STANDARD 3

Std 3 Printable PDF File


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.

1.  How does the unit work with the school partners to deliver field experiences and clinical practice to enable candidates to develop the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions to help all students learn?

The unit has long-standing partnerships and relationships within our service area. These partnerships form a collaborative relationship between the university and school districts. With these relationships in place, the unit and our partners have developed components of the preparation programs that anchor field based activities in real-world settings where our candidates get first hand experiences of problems that classroom teachers, school guidance counselors, and principals face. This collaboration has emerged out of formal partnership relationships supported by Memoranda of Agreements (MOAs) [examples of MOA are included as exhibits] and provide each of our programs appropriate structure and support of learning experiences, and ensure quality guidance, supervision, and assessment. Our partners include school districts representing urban, rural, and urban/suburban settings, and the Archdiocese of Louisville Schools. The Unit collaborates with school partners, especially in the service area, in a variety of ways: 1) planning and implementing field experiences and clinical practice for candidates seeking initial certification and additional and advanced certification; 2) supervising practica and internships for advanced program candidates in educational leadership, special education, counseling, and educational technology; 3) providing professional development in partner schools in the districts of the service area; assisting districts in staffing; and 4) designing learning experiences for students in P-12 schools that positively impact achievement.

Unit and school-based faculty have a long 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, 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.

The placement of candidates in field experiences and clinical settings remains a collaborative effort between the unit and school partners and placement sites through a process that ensures diversity of experiences. Through its collaborative relationship with the director of field experiences and clinical practices, candidates are placed with exemplary school leaders. According to state regulations, only “Rank II” (i.e. tenured faculty or those with the permanent or professional certification in the appropriate area) can serve as cooperating teachers. Other criteria that may vary from program to program include: being an experienced teacher, holding a Kentucky teaching certificate, being active within the professional community, serving as a mentor, and having the principal’s recommendation. Supervising faculty criteria includes: familiarity with Kentucky teachers’ certificate regulations, previous mentoring or supervisory experiences, and contemporary experience in school settings at the level they are going to supervise. The Unit continues to provide cooperating teachers and supervisors orientation sessions on a regular basis prior to the start of the field experience. Placements with cooperating teachers are made first through a negotiation with individual teachers and partners in P-12 schools and includes the formal process with the central office. Descriptive information about student teachers is sent to cooperating teachers who have expressed a willingness to accept a student teacher. These cooperating teachers are selected through collegial relationships with program faculty or on recommendation of other cooperating teachers and their principals.

Field experiences designed for candidates at Spalding University prioritize opportunities to candidates to interface with P-12 students of differing abilities, race, and cultural backgrounds. The unit’s field and clinical experiences are designed to develop candidates’ ability to sharpen their emerging professional knowledge within the context of various partnering school sites. All schools that the unit uses for field experiences and clinical practice have diverse student populations. Both the unit and unit’s school partners considered clinical practice as a critical opportunity for candidates to demonstrate their competence, ethical dispositions, reflective practice, and commitment to diversity and technology for a lengthy period of time. During the 14-week period (EPSB requires 12 weeks – 16 KAR 5:040.), candidates reflect on their own teaching and what areas they need to improve on in future lessons to ensure that learning occurs for all students. The unit ensures that, during clinical and field experiences, candidate learning is integrated into school programs and teaching practice. Candidates observe and are observed by clinical supervisors and mentors. They interact with peers, educators, families of students, and other stakeholders, and learn about their practices on a regular and continual basis. Candidates interact with classroom teachers and the University faculty members to gain a greater understanding of Kentucky’s Academic Expectations and Program of Studies and are provided numerous opportunities to reflect upon the candidates’ observations. As they develop this habit, they reflect on and can justify their own practice. They are actively involved in school activities geared towards teaching and learning. Continuously through the field experiences and clinical practice assignments, candidates are assessed on their attainment of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions reflected in the professional and state standards for practice. Assessments are both formative and summative and are shared with the candidates. Assessments include a review of candidates’ reflective practices as measures of the candidate’s ability to affect student learning.

Candidates are continuously supported in their clinical practice (student teaching and internships in the initial programs) by a team consisting of the cooperating teacher, a university supervisor, and the field experiences director. Descriptions of the roles and responsibilities of candidates, cooperating teachers, and university supervisors are described in the Student Teaching  Handbook.

School-based faculty are routinely evaluated by both the candidate and the university supervisor. Unit data generated from these evaluations indicate that both candidates and unit supervisors report that school based clinical faculty are well qualified for this role. For example, data collected from university supervisors in 2009-2010 indicate that our cooperating teachers are highly experienced and meet expectations “at the highest degree” in all 15 dimensions evaluated with a mean equal or greater than M = 3.78 on a five-point Likert scale. Candidates’ ratings of cooperating teachers on the same items ranged from a mean of 3.98 to 4.84 in each of the 15 dimensions (except item #13: Collaboration). Our University supervisors, on the other hand, are either retired administrators, retired teachers or mid-career teachers who have taken a break from full-time teaching for a personal reasons.

