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Fifth annual workshop helps build new partnerships

November 10, 2017

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The fifth annual Professional Development Schools Workshop took place Oct. 24 with an energetic group representing eight universities and P-12 school districts from the Southeast.

The day began at the Georgia Museum of Art, where Stacey Neuharth-Pritchett, associate dean for academic programs at the University of Georgia College of Education, welcomed participants. Janna Dresden, director of the Office of School Engagement, and Tad MacMillan, principal of Clarke Middle School, related the story of how the Professional Development School District partnership began and how it works. Demond Means, new superintendent of Clarke County Schools, described his vision for the future of the partnership.

Participants then visited four schools and had the opportunity to visit an on-site class, observe practicum students in the field, and talk with mentor teachers, UGA faculty and school administrators. At each site visit, the group was able to see the different ways the partnership meets the needs of individual schools. Everyone emphasized the importance of building relationships, flexibility, communication, and reflection, which demonstrated the way professional development schools blend theory and practice.

A working lunch at Clarke Middle School, with delicious food prepared by Clarke County culinary arts students, included a presentation by Logan Garrett, UGA on-site instructor in mathematics education, and three of her UGA students. Participants also observed UGA students working with small groups in eighth-grade math classrooms. The closing panel brought together six principals and professors-in-residence to discuss the successes and challenges of being involved in professional development schools.