Institute for
Educational Inquiry

Center for
Educational Renewal

National Network for
Educational Renewal

Agenda for Education
in a Democracy

Agenda para la Educacion
en una Democracia

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Board of Directors


Institute for Educational Inquiry
124 East Edgar Street
Seattle, WA 98102
Tel: (206) 325-3010

Partner School Compact


Partner Schools in the National Network for Educational Renewal (NNER) share a commitment to the twenty postulates, nineteen of which were first enumerated by John I. Goodlad in Teachers for Our Nation's Schools. Each of these postulates has a bearing on the way partner schools are created and operated, with the fifteenth postulate speaking most directly to the subject:

postulate fifteen
Programs for the education of educators must assure for each candidate the availability of a wide array of laboratory settings for simulation, observation, hands-on experiences, and exemplary schools for internships and residencies; they must admit no more students to their programs than can be assured these quality experiences.

Shared Beliefs

In addition to the twenty postulates, NNER settings share common values that influence the way in which they approach their overall mission of simultaneous renewal of schools and the education of educators. These shared beliefs include the following:

  • Partner schools of the NNER assure that all learners have equitable access to knowledge.

  • Partner schools recognize and honor diversity, commit to multicultural curricula and culturally responsive practice, prepare individuals for active participation in a democratic society, and promote social justice.

  • Partner schools contribute to the growth of students as citizens in a democratic society, as contributors to a healthy economy, and as fully human individuals versed in the arts and ideas that help them take advantage of their talents. In short, they are schools prepared to enculturate learners for participation in a democratic society.

  • Partner schools enable educators to make educational decisions with students and other stakeholders.
  • Partners create educative communities that seek to develop a more just and sustainable society.

Four Purposes

Whether called Professional Development Schools, Centers for Teaching and Learning, or by some other name, NNER partner schools are not an end but a means by which schools and universities seek to accomplish four purposes:

Purpose 1: Educate Children and Youths
Purpose 2: Prepare Educators
Purpose 3: Provide Professional Development
Purpose 4: Conduct Inquiry

In what follows, the general expectations are arranged in relation to the four major purposes of partner schools. School and university educators from the NNER settings met on four occasions and helped to develop the following general expectations and associated examples. The term "university-based educators" includes representatives from arts and science as well as from colleges, schools, and departments of education.

As partner schools in NNER settings develop, they will use these guidelines to help them determine how well they are accomplishing each of the four major purposes, how consistent their work is with the postulates, and whether their work is really guided by the set of shared values.

Each NNER setting is unique. Consequently, during the next five years no two settings are likely to make the same amount of progress. Nevertheless, the settings have agreed that these expectations will assist them in assessing growth. They expect to renegotiate the contents of this document from time to time so it can serve as a dynamic guide to difficult work.

Purpose 1 : Educate Children and Youths

Learning Community:
Partners communicate in such a way as to create a learning community.

Parents, community members, educators, and students commit to life-long learning.

Equity and Excellence:
Partners seek equity and excellence for all enrolled students and other members of the learning community.


Partners assure that the curriculum and instruction of the partner school help students achieve common, high expectations.

Partners assure access to learning by all students.

Partners work so that differences in student achievement are not associated with factors such as race, gender, or social class.

Written descriptions of curriculum in partner schools reveal high expectations in keeping with local, state, and national standards.

Classroom observations in partner schools reveal that educators make effective use of a variety of instructional techniques.

Students develop a variety of learning strategies such as problem framing and questioning in order to construct meaning.

NNER settings demonstrate progress in implementing alternatives to tracking of students in partner schools.

Partners use best practices to assess student performance.

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Purpose 2 : Prepare Educators

Educator preparation programs in partner schools are based on continuous collaboration among partners to assure that the partner school is an integral part of the total preparation programs.


Partners communicate a common vision of the goals and purposes of the partner school in written and oral communications about the school.

Partners deal regularly with essential linkages between what happens at the partner school and the campus-based segments of the education preparation program.

NNER settings share meeting minutes which demonstrate growing collaboration concerning partner schools.

NNER settings demonstrate through testimony of preservice candidates and school and university faculty that the work in the partner schools is an extension of work which occurs on campus.

