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Standard 3: Field Experiences and Clinical Practice

The unit and its school partners design, implement, and evaluate field experiences and clinical practice so that teacher candidates and other school professionals develop and demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions necessary to help all students learn.

3.1 Statement about the evidence

The unit believes that high quality field and internship experiences are essential to program success. Field experiences and internships continue to provide our candidates with diverse, real world experiences in their major fields of study. Unit faculty members believe that graduates must depart from the unit with the knowledge and experience to be highly effective practitioners and leaders in the education profession. Under the Director of Field Experiences and Clinical Practice, the unit maintains both formal and informal partnerships that are long-standing with many area schools. These partnerships form a collaborative relationship between the university and school districts. The unit and their internal and external partners together have developed components of the preparation programs that anchor field based activities in real-world settings where candidates get first -hand experiences of problems that classroom teachers, school guidance counselors, and principals face. With regards to partnership relations, the unit develops Memoranda of Agreements (MOA). The unit maintains partnerships with local public and parochial school systems to provide undergraduate and graduate programs and courses that focus on the goals of the school systems and the professional development needs of pre- and in-service teachers. Specifically, unit faculty maintain the belief that a connection to P-12 schools will: enrich the educational experience and preparation of candidates; promote ongoing professional development learning of practicing teachers through increased engagement with the university; support P-12 School districts’ recruitment, preparation, and retention of a new generation of highly qualified teachers; build school leadership capacity in an era of heightened accountability; give candidates a broader understanding of their future possibilities through real world experiences and opportunities. The unit has developed partnerships for initial and advanced programs with Jefferson County Public Schools District and for advanced programs in principal preparation program and teacher leader program or school guidance counselor program with Archdiocesan Schools of Louisville, Bullitt Country Public Schools, and Shelby County Public Schools. All of the MOAs clearly state collaborative efforts to work together to enhance the overall experiences of field and clinical based practices.

Candidates in the Alternative Certification program are currently placed in schools in the school systems in Hardin, Bullitt, Oldham, Frankfort, Gallatin, Spencer, Jefferson counties, and West Point Independent. The partner school districts continually offer support in various ways, including the supervision and assessment of candidates. The field experiences are organized into three distinct levels: Level I: Observation, Level II: Participation, and Level III: Leading. Each of these levels is associated to specific courses and assignments. Many course assignments require teachers to apply course theory to their daily classroom practice. As candidates progress through the professional coursework sequence, they move from being observers of practice to serving as support to the teacher of record, working with small groups, and then planning and teaching mini lessons to both small and whole groups of students. This progressive involvement design prepares teacher candidates for their student teaching semester as well as their first years in teaching.

Students’ field and clinical based experiences appear to be diverse with the counties used. Evidence of the types of required assignments and experiences are documents on the website. There is a Director of Field Experiences and Clinical Practice who coordinates placement for all clinical experiences.

Unit and school-based faculty have developed a history of working as partners in the design, delivery, and evaluation of field experiences and clinical practice. One example of collaboration is evident in the recent redesign efforts of principal preparation (2008 through 2010), and the teacher leader programs (2007 through 2010), and the school guidance counselor program (2008 – 2009). University faculty (including colleagues in the arts and sciences), principals, teachers, and school district administrators collaboratively designed programs that placed emphasis on school-based experiences that include the participation of P -12 faculty and retired practitioners with contemporary experience in delivery, supervision, and evaluation.

Entry and exit requirements for students who enter the programs and student teaching candidates are clearly stated in the Student Teaching Handbook on pages 10 through 17.

Candidates who completed the clinical practice semester were mentored by cooperating teachers who met the following Kentucky Status (16 KAR 5.040):

(a)  A valid Kentucky teaching certificate for each grade and subject taught;

(b)   Attained Rank II certification;

(c)  At least three (3) years of teaching experience on a Professional Certificate; and

(d)  Taught in the present school system at least one (1) year immediately prior to being assigned a student teacher. EPSB’s mandates have caused the previously approved M.A.E.D programs (including the MA in Administration) to be deleted.

In addition, supervising faculty criteria include familiarity with Kentucky teachers’ certificate regulations, previous mentoring or supervisory experiences, and contemporary experience in a school setting at the level they supervised. The unit continues to provide cooperating teachers and supervisors orientation session on a regular basis prior to the start of the field experience.

