As a result of their exemplary work, the BYU–Public School Partnership was awarded the Exemplary Partnership Award by the National Association for Professional Development Schools (NAPDS) in February 2020. This great honor provided them with the opportunity to present a virtual keynote address at the NAPDS national conference in March 2021, allowing them to share insights they have learned from the Partnership over the years.
The keynote address for the award featured Mary Anne Prater, dean of the David O. McKay School of Education; Gary Seastrand, executive director of the Partnership; and John Rosenberg, BYU associate academic vice president for undergraduate studies. The three focused on the concept of renewal, and specifically how the members of the BYU–Public School Partnership have been able to renew one another through mutual improvement for almost four decades. Dean Prater noted that the relationships between the McKay School and the superintendents from the five school districts are amazing. Members of the Partnership meet once a month, enabling them to facilitate smooth and productive relationships with each other.
According to Rosenberg, the members’ unwavering commitment to a few foundational principles is the basis of the partnership’s success. Seastrand agreed: “Bringing these systems together takes a lot of work; it isn’t without intentionality. If you approach it that whatever may be, may be, you will not have a strong partnership. It requires effort, it requires diligence, and it requires dedication.”
Zoom audience members noted the work that has gone into the Partnership, as well as their success, with this comment in the chat, “This leadership development and sustainability plan is incredible! You have to work at it!”
NAPDS is a leading national organization created in 2005 to support professional development schools. The association’s mission is to advance the education profession by providing leadership, advocacy, and support to sustain professional development schools as learning communities that improve student learning, prepare educators through clinical practice, provide reciprocal professional development, and conduct shared inquiry.
The BYU–Public School Partnership, formed in 1984, works to improve public education systems and combines the effort of three groups: the David O. McKay School of Education, the arts and sciences colleges and departments at BYU that help prepare secondary teachers, and five public school districts in Utah. The partnership fosters an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect and drives positive change in teacher education and student learning at both the university and public-school levels.
Writer: Adeline Yorgason
Contact: Cynthia Glad