• School of Education - Middle Road Professional Development School

    The former dean of the School of Education, Dr. Lynn Romeo, faculty members, and a University Supervisor met with Hazlet Superintendent Dr. William George, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bernard Bragen, Jr., Curriculum Director Dr. Jill Takacs, Principal Mrs. Loretta Zimmer, and Middle Road School teachers to develop a mission statement and goals for the Middle Road Professional Development School.

    Mission Statement

    The Professional Development School established by the Monmouth University School of Education and the Middle Road School (Hazlet Township) is a learning-centered community that endeavors to collaboratively promote and sustain:

    1. Effective teaching and learning experiences which focus on the achievement of our students (pre K -16).
    2. Mutual responsibility for the preparation of teacher candidates.
    3. Professional growth opportunities for pre-service and in-service teachers, university faculty, and administrators
    4. Inquiry, research, reflection, and “best practices.”

    PDS Belief Statements

    Our PDS partners share a common vision of effective teaching and learning grounded in research and best practice. Furthermore, we believe that:

    • We are a professional learning community dedicated to the success of all our students and faculty.
    • Student learning is the main focus of our collaborative work.
    • Continuous, high quality professional development positively impacts student learning.
    • We have a shared responsibility to the high quality preparation of future educators.
    • Our mutual focus on inquiry, reflection, innovation, and “best practices” will result in increased student achievement.

    Goals for 2013-2014

    1. Initiate the Monmouth Marvelous Mentors' Program.
    2. Develop and use the Middle Road Student Teaching Application for Monmouth University students.
    3. Invite teachers and administrators from other schools and districts to visit PDS.
    4. Require the student teachers at Middle Road to use the Danielson model in their teaching and learning.
    5. Continue to supervise the student teachers and lead the seminars (mentor teachers).
    6. Continue to use university resources (students) to support after-school sessions for Middle Road students who are struggling with learning.
    7. Continue to enhance our communication efforts through shared language, newsletters, technology, and other means.
    8. Continue to provide mentor teachers with the opportunity to participate in the "matching" of student teachers and early field candidates with mentor teachers.
    9. Continue to examine research and "best practices" to add to our "toolbox."
    10. Continue on-site "methods courses" at Middle Road School during the time classes are in session.
    11. Continue the penpal project using iPads.
    12. Update the PDS handbook for teacher candidates and university faculty annually.
    13. Continue to provide an orientation scavenger hunt for teacher candidates.
    14. Continue the teacher candidate legacy project.

    What's Going On at Middle Road PDS

    In September 2013, an orientation was provided by Christine Grabowski to all Monmouth University students to welcome them to the PDS.  Additionally, they took part in a scavenger hunt to become familiar with the building.  They were provided with a handbook outlining procedures and information pertinent to the MU students.

    Monmouth's Marvelous Mentors was new to Middle Road this year. Eighteen Monmouth students volunteered to mentor 18 Middle Road School students. The university students made a short visit to their mentee twice a week. Additionally, they wrote together in a shared journal. The goal of the program is to improve elementary students' math and literacy skills, as well as provide them with support and encouragement to achieve in school. A home/school connection was made with two evening events. A Thanksgiving party, along with a holiday party in December, was attended by Monmouth University mentors and Middle Road students with their families. We are currently planning a trip with the MRS mentees to visit the campus with the mentors to encourage them to work to achieve, and hopefully attend college in the future.

     MRPDS Holiday Party

    Pen Pals - Dr. Groff's Literacy students participated in the pen pal project with 2 third grade classes. The program will continue in the spring semester with Dr. Kim and Professor Mitchell's Social Studies Methods classes.

     MRPDS Pen Pal  MRPDS Pen Pal 2  MRPDS Pen Pal 3

    Tutoring - After school tutoring continues to be a successful program at MRS. Dr. Groff's students tutored twice a week throughout the course of the semester. Dr. Kim's students will be tutoring in the Spring 2014 semester.

    COMING SOON: Dr. Kim, Dr. Varygiannes, and Professor Mitchell will be working collaboratively with Christine Grabowski to host Colonial Day. This will be held on April 10, 2014.

