Concept of Professional Development Schools (PDS)

Graceland University, in partnership with several Iowa and Missouri school districts, offers a unique learning experience for elementary education majors during their senior year. The concept of the PDS Program is to provide quality teacher preparation, renew the practice of in-service teachers, focus on reflection and inquiry, and impact student learning.
Increase in academic achievement has been noted in the school buildings partnering with the University in this manner. Feedback from principals and mentors, as well as interns, is collected on a semester basis to improve the PDS program. 

Our Mission

Graceland's mission is to create an exemplary school environment that provides for the ongoing tasks of school renewal while seeking to serve the needs of P-12 students. The PDS provides a clinical setting for pre-service education in which university students and P-12 faculty engage in professional developmnet, promote and conduct inquiry that advances knowledge of schooling, fosters parental involvment with the school, and strengthens the university-school collaboration.

Program Description

Graceland student interns will be under the direct mentorship of master teachers beginning their senior year. Interns attend all pre-school in-service meetings with their elementary school faculty in August. Throughout the first semester, interns are on site at their assigned school on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Mondays and Wednesdays are devoted to attending night classes on the Graceland campus with your regular cohort.  Interns participate in lessons during the first semester, making the transition into full-time teaching seamless and more beneficial to students and candidates. During January, interns complete a reading or special education practicum. 
University faculty provide mentor support workshop and monthly luncheons, with the goal of developing competent and confident mentors who are scholars and leaders in the profession. The PDS model supports the most effective strategies to assure teacher quality, retention, and student success in learning.
The student teaching component spans from February through May for a total of 70 consecutive days/14 weeks.  PDS interns are mentored and advised by their assigned master teacher.  Additionally, university faculty provide guidance in translating theory into practice as interns participate in the Professional Seminar on Graceland's campus. All assessments and evaluations are done in accordance with University policies for student teaching during this professional semester.

Professional Seminar

The elementary senior block is comprised of five courses:
  • EDUC3540 - Methods Lab (1 hr)
  • EDUC4100 - Legal Ethical, Pedagogical Responsibilites in Education (3 hrs)
  • EDUC3480 - Language Arts, Reading, Social Studies Methods (3 hrs)
  • EDUC3530 - Math Methods (3 hrs)
  • EDUC4230 - Classroom Management (3 hrs)
University faculty are responsible for facilitating the above course material.  Intentional efforts are made to connect theory with practice and to connect and build upon previous knowledge and experiences in the liberal studies as well as professional education.


If you are interested in participating in PDS or would like more information, contact:
For Lamoni, Iowa Campus Students 
Tanya Coffelt (
For Missouri, Independence Campus Students 
Allison Dudley (
School Districts In Partnership with Graceland:
Independence Campus
  • Grain Valley
  • Raytown

Lamoni Campus

  • Central Decatur
  • Mt Ayr
Your application for PDS will be accepted prior to being officially accepted to the Teacher Education program, however, you must be admitted to the Teacher Education program to participate in a PDS placement.  To check on your acceptance status, choose Enrollment Checklist     

The online application is available on the Apply for PDS page in the School of Education area of My Graceland. Read through the policies and requirements at the top of the page, then click the link at the bottom of the page to complete the online application. A copy of your application will go to your advisor for his/her approval. 

PDS Applications will be accepted during the following windows of opportunity: 
PDS Placement
  • Fall 2020 - Spring 2021 (Application open: March 1 - May 31, 2020)

Click Here to Apply for PDS  PDS Application