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About Us

What is the Secondary English Professional Development School?

  • The Secondary English Professional Development School (PDS) is a partnership between The Penn State College of Education and State College Area School District.
  • This program provides a year-long internship with a mentor teacher in a secondary English classroom and university course requirements that are built around your experiences in the classroom.
  • Courses that meet the requirements for secondary English PA teaching certification, including student teaching, are embedded into the program.


  • The PDS is comprised of a unique collaboration between four sets of people: secondary school students, English teachers (mentors), university personnel, and teacher candidates (interns).
  • The intern group includes both undergraduate seniors from Penn State and graduate students who usually hold a B.A. in English or a closely related field. 
  • Graduate students in the PDS include recent Penn State alum from all commonwealth campuses as well as students from a range of backgrounds and locations who choose PDS as a path to teaching certification and a master’s degree.



  • The application process begins October 1 for the following academic school year, and candidates are accepted on an ongoing basis until all internship positions are filled.  Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to submit their applications in October of their junior year to ensure that they have a decision in time to adjust their spring course schedule accordingly.
  • Interns enroll as a full-time student in the Fall and Spring semesters, and take 1-3 additional credits during Summer Session I.

Why PDS?

  • The outstanding partnership of the Penn State – SCASD Secondary English PDS provides collaborative experiential learning in a supportive and challenging program for future teachers.
  • Interns have the opportunity to work closely with district personnel, high school students, and college faculty to develop their identities as teachers and to build knowledge about teaching and learning.
  • During the internship, graduate students complete teaching certification requirements along with all or most of the requirements to earn an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction.*

 “I've always known that I wanted to be a teacher, but it wasn't until I started talking to college advisors that I found out how many ways there are to become certified. Penn State's PDS was my number 1 choice because I knew that it would best mimic what my actual career would look like. PDS gave me a full practice run before the race!  PDS is beneficial because is not only prepares future educators for life inside the classroom, but also the many tasks that teachers attend to outside of actually teaching. From Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) to IEP meetings, PDS interns do it all!” 
Megan Krusel
BA, English with Honors, class of 2017, Penn State Behrend
MEd, Curriculum and Instruction, class of 2018, Penn State University Park

*Note: An individual review of transcripts is necessary to determine additional courses graduate students may need for certification. Graduate students are typically able to seek teaching positions for the following year and usually graduate with the M.Ed. degree in the summer semester or shortly after.