This year will be the eleventh year for the Professional Development School at the University of Delaware for the Southern Campus. Located at Lulu Ross Elementary this program is now attempting to close its doors permanently. This program was created for juniors and seniors at the parallel program at the University of Delaware in Georgetown.
The students, who are studying for a career in education, spend part of their time in a classroom which is located behind Lulu Ross Elementary and spend more than 1,500 hours in district classrooms. During their student teaching internship hours students participate in all of the responsibilities of a teacher for 2 years. This program has offered the chance for many students down state to gain their bachelor’s degree in Sussex County. The program has enrolled 118 students and graduated 99 since its inception but now the University of Delaware is planning to shut down the program completely.
Parents who disagree with this decision have created a task force that was put together by Sharon G. Kanter, Superintendent of the Milford School District. “The PDS school has provided Milford with excellent teachers over the last 10 years. It prepares graduates with hands on style “apprenticeship” learning which translates into a well prepared teacher once they are hired,” stated Mrs. Kanter.
To date, 78% of the University’s PDS program graduates remain in southern Delaware schools for employment. The program has helped retain some of our local students who might otherwise look at other school, in other states, to complete their students teaching requirements. It also aids in recruiting local graduates to working at local school districts, including Milford. Eighteen graduates from the Professional Development Program are currently educating students in the Milford School District.
Superintendent Kanter remarks “It saddens me to think that the lack of enrollment has caused the University of Delaware to discontinue the program. I would like to have the opportunity to work with community partners, parents and students to market the program effectively and even expand it if we could.”
If the University of Delaware is successful in closing this program the last year would be 2013. Students that are currently sophomores and above would be able to finish out the Professional Development School and complete the necessary classroom hours needed to become a certified teacher in the state of Delaware.