Stallings, Wiseman, & Knight Partnerships and Parity

Stallings, J. A., Wiseman, D. L., & Knight, S. L. (1995). Professional development schools: A new generation of school-university partnerships. In H. G. Petrie (Ed.), Professionalization, partnership, and power: Building professional development schools (p. 133 - 144).

·      "Past efforts at reform in either schools or colleges of education have been initiated and implemented separately despite the seeming interconnectedness of the goals and needs of the two entities. For example, early laboratory schools, located primarily on college campuses, focused mainly on pre-service education, but were isolated from the public schools. As a result, lab schools lacked 'real world' relevance (p. 133)."

·      PDS involves simultaneous restructuring of both schools and colleges of education.

·      A focus on parity is a distinguishing characteristic between past partnership models and the PDS model. "The consistent focus on parity between schools and universities and the goal of a mutually beneficial reciprocity produces an entity that is very different from past models of school-university collaboration (p. 134)."

·      "The parity associated with a PDS, based on shared respect and joint decision making, exhibits the following characteristics: (1) The common goal of dual, simultaneous restructuring of schools and college curricula for preservice teachers and the expectation that mutual benefit will result from all joint activities form the basis for partnership. A shared vision of improving schooling for all participants undergirds all activities; (2) Power, authority, and decision making regarding the partnership are shared by participants and are based on consensus agreements. Implicit in the shared decision making is the empowerment of all participants; and (3) A commitment to collaborative inquiry and evaluation of the processes and products of the PDS is evident (p. 134)."


A Model for Simultaneous School-University Renewal

·      "While there are several ways that schools and universities can approach formation of a PDS, the process must embody the idea of shared, mutually beneficial, activity (p. 135)."

·      Recognition of a Shared Context

o   "Most universities and schools entering a partnership share a history of both formal and informal past interactions. For the most part, these activities are carried out with minimal interaction and collaboration between the institutions (p. 135)."

o   The authors note the importance of the context and recognize that any changes in the context will impact any of the other factors. They offer the following model for simultaneous renewal:

See model as image.









A Shared Vision of School-University Restructuring

o   Shared vision is at the center or core of PDS work.

o   "The intersection of commonalties forms the basis for a shared vision (p. 137)."

·      Establishment of Organization and Structure

o   "Each PDS must develop an organization and structure to support the ongoing activities initiated by schools and universities. As in other components of the process model, organization, structure, and decision making are based on parity between the two institutions (p. 137)."

o   An explicit agreement between the two institutions provides the framework for the development of the organization and its structure.

o   "While the context in which the partnership occurs and the nature of the shared vision of the partners has a great impact on the structural development of a PDS, it also influences the process and products. In addition to creating the structure and organization, the partners must identify common goals based on the vision and initiate activities to move them closer to their goals (p. 138)."

·      Shared Process and Products

o   "The shared processes and products include goals, activities, and outcomes associated with collaboration. While the processes and products associated with PDSs in general may have certain common characteristics across sites, they also will reflect the unique contexts of the two institutions (p. 138)."

·      Collaborative Inquiry

o   "The area of inquiry, research, and evaluation could potentially produce the greatest source of conflict in the collaboration (p. 139)."

o   The products of the partnership are often generated by the university contributors.

o   "The success of future generations of partnerships depends on systematic study of the patterns, promises, and pitfalls of those currently being implemented (p. 139)."

o   "Conceptualization of the inquiry process for PDSs must necessarily reflect parity and shared interests. Inquiry can no longer be viewed as the domain of the university alone or framed by outside parties conducting unrelated studies in schools. However, the compliation of anecdotal information with the unstated intent of validating the collaborative effort will also be counterproductive. In order to add to our knowledge of the process and outcomes of PDSs, the two partners are obligated to jointly participate in the design and implementation of studies to investigate the processes and outcomes at the school level, the university level, and the collaborative level (p. 139)."

·      The Interactive Nature of the Model

o   Dynamic, flexible, responsive to changes

·      The Houston Teaching Academy


Challenges to PDS Collaboration

1.     Danger of Superficiality

a.     In order to be considered a true PDS, the authors suggest that PDSs must have dual restructuring, shared vision, and parity.

b.     Collaborative inquiry can be a mechanism for identifying superficiality.

2.     Threat of Fragmentation

a.     PDSs need to have all elements of the model.

3.     Difficulties Due to Cultural Clash

a.     "Recognition of the differences and possible contributions that each entity can make is necessary in order to overcome the conflicts that will arise (p. 141)."


Challenging Traditional Notions of Leadership

·      Rethinking leadership roles: "College administrators must extend their leadership function to facilitate the school-university partnership necessary for joint renewal. School-university partnerships are labor intensive and require total commitment from those involved in the process. An administrator cannot mandate the commitment, but he or she must foster it (p. 142)."

·      University faculty might extend the domain and influence of their roles to include "...soliciting and encouraging input of school-based leaders and acting as a catalyst that promotes interaction and restructuring of both entities (p. 142)."

o   Ex. could include : more contact with school superintendents, involvement with pilot schools, reassignment of staff for partnership development, participation with principals, faculty, and college of education in developing a shared vision for the partnership

·      "Much interaction between schools and universities is necessary to promote the partnership. It may be sometimes necessary for university leaders to act as catalysts to enable two very different organizations to get together to accomplish joint restructuring (p. 142)."

·      These extended leadership roles include keeping the shared vision that may get lost in the daily activities of partnership work.




·      The Homes Group, (1990). Tomorrow's schools: Principles for the design of professional development schools. East Lansing, MI: Author.

·      Stallings, J., & Kowalski, T. (1990). Research on professional development schools. In W. R. Houston (Ed.), Handbook of research on teacher education (pp. 251-263). New York: Macmillan.