The Southern Maine Partnership and Teacher
Education: An Introduction to the Volume
Lynne Miller and David Ruff
Executive Directors, Southern Maine Partnership
The Southern Maine Partnership is a school-university collaboration
that has linked schools and university in support of student learners
since 1985. With offices on the Gorham campus of the University
of Southern Maine (USM), the Partnership has grown from a group
of six school districts to a membership of 36 school districts
and USM. Our membership represents over one-third of the public
school students and teachers in the state and is the major site
for teacher education and leadership development in the region.
Member districts pay minimal annual dues and agree to participate
in Partnership conversations, activities and projects; to contribute
to a developing knowledge base; to share information and practices;
and to collaborate in pre-service and ongoing educator development
programs. The university contributes one half of a faculty load
to Partnership work, provides office space and general support
and assistance. The Partnership is an integral part of the College
of Education and Human Development and the university at large.
Its staff serves on the College's Dean's Advisory Council and
its Professional Development Center's Governing Board, as well
as on the University's Teacher Education Council.
The Partnership's mission has evolved over time, changing as
new issues emerged, new concerns and needs developed, and as the
policy context required new forms of action. What has remained
constant over time is the Partnership's firm commitment to its
values of participation, reciprocity, democracy and collaborative
inquiry. An original member of John Goodlad's National Network
for Education Renewal, the Partnership still strives for "the
simultaneous renewal of schools and the education of educators"
by linking school renewal and teacher development in every aspect
of its work. The major goal of the Partnership is best expressed
as creating and sustaining a culture of educator and school development
with the goal of ensuring all students an equitable, personalized,
and rigorous education that prepares them for further education,
work, and citizenship.
This issue of Professing Education focuses on the Partnership's
contributions to teacher education writ large. It is divided into
two major sections: Pre-Service and Education and A Broader View
of Teacher Education. Each section begins with an article by the
editors that contextualizes the work and is followed by pieces,
written by University of Southern Maine faculty and Southern Maine
Partnership staff, that more fully describe programs and activities.