Why is there is an intern in my child's class?
If you just found out there is an intern in your child's class here is a little information to help you understand the Professional Development School experience.
First, all interns are Penn State seniors majoring in education. The senior interns had many student teaching options; including an urban experience in Philadelphia, student teaching abroad, or student teaching at various locations throughout Pennsylvania. The interns in State College decided to apply and were accepted for the PDS experience. Interns participating in the PDS agree to abide by the State College Area School District school calendar. That means their internship is a year long experience, not a semester long as others might be. They begin their internship year two weeks before the opening of school and stay after they graduate in May to see the ending of the school year. Because the PDS experience is significantly different than other options we refer to the Penn State students as interns rather than student teachers.
The mentors are all highly qualified veteran teachers who voluntarily invite student interns into their classrooms. Mentors become teacher educators by sharing the wisdom of practice with interns throughout the year. In addition, mentor teachers frequently plan and co-teach several of Penn State courses the interns will complete during the year. Many of the mentor teachers have presented at national conferences, sharing their expertise with others.
Professional Development Associates (PDAs) are supervisors who work with interns and their mentors. Some PDAs are university educators working with interns during methods classes. Other PDAs are released State College Area School District teachers who have been temporarily reassigned to work with the PDS. Still other PDAs are Penn State graduate students working in the field in teacher leadership and collaborative research. Finally, some PDAs are retired teachers continuing to contribute to the field of education.