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BYU Honored for Improving Learning and Teaching in Home and Community

October 2012

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Long-standing BYU partnership honored as exemplary
The Brigham Young University — Public School Partnership (BYU-PSP), which includes the David O. McKay School of Education, five nearby public school districts, and the arts and sciences colleges at BYU, was honored recently by the National Association of Professional Development Schools (NAPDS).

The BYU-PSP simultaneously improves preparation of teachers and learning in public schools. It has functioned effectively for 28 years, since 1984, and during that time it has affected more than one-third of Utah’s public school students.

Several years ago the president of a national association of educators said that BYU’s partnership was the best example of a university and public school partnership in the nation: “If you want to learn how to make partnerships work,” he said “go visit BYU.”

Thousands have benefited
The scope of the BYU partnership is unusual for its size and longevity. Steven Baugh, BYU-PSP executive director says: “Most partnerships work with two or three schools, and graduates of the education college are encouraged to go to those few schools. In comparison, our partnership is with five school districts — that’s hundreds of schools. Our partnership impacts many more people and provides for a wider distribution of interns and student teachers.”

Baugh says the partnership positively affects K-12 students and the BYU students who participate.

Steve Leatham, former coordinator of the partnership for the Wasatch School District, says of the partnership’s longevity: “Superintendents come and go. Deans come and go. But the relationships and connections of our organizations will always be there, independent of personalities. There will always be that renewing spirit, and it will always be evolving to meet the common problems that partners encounter.”

Over time the partnership has proven its founding belief: good schools require good teachers, and preparing good teachers requires good schools.

Lynnette Christensen of the McKay School says, “It’s a wonderful honor to receive a national award like this.”

And Baugh adds, “This award is a chance for us to let people see the good work that we do.”

Christensen explains that only four NAPDS Awards for Exemplary Professional Development School Achievement were given in 2012. Additionally, she says that it’s rare for a partnership to be awarded on its first year of application like the BYU-PSP was.