    PDS Newsletters

    April 2013

    April 2012

    March 2011

    November 2010

    June 2010

    March 2010

    Middle Road PDS Field Experience Handbook

    IN THE NEWS: The Pen Pal Project

    Monmouth University works very closely with the PDS – we have enjoyed participating as members of the school culture. Dr. Mary Lee Bass has been connected to Middle Road School since 2008 when the district began an early intervention program for Kindergarten, first grade, and second students. Additionally, Dr. Bass worked with the 3rd grade teachers on Writers Workshop for the entire spring 2011 semester.

    In fall 2011, the undergraduate cohort candidates were enrolled in Dr. Bass and Dr. Groff’s content literacy course at the Middle Road School. The students became instantly connected and they commented often about how warm and embracing the faculty were. We were all pleased the faculty/staff reached out so quickly and so often to the undergraduate teacher candidates from Monmouth. Each semester, the teacher candidates enjoy a professional relationship with their host teacher and the opportunity to work in that classroom across eight weeks of the semester.

    During the fall, Dr. Bass and Mrs. Christine Grabowski, a third grade teacher, discovered another way to work together. They had planned a year ahead how they would create a Pen Pal Project between the University teacher candidates and the third grade students. It was an extraordinary experience. The Pen Pal Project went beyond the writing back and forth---they decided to have the students (3rd grade and university candidates) meet approximately 4 times across the semester. They established topics and the teams engaged in shared writing. They all enjoyed the shared readings of these special connections. Further, they wrote letters to the soldiers in Afghanistan and the 3rd grade classroom mailed our letters with theirs. Of course everyone enjoyed a spectacular closing to this initiative when the farewell sharing occurred. The 3rd grade students lavished us with dessert and the very best readings of their "thank you masterpieces." And they made gifts of their writings to all.

    The faculty have been very welcoming, and they make sure it is a comfortable environment even when we bring/share School of Education data at their faculty meetings. Our School of Education has helped to build a professional library for the PDS by donating many professional books for teacher use.

    Monmouth University Course Welcomed

    by Middle Road School

    In fall 2010, Monmouth University School of Education started an exciting partnership with Middle Road School in Hazlet. The undergraduate teacher candidates enrolled in EDL 327: Literacy Instruction in Educational Settings II and ED 361: Methods of Teaching Science completed nearly 40 hours of fieldwork for those courses in Middle Road School classrooms. In addition, the EDL 327 course was held in the Middle Road Library at 2 p.m. on Thursday afternoons. This course explored the comprehension, writing, and vocabulary components of content area instruction, as well as technology integration and best practices in teaching diverse students. In addition, the teacher candidates tutored Middle Road students so they can practice applying the instructional strategies they learned in their courses. Immediately after tutoring, the students were provided with feedback as to their use of instructional strategies during the sessions.

    The opportunity to apply best practices in a clinical setting prior to student teaching is critical in teacher education and is part of a national agenda in reforming teacher education, so this was a significant opportunity for the teacher candidates. We received a grand welcome from the Middle Road faculty and students, and would like to extend our deep appreciation to Mrs. Zimmer, the teachers, and the students for allowing us to use the library and participate in the life of the school.

    Hazlet Immigration Day

    by Jiwon Kim


    In Spring 2011, Dr. Jiwon Kim and her students in ED 362 Elementary Social Studies Methods course met at Middle Road Elementary School in Hazlet, having authentic field experiences. After learning about teaching methods in class, the candidates had an opportunity to apply the knowledge by helping the elementary students with social studies homework and reading social studies themed trade books through five tutoring sessions, which were part of the course. On April 5, they were also participated in the school’s Immigration Day event, “COMING TO AMERICA” for 3rd and 4th graders. All candidates played the Ellis Island immigration officers. Middle Road school students were truly engaged in learning their own cultures and history of the country. Monmouth University candidates received excellent feedback from the school, parents, and community. Above all, through the experience, our candidates learned firsthand what it takes to organize such an event and how they will be able to effectively teach social studies to their future students.

