Professional Development Schools

In 1997, Hood College began a Professional Development School (PDS) partnership with Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) in Maryland. The partnership includes elementary, middle and high schools in FCPS. 

The Hood College/FCPS Partnership Mission Statement is: improving student achievement by preparing highly-qualified teachers today, for tomorrow’s classrooms.

What is a PDS?

A Professional Development School (PDS) is a collaboratively planned and implemented partnership for the academic and clinical preparation of interns and the continuous professional development of both school systems and institutions of higher education (IHE) faculty. The focus of the PDS partnership is improved student performance through research-based teaching and learning.

Participants in the PDS partnership recognize a shared responsibility for the preparation of interns, the professional development of in-service teachers and administrators, improvement of all students’ learning, and improvement in professional practice. PDSs provide the site for performance-based learning by interns and offer interns successive experiences that build upon and integrate knowledge gained from coursework within the teacher preparation program. The partnership between the local school system and IHE ensures alignment of curriculum with the activities that interns observe and conduct within the PreK-12 classroom.

PDS supports a focus on student learning that then informs curriculum development within the teacher preparation program. Additionally, PDS serves as a laboratory for demonstrations of best practices and introduction of new pedagogical techniques, including those that involve the use of technology.

PDS vs. Partner Schools

All PDS and Partner schools are a part of our Education Council to provide professional growth opportunities for all stakeholders, to establish extensive internships for Hood students under the direction of master teachers, and to support professional inquiry into best practices for improving student achievement.

A PDS works with our teaching interns in a cohort of 5 or more through their senior year, Phase II and Phase III internship.

A Partner School works with interns during their sophomore and junior year as they complete ½ day field experiences.

  • Students complete field experiences within PDS and Partner schools throughout all phases of their education program.
  • Teaching interns complete an intensive 100-day internship within a PDS in cohorts of 5 or more.
  • Teaching interns work with highly qualified full-time PDS mentors who have considerable expertise in the field.
  • Students are immersed into the culture of PDS and partner schools by being active participants in the local PDS education community.
  • Elementary education classes are taught on-site at one of the PDS sites.
  • Collaboratively planned professional development opportunities with PDS faculty/staff, student interns and college faculty
  • The PDS program is in alignment with standards set by NCATE PDS Standards and Maryland State Department of Education PDS Standards

Program Prerequisite

  • EDUC 204 Foundations for Effective Teaching — interns are in schools ½ day (minimum 3 hours) per week


  • As interns complete education courses during phase I, they are in schools ½ day (minimum 3 hours) per week.


  • Teaching Interns begin their 100 day internship.
  • They are assigned in cohorts of 5 or more to a PDS.
  • They are at the PDS for 2 days per week.


  • Teaching Interns are in full internship.
  • They complete two full-time internship experiences.
  • Early Childhood Teaching Interns will have one grade 1-3 classroom experience and one kindergarten experience.
  • Elementary/Special Education Teaching Interns will have one special education experience and one grade 1-5 classroom experience.