NIU currently has four Professional Development (PDS) sites operational in two districts, DeKalb and St. Charles, with an agreement to launch an additional number of sites in Huntley by Fall 2012.
PDS sites give our students and faculty an enhanced and engaged set of clinical experiences, by providing unique opportunities for our students, new ways of connecting with classrooms and teachers, and greater exposure to school faculty who also participate in our clinical seminars and guide our students through their observations. NIU is unique in the state in the number of PDS offerings and the extent to which they are integrated into our programs. Students take NIU classes on site, watch students in the classroom, and analyze the experiences in a collective setting all within the span of a normal class day. Our student teachers spend an entire year in the PDS schools, working with the students and their Cooperating Teacher over the entire course of an academic year to share in the full experience of teaching.
Our goal is to have at least ten PDS districts with multiple sites within each district, so that all of our programs have multiple options to engage in PDS relationships and placements.