Tift College of Education Launches New Professional Development Schools Partnership with Sagamore Hills Elementary


ATLANTA – Mercer University's Tift College of Education on Aug. 16 formally recognized a new Professional Development Schools (PDS) partnership with Sagamore Hills Elementary School in DeKalb County.

Sagamore Hills is the DeKalb County School District's first school to earn dual STEM certification by the Georgia Department of Education and AdvancED, the international school institution accreditation agency. Dr. deb rosenstein, associate professor of education, serves as Mercer's liaison at the elementary school.

DeKalb County School District Superintendent Dr. R. Stephen Green, DeKalb County School Board member Marshall Orsen and DeKalb County School District Regional Superintendent Trenton Arnold joined Sagamore Hills and Tift College faculty and staff for August's recognition event.

“As a school leader, I am thrilled to play an important role in shaping the vision of future teachers who will serve in our schools,” said Julie Taylor, principal of Sagamore Hills. “I am committed to this partnership and experience firsthand the mutual benefits for future teachers, Sagamore teachers, and our school community,” “Our teachers benefit from the expertise and ongoing professional learning from Mercer University professors to address specific goals and challenges.”

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.

“Our partnership with Sagamore Hills Elementary School serves as a model for the collegiality between a school and university,” said Dr. Kelly Reffitt, associate dean and associate professor of education in Tift College. “We began working with Sagamore Hills last year and are delighted to formalize our partnership with them. Our teacher candidates will thrive in this committed and innovative school community that uses an interdisciplinary approach to transform teaching and learning.”

Tift College of Education also has PDS partnerships with Atlanta's Tapestry Public Charter School, Griffin-Spalding County's Cowan Road Elementary School and Cowan Road Middle School, and Bibb County's Ingram-Pye Elementary School and Hartley Elementary School.

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