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Irmo High School joins USC Professional Development Schools Network

For Immediate Release – May 9, 2019



Irmo High School joins USC Professional Development School Network

IRMO – Irmo High School International School for the Arts has been selected to join the University of South Carolina Professional Development Schools (PDS) Network for the 2019-2020 academic year.


Schools in South Carolina must apply to the University of South Carolina and be approved through a rigorous review process before receiving the PDS designation.


“We are thrilled to join this network of schools and the University of South Carolina to enhance rich collaboration, best practice, and student achievement,” said Irmo High School principal Dr. Robin Hardy.  “We look forward to ongoing efforts of #partneringwithpurpose!"”


At the University of South Carolina, the Professional Development Schools Network has been a key part of the education preparation process for more than 28 years.  The University of South Carolina began sponsoring a PDS National Conference in March 2000. That initial event, held in Columbia, S.C., attracted nearly six hundred educators, prompting the university to sponsor annual national conferences and helping to establish the National Association of Professional Development Schools.  The network fosters a vibrant partnership for research and teacher preparation.


“Expanding the number of Professional Development Schools in School District Five is a logical extension of our PDS-D partnership,” said Dr. Cindy Van Buren, USC Assistant Dean for Professional Partnerships.  “We are so pleased that Irmo High School was selected to join the oldest Professional Development School network in the nation. By partnering with purpose, we can accomplish great outcomes for the teachers and students at Irmo High School. “


In 2017, School District Five Superintendent Dr. Christina Melton and USC officials met to discuss and develop the idea to become the first ever professional development school district (PDS-D) of its kind in the nation.  It became a reality in the 2018-2019 academic year.


“PDS-D is intended to wrap services to support the whole child, bringing in several colleges from the university into our schools,” Melton said.  “This will allow for laboratory learning, best practices, up-to-date research implementation and professional development led by specialist for our educators. We are honored to be the first PDS-D partnership of this kind in the nation.”


In School District Five, there already are four Professional Development Schools: Irmo Middle School, Oak Pointe Elementary School, Irmo Elementary School and Dutch Fork High School.  With the addition of Irmo High School and another school in Lexington School District Two, there will be 23 active PDS sites in six Midlands school districts next school year.