A bridge between teacher education and schools

By Learning Forward
June 2019
Vol. 40, No. 3
University-school partnerships can be a powerful mechanism for educator professional learning, but they have varying degrees of success. In South Carolina’s School District 5 of Lexington and Richland Counties, superintendent Christina Melton wanted to make sure her district’s partnership with the University of South Carolina would strategically and systematically attend to enhancing educational opportunities for all stakeholders within the district. “What if the university and the entire school district engaged in a systematic partnership? What if we created a professional development school district?” asked Melton. Dating back to the work of John Goodlad (1994), professional development school partnerships have been identified as spaces that promote the “simultaneous renewal” (p. 632) of schooling and teacher preparation. They embody the principles of collaborative partnerships, which have been

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Rachelle Curcio and Kate Ascetta

Rachelle Curcio ( is a clinical assistant professor in elementary education and serves as the liaison for the University of South Carolina and School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties professional development school district partnership. Kate Ascetta ( is an assistant professor of special education and a member of the professional development school district coordinating council.


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Fullan, M. (2011). Change leader: Learning to do what matters most. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Goodlad, J. (1994). Educational renewal: Better teachers, better schools. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Levine, A. (2006). Educating school teachers. Washington, DC: Educational Schools Project.

Senge, P. (2006). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. New York, NY: Doubleday.

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Learning Forward is the only professional association devoted exclusively to those who work in educator professional development. We help our members plan, implement, and measure high-quality professional learning so they can achieve success with their systems, schools, and students.

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