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Three Clay County Schools Named UNF Professional Development Schools

The University of North Florida’s College of Education and Human Services Department announced that Grove Park Elementary School, Orange Park Junior High School, and Orange Park High School, have been awarded the status of UNF Development Schools.

These three schools were the first schools selected within Clay County based on a nationally recognized, rigorous review process. This mutually beneficial learning partnership between GPES, OPJHS & OPHS and the University of North Florida will design and implement a variety of innovative systems and processes to:

  • impact student achievement and growing the teaching field through real world application
  • support students, teachers and prospective teachers towards success
  • engage teachers in their own personal and professional development

“Like teaching hospitals that bring excellence to medicine, professional development schools bring excellence to teachers, teacher candidates, and K-12 student success. We are thrilled to be partnering with Clay County to collaboratively develop Grove Park Elementary School, Orange Park Junior High School and Orange Park High School as places where all stakeholders learn together and improve practice for students,” said UNF College of Education and Human Services Dean, Dr. Diane Yendol-Hoppey.

Dr. Hoppey is considered a national expert in the field of Professional Development Schools and has published four books and over 50 articles on the topic. UNF staff, including Dr. Lauren Gibbs (Program Lead), Dr. Matthew Ohlson (Faculty in Residence) and Shelly Lester and Easter Brown (Resident Clinical Faculty members) will be working collaboratively with CCDS school and district staff to offer comprehensive support throughout this exciting process.

“Clay County District Schools is proud to launch the Professional Development School partnership with the University of North Florida. UNF brings rich, relevant, and proven strategies and knowledge on how to improve teaching and learning, and we stand prepared as an active participant within the Orange Park feeder pattern. I look forward to building the capacity of current educators while working with UNF to establish a cohort of future teachers that will assist with elevating Clay County,” said Superintendent Addison Davis.

The Clay/UNF PDS schools will be recognized at an upcoming “Education Innovation” Awards Ceremony at the University of North Florida on December 17, 2018. UNF is also collecting data from this mutually beneficial partnership to share the best practices at national and state conferences including the National Professional Development Schools Conference, FASA (Florida Association of School Administrators) Annual Conference and the Florida League of Middle Schools Conference. UNF envisions this partnership will serve as a national exemplar for school district and University collaboration.