Salisbury University has earned national recognition for its collaborative partnerships with Snow Hill Elementary School. Newswise — The University was honored with the 2017 Exemplary Professional Development School (PDS) Achievement Award from the National Association of Professional Development Schools (NAPDS). The award applauds outstanding school-university partnerships that shape current and future educators. Only three such efforts nationwide were recognized. Those involved with the SU-Snow Hill program say its teaching interns are exceptionally well prepared. Snow Hill Principal Mary Anne Cooper said: “I know they are absolutely ready to handle any situation that a first-year teacher has to face.” SU senior Julia Pendola, an elementary education major from Bayport, NY, was a first-grade intern at Snow Hill last fall. She said: “I was able to truly see myself as a teacher. I was given the same responsibilities and expectations as the faculty. The opportunity showed me all of the hats that a teacher must wear and how to handle situations that arise on a daily basis. The school provided me with knowledge that makes me feel prepared to go into my own classroom in just a few months.” SU and the University of South Carolina also are the only two campuses in the nation to receive the Achievement Award more than once. (SU has been honored three times.) SU also is the only non-research one university to earn national recognition for its PDS partnerships at the elementary, middle and high school levels.This year, NAPDS applauded SU and Snow Hill for working together to create “an environment for innovation and the cultivation of new ideas,” leading to outstanding teacher preparation. The award committee added: “This is an excellent partnership that is very well established and has shown to be very positive for elementary students and teacher candidates.” In 2015, SU was recognized for partnerships with Mardela Middle and High School; in 2011, connections with Worcester County Public Schools were spotlighted. In addition, SU won a NAPDS Spirit of Partnership Award in 2009. For over 15 years, SU’s PDS network has enabled students to begin their teaching working with public school students. Currently, 36 schools in seven counties are partners. “Dedicated faculty and staff in our Teacher Education and Education Specialties departments are key to the success of our PDS network – and of our students once they are out in their classrooms,” said Dr. Kelly Fiala, interim dean of the Samuel W. and Marilyn C. Seidel School of Education and Professional Studies. The award was presented in Washington, D.C., at the annual NAPDS conference. Representing SU were Dr. Keith Conners and Nancy Nibblett, longtime and current Snow Hill liaisons; PDS Coordinator Sara Elburn; Field Experience Coordinator Paul Gasior; Seidel Associate Dean Althea Pennerman; Teacher Education Department Chair Chin-Hsiu Chen; Dr. Jon Andes of the Education Specialties Department; and several student interns. From Snow Hill, Cooper, site coordinators Clara Outten and Beth Shockley-Lynch, teacher Jennifer Spivey and guidance counselor Laverne Cray were joined by Worcester County Superintendent Lou Taylor. Attending the conference were seven SU faculty and staff, 13 undergraduate and graduate students, and nine public school partners. According to NAPDS, professional development schools prepare future educators, provide current educators with professional development, explore education-related issues and promote P-12 student learning. For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU website at /eof