Tift College of Education, Griffin-Spalding County School System Launch Professional Development Schools Partnership


GRIFFIN – Mercer University's Tift College of Education and the Griffin-Spalding County School System (GSCS) on Aug. 18 celebrated a new Professional Development Schools (PDS) partnership involving Cowan Road Elementary and Cowan Road Middle schools.

“An effort to develop even better teachers was launched at the recent professional development partnership celebration between Mercer and the Griffin-Spalding County School System. Mercer pre-service teachers will work closely with teachers and administrators at Cowan Road Elementary and Cowan Road Middle to learn the most effective teaching strategies to optimize student success and well-being,” said Dr. Jim Barta, dean of Tift College of Education. “I am so grateful to all of the Tift faculty and our GSCS colleagues, many of whom are Mercer graduates, for collaborating to make this unbelievable dream come true.”

Professional development schools are innovative institutions formed through partnerships between professional education programs and P-12 schools. PDS partnerships have a four-fold mission, including preparation of new teachers, faculty development, inquiry directed at the improvement of practice and enhanced student achievement.

“The Mercer-GSCS PDS partnership is a powerful example of how school systems and universities can come together to meet the needs of the students and continue to develop our faculty – at both the school house and university campus,” said Dr. Mack Bullard, director of strategic talent management for GSCS. “Everyone involved has an opportunity to learn together, grow and provide impactful learning experiences for children. That's why we are all here – to make sure every child has a great education to prepare them for a successful future.”

Tift College of Education also has PDS partnerships with Bibb County's Ingram-Pye Elementary School and Hartley Elementary School, as well as DeKalb County's Sagamore Hills Elementary School and Tapestry Public Charter School. Additional partnerships are planned for the 2017-2018 school year.

Tift College's PDS model is based on its conceptual framework of curriculum, teaching and learning, and dispositions. Teacher candidates participate in yearlong clinical experiences in these schools.

About the Tift College of Education

Mercer University's Tift College of Education – with campuses in Macon, Atlanta and the University's three Regional Academic Centers – prepares more professional educators than any other private institution in Georgia. The College offers baccalaureate and graduate degrees, and is guided by the conceptual framework of the “Transforming Practitioner,” which supports those who aspire to grow professionally throughout their careers, while also seeking to transform the lives of students. education.mercer.edu

Kyle is senior director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he serves as editor of the Mercerian alumni magazine and News@Mercer e-newsletters, and he coordinates hometown and university news releases.