The university supervisor through assessment practices of the unit determines whether additional assistance is needed and seeks out that assistance. The principle responsibility of the university supervisor is to assist the student teacher in developing teaching competencies. Expanded description of roles and responsibilities of the university supervisors are outlined on page 21 in the Student Teaching Handbook.

Each student teacher is observed an appropriate and adequate number of times, in order to provide the support and assistance necessary to promote positive growth and preparation for the profession. The cooperating teacher is a regularly employed teacher in a cooperating school faculty who has full responsibility for a group of learners and to whom a student teacher is assigned. Our cooperating teachers are individuals who have agreed to open their classroom to a student teachers for the purpose of clinical practice. It is the expectation of the unit that student teachers and cooperating teachers work together to provide learning experiences for their students. The main role of the cooperating teacher is to share knowledge and expertise regarding instructional methodologies and classroom management, as well as the day-to-day running of a classroom. Also, the cooperating teacher is to give the student teacher the opportunity to put theory into practice. Expanded descriptions of roles and responsibilities of the cooperating teachers are outlined on page 18 in the Student Teaching Handbook.

The cooperating teacher evaluates the teacher candidate’s progress at various intervals during the semester using evaluation protocols that are a part of the STEP process and include the Mid-Semester Student Teaching Evaluation (formative) and the Final Student Teaching Evaluation (summative) forms. These forms are included with the information packet provided to the cooperating teacher at the beginning of the semester. The unit expects cooperating teachers to provide feedback to teacher candidates through regular conferencing following student teaching observations. During these conferences, the cooperating teachers discuss the findings with the teacher candidates and forward the completed assessment forms to the course instructor and Director of Field Experiences and Clinical Practice.

Candidates in the Traditional Initial programs are currently placed in schools and in school systems in these counties: Hardin, Bullitt, Oldham, Frankfort, Gallatin, Spencer, and Jefferson, as well as West Point Independent. Our partner school districts continually offer support in various ways including the supervision and assessment of candidates. Our 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 better prepares teacher candidates for their student teaching semester as well as their first years in teaching.

Advanced candidates’ placements are typically determined cooperatively with the university supervisor, candidate, and school mentor. Often the placement is in the building or district where the candidate is employed. Other advanced program placements are decided jointly by the candidate, supervisor, and the program director. In the principal preparation program, the school guidance counseling program and the teacher leader program all courses require candidates to apply content, skills, and professional dispositions to their respective classrooms and school buildings. Course assignments and discussions require that candidates engage in critically examining, comparing, and contrasting the roles of principals, counselors, and teacher leaders in school settings and particularly those that are diverse. The unit faculty work closely with mentors and other school leaders to plan and coordinate clinical experiences and activities for advanced candidates. For teacher preparation programs at the advanced level candidates perform assignments that are of practical use to them as classroom teachers; they, therefore, are indirectly involved in clinical practices. A majority of candidates in advanced programs are practicing professionals, employed full-time by school districts, and therefore are attending as part-time candidates. In order to offer candidates these experiences, partnerships and collaboration are very important components. Advanced candidates often complete their practicum in the classrooms where they are teaching. When the practicum site is not diverse, candidates are encouraged to accept placement in other suitable locations which can provide diverse experiences. Non-school sites may carefully be selected based on suitability of experiences they offer as well as the specific area of study for the candidate is studying. The school guidance and counseling program offers its practicum and internships experiences within a variety of settings and grade levels. Partnerships with these districts have been established. School-based supervisors must possess a minimum of a master’s degree in school counseling or a related profession and certification as a school guidance counselor with at least two years post certification experiences.

For advanced programs, hands-on experience is the norm since candidates are already practitioners. In the principal preparation program and school guidance program, the emphasis is real world scenarios that include activities such as conducting needs assessments, surveys, and interviews. Many practica occur in the candidates’ schools, although some may be in other schools or other sites, such as summer literacy programs as in the case of the English as a Second Language program.  Specific activities during the practicum vary according to the program. For advanced candidates, assessment with the six dimensions of the Kentucky Continuum, which closely align with the ISSLC (2008) standards. All are evaluated by the unit faculty and supervisor.

Candidates in field settings are given opportunities to evaluate their cooperating teachers using the Student Teacher Cooperation Teacher Evaluation form. Sample data generated from these evaluations over several semesters these evaluations are available. University supervisors and cooperating teacher also evaluate each other. University supervisors use the university supervisor evaluation of Cooperating Teacher form (USofCT). Cooperating teacher use the Cooperating Teacher Evaluation of University Supervisor form. Sample data collected over several semesters on the USofCT is provided and have been analyzed and shared with unit faculty.  Data collected from cooperating teachers evaluating university supervisors are widely shared with unit faculty and used in programs refinement. University supervisors meet more frequently with the director and are in constant contact with her by phone or e-mail.

