Innovation at SUNY Buffalo State: Robust PDS Consortium

The Innovations Inventory of AACTE’s Innovation Exchange is an online database highlighting members’ pioneering practices in educator preparation that have shown a positive impact on issues of student learning, preparation program advancement, or educator workforce needs. This blog post is one in a series highlighting entries from the inventory. For more information, contact Zach VanHouten at

The award-winning Professional Development School (PDS) Consortium based at the State University of New York College at Buffalo (Buffalo State) offers a supportive cohort community for teacher candidates, minigrants for action research in the schools, and even international partner settings. This clinically rich network, founded in 1991, has evolved in alignment with frameworks including the 2001 NCATE PDS Standards, the National Association of Professional Development Schools Nine Essentials, and the 2012 NCATE Blue Ribbon Panel report.

The program groups student teachers in cohorts of four to seven candidates who move together through clinical settings, course work, and support discussions, all guided by a common supervisor who spends 2 days each week with them in the school building.

Minigrants of $2,000 fund action research in the partner schools to support best practice and address local challenges. An annual retreat and conference brings together the myriad partners in the network, which include other local colleges and organizations as well as dozens of PDS sites and Buffalo State, and provides grantees an opportunity to share their research.

In addition to a variety of sites throughout New York, the consortium has added international service-learning sites for student teachers in Chile, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Italy, and Zambia.

The consortium is active in the National Association of Professional Development Schools and received that organization’s 2011 Award for Exemplary PDS Achievement.

To learn more about Buffalo State or other institutions participating in the Innovations Inventory, visit

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