Descriptions of the roles and responsibilities of candidates, cooperating teachers, and university supervisors are described in the Student Teaching Handbook. Data collected from candidates, university supervising faculty, and cooperating teachers were very positive regarding a high quality experience for all involved.

3.2 Progress toward meeting the target level on this standard

Using baseline data collected from faculty, teacher candidates, and cooperating teachers, unit faculty collaboratively developed the Renaissance Plan for Continued Improvement as a planning document to drive efforts of moving the unit performance on Standard 3 from ACCEPTABLE to TARGET. Strategies outlined in the Renaissance Plan fall into three areas for improvement that are broad categories aligned with the elements of Standard 3. It includes indicators and strategies for all programs related to collaboration with P-12 partners. The first year of implementation of the Renaissance Plan was 2010,

During the current reporting period, unit faculty have made a number of remarkable improvements to the field-based component of the preparation of “Educators as Leaders” at both the initial and the advanced levels. At the initial level, improvements have included intentional school placements, alignment of field-based projects and assignments to the three distinct levels. In Level I: Observation (Field Experiences) – early in their programs, candidates engage in observing classroom activities and environments from the perspective of a teacher and may support the classroom teacher in working with students. Level II: Participation occurs prior to student teaching within the classroom and under the guidance of the course instructor and qualified classroom teacher. Level II field experiences are designed to give candidates an opportunity to assist teachers and observe them introducing new material and gradually building deep conceptual understanding while continually motivating, managing, and assessing student learning for rigorous learning outcomes, Level III: Leading is a 14-week full-time experience in which candidates are required to assume full responsibilities of the classroom teacher. The student teaching phase of the program provides the most intensive experience, supervision, and feedback. Each of these levels is associated to specific courses and assignments.

This intentional improvement to the field-based program component ensures that candidates progress through the professional coursework sequence by moving from being observers of practice to serving as support to the teacher of record, and then planning and teaching mini lessons to both small and whole groups of students. Unit faculty, with support from its school partners, hold the belief that this progressive involvement design better prepares teacher candidates for their student teaching semester as well as their first years in teaching.

In 2010, the unit had a total of 42 candidates who were eligible for the clinical practice semester (student teaching). All 42 candidates were subsequently admitted to clinical practice but only 35 completed. The four (4) of the seven (7) candidates who did not complete clinical practice dropped out for personal reasons. The remaining three (3) moved to the Alternative Certification Program before they began the traditional student teaching placement.

Over the last three years, the unit has collaboratively involved unit faculty and its school partners to redesign the program and implement the only (as of December 2010) redesigned Principal Preparation Program in the State of Kentucky. The redesigned program assures that the unit and JCPS collaboratively participate in the recruitment and selection of candidates; the design and creation of the curriculum, projects, learning experiences, and the facilitation of classes; the evaluation of candidates’ coursework in relationship to the ISLLC, KYCLS, and the unit’s Conceptual Framework. This has been an opportunity to provide a robust program that offers a “medical approach” in relating theory into practice.

In August 2010, the unit completed the redesign efforts of the M.Ed. Teacher Leader program and was given approval to implement it. The two redesigned programs are expected to adequately address the concerns arising from the 2003 BOE report. University-based faculty and school based mentors/faculty collaboratively assess candidates. There is evidence that the unit’s has fully adapted criteria and evaluation procedures of school-based clinical faculty in all programs.

It appears the unit has included both internal groups and external groups to collaborate with them on enhancement, redesign, and bridging field based and classroom experiences, as evidence through the Redesign Team and the Renaissance Action Plan document.

3.3 Feedback on correcting previous areas for improvement (AFIs)

AFIs continued from last visit:

AFI Number & Text Apply to AFI Rationale
School-based clinical faculty in the ADV The field experiences seem to be well
M.A. in Education Administration planned, but evidence was not available to
Program does not participate in the determine the involvement of school-based
evaluation of candidates’ field clinical faculty in the assessment of
experiences. educational administration candidates.
The unit has not developed criteria for ADV Criteria for clinical faculty in the Education
the selection and evaluation of school- Administration Program were not available
based clinical faculty in the M.A. in at the time of the offsite review.
Education Administration Program.

3.4 Areas of concern related to continuing to meet the standard. See the AFIs continued in 3.3 above.

3.5 Evidence for the Onsite BOE Team to validate during the onsite visit

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