Frequently Asked Questions

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NIU PDS Brochure on School-University Partnerships


National Association for Professional Development Schools


edcamp Northern Illinois

Frequently Asked Questions

How will students know they are in a professional development school?

A PDS student see a teacher candidate observing in a classroom, benefit from co‐teaching by his teacher and an NIU faculty member, learn from an NIU student teacher, see NIU students in a classroom learning from NIU faculty during part of the day, participate in a teachers’ research project, notice NIU students assisting with lunch‐time or after‐school activities, or work with an NIU tutor.

What will a PDS cost?

  • The costs of the PDS are shared and minimal.
  • Faculty and staff from both institutions are compensated for their time in the planning process.
  • Time of administrators is donated.
  • Promotional materials (brochures and posters) are paid for by NIU.
  • Facilities on school district property are used free of charge for partnership activities.

What is the division of responsibilities between the school district and NIU in the PDS?

  • District administrative support, identification of cooperating teachers, coordination of professional development, support for research projects; space for NIU classrooms; technology as needed and affordable
  • NIU faculty liaisons to each building, PDS Coordinator, identification of faculty to teach NIU courses in the school; pay for cooperating teachers; transportation for clinical observers and student teachers, delivery of professional development, participation in research projects; joint attendance at professional conferences; technology as needed and affordable

What is the time commitment for School and NIU faculty and staff?

  • Time commitments will vary depending upon the aspect of the PDS in which they are involved. Participation in the co‐teaching model will involve slightly more time than participating in the traditional student teaching model of one semester.
  • Depending upon the scope of the project, collaborative inquiry and research endeavors will require varying time commitments.
  • Pre-service Committee and Site Council committees are collaborative groups comprised of personnel from both the school district and NIU with time commitments of approximately 1‐2 hours per month.

What unique features and experiences are available at the PDS?

  • Experience in a nationallyrecognized program The PDS model has been tested and proved successful across the U.S. PDS objectives are customized for each school.
  • Multidisciplinary collaboration With the goal of meeting the needs of all learners, the PDS is a multi‐departmental and multi-college partnership focused on collaborating, innovating, and supporting new programs. 
  • Utilization of the coteaching model for student teaching Participants can choose the year‐long, co‐teaching model, whereby co‐teachers not only work together, they reflect together to improve their instruction and strengthen their relationship, the outcome of which is an enhanced learning experience for all involved.

What is the DeKalb CUSD #428 Research Approval Process?

  1. Complete the “Application to Conduct Research”. This is available on the Human Resources Website, or by contacting Dr. Kelly Summers.
  2. The “Application to Conduct Research” is considered complete when the form itself is completed and it is accompanied by:
    • Proof of IRB approval from the sponsoring institution of higher education
    • Any and all consent forms used in securing permission
    • Any correspondence used in securing permission and/or subjects
    • Any and all survey instruments, interview questions, data collection tools, etc.
  3. The completed Application to Conduct Research must be submitted to Dr. Kelly Summers, Coordinator of 3TM, Assessment and Research, by October 1 or February 1 of any school year. This is in accordance with Board Policy.
  4. The Research Review Committee will meet and review the Application to Conduct Research within four weeks after the submission deadlines.
  5. Researchers will be notified, via email, of the Research Review Committee’s decision regarding the acceptance or declination of the Application to Conduct Research.
  6. The opportunity to conduct research in District 428 is contingent upon not only receiving approval from the Research Review Committee, but additional factors such as availability of subjects, approval of the building principal, consent of any participating teachers, potential to interrupt instructional time, and available resources.

For further information, please contact:

Dr. Kelly Summers, Coordinator of 3TM, Assessment and Research

Where can I learn more?

Tris Ottolino, PDS Coordinator, at 815‐753‐9092

NIU College of Education Partnership Office

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Teacher Preparation and Development