— Elisha Wilkerson, Elementary Education
McLean County Unit District #5 includes 15 elementary schools, three middle schools, and two high schools. WIthin the district, you will find opportunities to explore several different settings that will provide a wide range of teaching opportunities. With students representing many cultures and varying socio-economic levels in both urban and rural settings, a placement in Unit 5 prepares you to teach in any setting.
Each year, six to eight Unit 5 elementary schools are selected from the fifteen elementary schools in the district for participation in the PDS program. In this way we can make sure that you have the support of working with other interns at each site. The elementary schools in the district include:
Our three middle schools include:
Our high schools are:
As a Unit 5 PDS intern, you are carefully paired with a mentor. Through two interviews several complex aspects are considered, including the personality type of both you and the cooperating teacher as well as your needs. You will be welcomed into the school and made to feel a part of the staff. You are given access to district e-mail. You will attend all institutes and school improvement days, and are invited to attend professional development opportunities with your mentor teacher. The goal at Unit 5 is to provide you with a complete picture of teaching.
By participating in the McLean County Unit #5 PDS Program, you have the advantage of already being familiar with the community. However, you may not know that the Bloomington-Normal area is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in Illinois with over 125,000 residents. The Unit 5 district includes Bloomington, Normal, Carlock, Hudson, and Towanda, all of which are located within a 10-mile radius of Illinois State.
Because of the proximity to Illinois State's campus, you would be able to continue your current housing arrangements or even make arrangements to share housing with other PDS interns. You will need a reliable vehicle as you are responsible for getting to and from your assigned school each day.
As an intern, you attend your Illinois State C&I classes at Eugene Field Special Services Center located at 412 Cypress Street, Normal.
Thomas Metcalf Laboratory School offers PDS placements.
The internship program at University High School, an Illinois State laboratory school, is designed to give secondary education majors a year-long teaching experience, immersing them in the life of the school. As an intern, you will be assigned a University High School faculty mentor who will facilitate and design the experience to help you become integrated into your classes as well as into the University High School faculty.
You will be included in all faculty functions—from the opening of school orientations to induction workshops, classroom observations, and department, committee, and faculty meetings. Unlike the other PDS opportunities, you will complete your professional coursework on campus rather than with your cohort. At the end of your internship, you will be a teacher candidate whose experience equates with that of most first-year teachers. You will be more seasoned and mature in working within a public school setting, able to ask the right questions, and will know how to seek the necessary information to be successful in your first teaching assignment. Learn more about the program.
University High School, named by Newsweek as one of America's Top Public High Schools, is located one block north of campus, within easy walking distance of the College of Education. U-High enrolls approximately 600 students in grades 9-12 and hosts hundreds of teacher education candidates from Illinois State University each year. As one of the nation's oldest and most active laboratory schools, U-High continues to be on the cutting edge of teacher training.