Professing Education


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.