University of Delaware
Office of Public Relations
The Messenger
Vol. 5, No. 3/1996
Public school partnerships help train next generation of teachers

     The national educational reform effort is being directed
from within the University of Delaware by Frank B. Murray, H.
Rodney Sharp Professor of Educational Studies and Psychology and
a founding member of the Holmes Group, now the Holmes
     This organization, with Murray as interim president, is
committed to changing the teaching profession through widespread
restructuring within the nation's schools and colleges of
     The Holmes Partnership includes the National Education
Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the American
Association of School Administrators and the National Staff
Development Council, as well as colleges and universities across
the country.
     The partnership, which will officially begin operation July
1, requires universities interested in joining to bring with them
a professional development school-a "regular public school that
has taken on all of the modern reform goals."
     Moreover, the Holmes Partnership requires that these public
schools and their faculty "be partners in the training of
teachers, administrators and counselors, in an effort to help
build the next generation of educators.
     "Teaching experience is much better if gained on-site, in
the real world," Murray says, "and it works better if the
teachers in the real world are an integral part of the program."
     In addition, the schools may be asked to contribute to
scholarly literature in the field, Murray says.
     "This would require that a regular public school take on the
same role as a teaching hospital for medical students," he says.
     Two examples of such a professional development school
already exist in Delaware. Three UD education students currently
are completing a year-long master's program in the Thurgood
Marshall Elementary School, located in the Christina School
District in New Castle County, Del. These students have completed
their undergraduate work in education and are licensed teachers.
Their program at Marshall, says Murray, is "like a year's
     Though four core courses are taken on the University's
Newark campus, the balance of the students' work is completed in
the school.
     As part of their year at Marshall, the students are required
to complete a series of exercises, prepared by University faculty
and designed to link their activities to the standards of the
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, an
independent group in the Holmes Partnership working to develop
the notion of a board-certified teacher.
     To earn such certification, a teacher with at least three
years' experience would sit for a sort of clinical exam, in which
he or she would actually demonstrate the ability to teach, Murray
     The master's program for student teachers at Marshall
enables them to begin building a portfolio needed to sit for such
an exam.
     The University also has received a grant from the U.S.
Department of Education to develop an undergraduate teaching
program in southern Delaware. Currently in the development phase,
this program is being designed with the Lulu M. Ross Elementary
School in the Milford School District.
     Students enrolled in the program would complete two years in
the University Parallel Program at Delaware Technical and
Community College and would then spend their next two years at
the elementary school.
     Teachers at Ross will team up with University faculty via
electronic mail, videotapes and an interactive video classroom.
In the early stages, Ross teachers will act as "teaching
assistants" to UD faculty, Murray says, "with the expectation
that, eventually, the teachers at Ross will take over the
     Murray, former dean of the College of Education, says the
presidency of the Holmes Partnership is "very labor intensive,
but it's also exhilarating, for we are really inventing a whole
new field."
     The partnership currently has approximately 50 members, and
expects to add another 50 this year. Programs such as the Holmes
Scholar, an aggressive effort to recruit minority educators,
combined with the new instructional arrangements, are paving the
way for extensive educational reform, Murray says.
     Though Murray says he recognizes the extensive changes that
will be necessary to implement the partnership's programs on a
large scale, he says he feels confident about the strength of the
     "There is very great interest in the work of the Holmes
Partnership," he says, "and I'm sure our success will continue."
                                     -Kara Rupard, Delaware '96