    Hazlet Township Public School District

    By Linda Foster

    Hazlet Director of Curriculum Jill Takacs and Monmouth University Mentoring Coordinator Linda Foster have been collaborating on a series of workshops for the district focusing on teachers as educational leaders. Sessions have explored the role of teacher leaders in mentoring student teachers, facilitating parental workshops and seminars for novice teachers, participating in school-based professional learning communities, serving on the Professional Academy Board and Intervention and Referral committees, and presenting Master Teacher Innovation Labs. The teacher leaders have analyzed research on leadership, reviewed National Board Certification, and discussed personalized professional development projects including action research, peer coaching, and book studies. Teacher leaders have presented sessions to their colleagues on collaborative teaching and classroom environment. They will share ideas for future projects at a culminating meeting in May.

    View the PowerPoint: Teacher Mentors; Teacher Leaders

    Professional Development


    New Orleans PDS Conference 2011

    Along with hundreds of educators from all over the United States, representatives from the Monmouth University/Middle Road School PDS participated in the 2011 Professional Development Conference in New Orleans in March. There were a variety of workshops and presentations sharing best practice ideas, and discussing challenges that Professional Development Schools face. There were also many opportunities to share experiences and interact with other universities and school districts.

    “Engaging All Constituents in Year Two Goals of PDS” was the title of the concurrent session that was presented. It was comprised of members from the Monmouth University/Middle Road School Steering Committee: Dr. William George, Dr. Jill Takacs, Mrs. Loretta Zimmer, and Mrs. Christine Grabowski from Hazlet Township Public Schools, and Dean Lynn Romeo and Dr. Harvey Allen from Monmouth University. The panel shared with the audience their “lessons learned” during their initial PDS year. Reflecting upon the challenges and successes of their first year in a PDS relationship also allowed the steering committee to evaluate what has been accomplished and what we need to do in the future.

    Overall, the conference was an excellent opportunity for our PDS to learn from other partnerships and find ways to improve and grow. Additionally, by sharing our experience as a newly formed PDS, we were able to assist other partnerships as they begin their journey and create their own PDS.

    Harvey Allen also presented at the National Association of Professional Development Conference. He presented “The Barnegat/Monmouth Connection – A High School Redesign”. Tiffany Eberle, the High School Assistant Principal for Barnegat, also presented with him. They talked about how the partnership had been established to support the high school and the professional development team in its redesign efforts.

    Article from the
    Monmouth University-Middle Road School PDS Newsletter, March 2011

    2010 Professional Development Conference


    Along with hundreds of educators from all over the world, representatives from the Monmouth University/Middle Road School PDS participated in the 2010 Professional Development Conference in Orlando, Florida this past March. It’s always enlightening to hear how others are handling challenges similar to the ones we face, and this conference was no exception. There were a host of workshops and presentations addressing significant issues and challenges unique to the work involving Professional Development Schools. There were also many opportunities to share experiences and interact with other universities and school districts. Additionally, the Monmouth University/Middle Road PDS presented their work in two different sessions.

    The first session involved a panel discussion comprised of members from the Monmouth University/Middle Road School Steering Committee: Dr. Bernie Bragen; Dr. Jill Takacs and Mrs. Loretta Zimmer from Hazlet Township Public Schools; and Dean Lynn Romeo, Dr. Harvey Allen, Mrs. Kathleen Corriero, and Dr. Joseph Corriero from Monmouth University. The topic was Beyond Transition – Year 1: Obstacles, Challenges, and Successes in Our First PDS. The panel shared with the audience their "lessons learned" during their initial PDS year. Reflecting upon the challenges and successes of their first year in a PDS relationship also allowed the steering committee to evaluate what has been accomplished and what we need to do in the future.

    The second session, Planning and Learning Together in a PDS: Teacher Interns, Cooperating Teachers, and UBD was presented by Kathy and Joe Corriero. This presentation highlighted the seminars they facilitated at Middle Road School for student teachers and their cooperating teachers. Using the “Backward Design” unit planning model promoted by Wiggins and McTighe, the Corriero’s engaged the participants in rich discussions of effective teaching and learning. The seminar experience was cited as an example of the type of joint work in a PDS that benefits all participants. Hand-outs were provided for the audience explaining the content and processes of each of the four seminars.


    In September 2009, Monmouth University and the Hazlet Township Public Schools held a reception to celebrate the initiation of our first Professional Development School (PDS) at the Middle Road School in Hazlet. A PDS brings together university and school-based faculty to share the responsibility for the preparation of new teachers, the professional development of experienced faculty, and the support of research directed at improving practice and enhancing student learning.