Brunswick County), and Heide Trask High School (Pender County). Faculty Members-in Residence and Faculty Facilitators were chosen for each school and, over the next three years, engaged in professional support and in-depth outreach efforts to each of the schools.
  • 2012 also began the first three-year cohort of Master Teachers. This new PDS initiative is designed to recognize teachers in our partnership schools who have demonstrated excellence in teaching during their tenure as partnership teachers. Master Teachers receive 30 hours of professional development and work closely with our academic programs to better prepare our teacher candidates. There were 76 nominations from WCE faculty and staff and twelve teachers were chosen by a WCE selection committee.
  • During this time, the PDS Office also worked with the WCE Assessment Team to take part in an ongoing PDS Evaluability Study. The objectives of the study were to provide:
    • A program theory model of the PDS that represents the logic of how the PDS is intended to work
    • Findings about the alignment of the theory of PDS and the reality of PDS implementation and stakeholder perspectives
    • Related findings about the plausibility of the PDS yielding positive results as currently conceived and implemented
    • Recommendation for filling in any gaps in alignment and increasing PDS plausibility
    • Recommendations for further evaluation
  • In March 2014, the WCE Professional Development System Elementary Block was recognized for Exemplary PDS Achievement by the National Association of Professional Development Schools. Faculty and PDS partners traveled to the NAPDS Conference to receive the award and share the success of our partnership!


  • In fall 2014, Somer Lewis assumed the role of PDS Director, and worked to implement many of the recommendations suggested as a result of the ongoing PDS Evaluability Study. The program theory model of PDS was used to develop a graphical representation, which was then used to communicate the components, impacts, and outcomes of PDS to our partners. In addition, an Advisory Committee was established to guide the work of the PDS and provide feedback regarding PDS initiatives and strategies for increased involvement. The PDS Office also worked to increase its reporting capabilities and considered data needed for ongoing PDS evaluation.
  • In an effort to further support WCE students, as well as our PDS partners, the PDS Office initiated two new student-centered support opportunities. In December, our office hosted the Fall PDS Job Fair available to fall interns, and in the spring, partnered with the Director of Human Resources for Brunswick County Schools, to host a workshop on Professionalism and Tips for Finding A Job. Finally, our office created a Teacher Appreciation Video shared with teachers in our partnership during the May 2015 Teacher Appreciation Week:
  • During 2015-2016, the PDS Office was pleased to offer research award funding to WCE full-time faculty for new or existing research projects that involve one or more schools or districts within our PDS partnership. The intent was to enable colleagues to make meaningful progress on research that directly involves PDS partners and support faculty in developing PDS research that will become a significant publication, presentation, grant proposal, or other scholarly artifact. Faculty and their PDS partners could request a maximum of $2,500 to support their Partnership in Action Projects. Funded projects include:
    • Dr. Lynn Sikma and Ms. Victoria Minshew, Prioritizing STEM: Utilizing a STEM Resource Lab to Increase Elementary Teachers' and Students' STEM Experiences
    • Dr. Candace Thompson, Dr. Susan Catapano, Ms. Elisa Doyle, and Ms. Kimberly Loye, Mirrors and Windows: Working Toward Culturally Responsive Literacy Instruction Using Urban Literature Texts in Middle Grades
    • Dr. Hengameh Kermani, Empower Us!: The Impact of Professional Opportunities for Early Childhood Educators
  • In May 2016, UNCW students, faculty and staff, along with our school and community partners were encouraged to post 10-second videos or written messages using Twitter hashtags #TeachingMatters, #WatsonCollegePDS, and @UNCWWatsonED. The Twitter campaign was an opportunity to thank teachers and spread awareness about “why teaching matters” in an effort to encourage young people and career changers to consider teaching as a profession. During the 24-hour effort, the campaign sparked over 500 tweets and retweets, in addition to coverage by various media outlets.