Developing New Understandings of PDS Work: Better Problems, Better Questions

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Through sharing examples, the authors demonstrate how the analysis of long-term Professional Development School (PDS) problems and their evolution can serve as one indicator of growth in the PDS. Three persistent problem areas are identified: (a) building trust and relationships between university and school personnel, (b) reconceptualizing existing coursework to fit in the PDS context, and (3) making inquiry a central feature of the PDS. The historical evolution of these problem areas is traced through three phases of PDS development over a six-year period, including PDS Planning, PDS Pilot Year, and PDS Institutionalization. The authors conclude that, through careful analysis, PDS problems can be celebrated and utilized as one measurement of growth in PDS work rather than bemoaned and utilized to characterize PDS work as unstable and fragile. Finally, the authors call for other PDS practitioners across the nation to share their PDS problems publicly, beginning a national dialogue about the ways in which PDS problems lead to new and better PDS work.