young child planting something iwth the help of an adult

Professional Development Schools

Working Today to Change the Schools of Tomorrow for 25+ years

Not only do our partner schools welcome our pre-service teachers with open arms, but they also partner with us on various community/research projects.

  • Citrus Grove
  • Woodward
  • Blue Lake
  • Starke Elementary

The Hollis Institute has a part-time faculty who job is to coordinate all of our Professional School Projects: Barb Head

young student with a red shirt  with a teacher on a classroom

As one of our Professional Development Schools Woodward hosts many community outreach projects. Two projects specifically focus on fostering a love of reading. The Hollis Institute has generously sponsored the books for both the preservice teachers and the elementary school children. ​

Goodnight Stetson is an online reading program where Stetson students read a chapter book to Woodward students. Each night, for about a month, a featured reader reads two chapters. They then discuss the book and chat via an online platform.

Lunch Bunch is similar to Goodnight Stetson but takes place during the elementary students’ lunch period. The Stetson students pick the students up in the cafeteria and go to the library where they can eat lunch while the Stetson student reads to them. They then discuss a book similar to a book club (Photos to come).

Math Professional Development

Following the NSF grant-funded Student-Adaptive Pedagogy project, the Volusia County Schools Early Elementary Math Professional Development project is designed to foster kindergarten and first-grade teachers’ mathematical content knowledge for the benefit of their students’ learning. Recognizing the importance of early intervention, this project aims to promote teachers’ understanding of and attention to early number concepts to bolster students’ conceptual understandings of numbers, thus avoiding the need to later “fill in the gaps.” Through content-specific professional development, classroom observations, and deliberately designed instructional coaching, this project hopes to create a system of change through innovative pedagogical practices, aligning with the Nina B. Hollis Institute’s mission of addressing barriers to improving educational outcomes.

Citrus Grove’s community outreach projects range from after-school clubs that focus on infusing technology and the arts with literature to the One Book-One School reading project that is fueled by student and faculty manpower. Citrus has been one of our professional development schools since it opened in the 1990s. ​

Each year Hollis Committee members and Stetson faculty participate in the One Book, One School project. As well as the Not So Scary Halloween, which infuses reading, art and other projects. In addition, the institute has been instrumental in Science and Math nights. In addition to monetary funding at times, through our PDS partnership, Stetson students volunteer as guides and teachers.

Da Vinci Club

Garden Club

The 2015 USDA Farm-to-School Census recorded 7,101 school gardens in school districts across the United States, up from 2,401 recorded in 2013. School gardens have been shown to increase physical activity and fruit and vegetable consumption, improve student attitudes towards school, decrease problematic behaviors or behaviors associated with attention deficit disorder, and effectively engage students of diverse backgrounds and learning styles. Despite these benefits, many traditionally prepared classroom teachers lack the skills necessary to successfully integrate garden-based learning into their pedagogy. The McInnis Garden-Based Learning Project intends to address the gap between the national enthusiasm for school gardens, and the lack of garden-based pedagogy in elementary teacher preparation programs. As a Title I school with a predominantly Hispanic student population, McInnis provides the ideal site to fulfill the Nina B. Hollis Institute’s mission of addressing systemic barriers to educational achievement in innovative ways.​

Children and instructor engaging in gardening activities     Children and instructor engaging in gardening activities


One Book, One School Project

Stetson faculty and students read to students during the one-book, one-school project. 

Stetson faculty reading to students during the one-book, one-school project   Faculty and students in the classroom

Not So Scary Halloween

As one of our Professional Development schools, Blue Lake Elementary hosts many community outreach projects. Currently, our main project involves Kindergarten and 1st-grade teachers honing their own math skills through professional development with Dr. Amy Smith.



teacher walking around classroom