Pedagogy, Curriculum, and Attitudes:
Partner schools help preservice teachers construct the pedagogical skills, curriculum knowledge, and attitudes necessary to educate all learners.


Preservice teachers' experiences are based on a shared understanding among school and university-based educators of current best practices in classroom teaching and learning.

Preservice teachers integrate theory and practice as they plan and carry out classroom instruction.

Preservice teachers develop the ability to apply the wide variety of instructional techniques and strategies required to help students with differing learning styles and backgrounds.

Observations in partner schools reveal that sound learning theories and best practices are integrated into the everyday life of the students.

Observations, interviews, and course descriptions reveal that campus-based courses and partner school learning activities for preservice teachers exemplify the conditions of learning the prospective teachers will be expected to create in their future classrooms.

Academic Knowledge:
Partners exhibit knowledge of relevant academic disciplines from the arts and sciences.


Preservice teachers in partner schools participate in a general education that enables them to enter into the human conversation.

Preservice teachers demonstrate appropriate proficiency in those disciplines they are expected to teach.

Preservice teachers have the pedagogical content knowledge needed to link student learning to the key elements of the major disciplines.

Faculty from arts and sciences and education work with faculty from the schools in continuous renewal of the substance of the curriculum in partner schools.

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Purpose 3 : Provide Professional Development

Collaboration and Student Needs Driven:
Professional development for educators is collaboratively defined and is based on the diverse needs of students to be served by the educators.


Observation of school and university-based educators who work with partner schools reveal instructional practices consistent with professional development collaboratively derived from analysis of the need of students in the partner school.

Professional development builds the capacity of educators to engage in school-centered renewal.

Professional development links theory, research, and practice.

Special Needs:
Professional development helps professionals work with special needs students.

Professional development helps educators understand how professionals from various fields can best work together as part of an “educative community.”

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Purpose 4 : Conduct Inquiry

Critical Social Inquiry:
Partners engage in critical social inquiry concerning school and teacher practices.


Partners collaborate in action research groups using such categories as race, class, gender, and/or ethnicity as frameworks for analysis of school curriculum and instructional practices.

Partners share examples of critical social inquiry regarding their school and the broader community of which it is a part.

Reflective Practice:
Partners engage in reflective practice as a means of generating continuous improvement of education in the partner school.


Adults and children in the partner school generate questions about teaching and learning, gather information, develop practices, and assess the consequences of those practices on student learning.

Preservice teachers (as others at the setting) reflect upon classroom experience with other preservice teachers and their university and campus-based teachers and mentors.

School and university-based educators use reflective practice in order to grow professionally.
The results of such reflection are used to inform school practice and educator preparation.

Inquiry as Scholarship:
Partners use the partner school as a setting for scholarly examination of professional practice.


Partners conduct inquiry in accordance with norms of scholarly research, including review by and discussion with colleagues.

Results of scholarly inquiry at the partner school are disseminated through such vehicles as conference presentations, scholarly journals, videotapes, professional development workshops, and infusion into college curricula.

Representatives from each setting within the NNER publish scholarly examinations of professional practice conducted by school and university-based educators at partner schools.

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Sufficient Resources:
Partner schools are supported by sufficient people, time, and money.


University and school faculty responsible for conducting teacher preparation programs are allocated sufficient time for planning, conducting, and assessing such programs.

Sufficient numbers of well-qualified school and university-based educators enable the partner school to accomplish its responsibilities related to teacher preparation, professional development, inquiry, and the education of P-12 students.

Necessary and sufficient support is provided for professional development, including time, peer support, and opportunity for reflection.

Collaborative work engaged in by all partners will be weighted equitably in connection with all personnel decisions including compensation.

Sufficient supplies and equipment support the learning of P-12 students and preservice teachers at the partner school.

Comparisons of partner schools with non-partner schools at NNER settings reveal that the partner schools have the time, staff, and money required by the multiple purposes they are expected to accomplish.

A short version of this document which highlights the major purposes and expectations is also available from the Center for Educational Renewal.


Written by Richard W. Clark and Donna Hughes, May 15, 1993

Revised: May 12, 1994; October 30, 1994; January 3, 1995


For more information on partner schools, please see our NNER Partner School Portraits, Programs, and Publications pages.

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