2.   Please respond to 2a if this is the standard on which the unit is moving to the Target Level.

2a. Standard on which the unit is moving to the Target Level

The unit has selected Standard 3 Field Experiences and Clinical Practice for Continuous Improvement.

2b. Continuous Improvement.

Since the last NCATE visit, clinical faculty, supervisors, and cooperating teachers continue to actively remain involved in the program and are enthusiastic about the candidates with whom they work. Clinical practice provides candidates with experiences over a range of settings and environments. Spalding’s program completers are well-prepared to enter the workforce as professionals. They have completed a series of sequential exposures to the field through initial field placements and later through their clinical experiences.

Collaboration with school districts continues to remain a hallmark for both initial, advanced, and programs for other school personnel. Since the last visit, the unit has continued to strengthen partnership relationships with school districts. These relationships have been elevated to go beyond a partnership in program designs, delivery, and evaluation of candidates to include collaboration in the development of a strong professional development school partnership with the Jefferson County Public Schools district in supporting Maupin Elementary School. The hiring of the current dean in the summer of 2008, who has a wealth of experience and is respected as a public school teacher and school principal, has brought  to Spalding far-reaching contributions, including the strengthening of the unit’s position in engaging in close collaboration with school districts. Over the last several years, the unit has made significant progress in the following areas:

Building Strong Collaboration with School Partners: Unit faculty recognize the importance of collaboration in building an effective program for educating educators as leaders. The unit assures that placements in field experiences and clinical practice offer candidates opportunities in setting with students with exceptionalities and those from diverse ethnic, racial, linguistic, gender, and socioeconomic groups. The design, implementation, and evaluation of field experiences continue to be a collaborative process that utilizes the skills and insights of public school and university faculty. The director of field experiences and clinical practice continuously seeks feedback from school partners regarding candidate performance and needs for modifications in procedures and curriculum.

While the unit has been very successful in involving the P-12 professional community members in implementing and evaluating field and clinical experiences, for candidates in the advanced programs, a coherent plan ensuring involvement of P-12 professional community in designing field and clinical experiences for candidates in the initial programs has been a conversation and efforts among unit faculty. Work on the Clinical Practice Handbook is ongoing to reflect more actively roles anticipated from the collaborations efforts with school partners.

Improving Field Experiences for Other School Professionals: Since the last NCATE visit, the unit has developed structured activities involving the analysis of data, which are required in programs for other school professionals. In the school guidance counselor program, candidates are required to complete a two-tiered practicum where they shadow a school counselor performing counseling activities of diverse settings, implement a system of support services, and responsive services. While enrolled in SGC 640 – Technology for School Counselors, candidates utilize technology to collect and monitor student data and learn how to use this data to efficiently plan, organize, communicate, and evaluate comprehensive school counseling programs. In SGC 630 Research Methods/Tests and Measurements counselor candidates explore commonly used assessment instruments that address learner aptitude, achievement, interest, intelligence, content areas, and traits like self esteem, values, and modalities to help in the decision making process. Candidates analyze, synthesize, aggregate and disaggregation of typical school data and use results examine student outcomes in order to identify, intervene, and plan for student success and to reduce student achievement gaps. While completing the practicum, candidates collect, analyze data and interpret data based on current research as they complete SGC 690 Program Development. In SGC 690, candidates complete projects that require them to plan, implement, and evaluate a developmental guidance curriculum that utilizes technology, celebrates diversity, and provides intervention strategies for diverse learners. Included in the plan is the utilization of data to monitor and evaluate school counseling program’s impact on student achievement, reduction of the achievement gap and identification of barriers to learning/success.

Improving Field Experiences for Advanced Programs: While field experiences and clinical practice are associated with the advanced programs, we have not organized them to fit into either identifiable Levels or a developmental sequence to mirror those in the initial programs. However, they are carefully selected, systematically implemented as well as monitored to ensure quality and offer meaningful experiences to candidates. The unit places efforts to ensure that candidates develop proficiencies outlined in the unit’s conceptual framework, state standards, and professional standards through field and clinical experiences. In the implementation of both the principal and the school guidance counselor programs (which are redesigned/new to the unit), the unit will engage in experimenting a developmental approach continuum of practice that begins with candidate observing, then participating in, and then leading important school reform work. Through refinement of these internship experiences that go beyond isolated opportunities to participate as team members in the school improvement activities of the school. Candidates’ ePortfolios are developed around the Kentucky standards and aligned to the proficiencies outlined in the conceptual framework. Candidates’ impact on student learning has significantly been augmented with the unit-wide adaptation of LiveText as a tool used by candidates in both the initial and advanced programs in documentation.

With a vision from the current dean, who has over 30 years of  experience as both a teacher and a school principal, unit faculty began discussions during the 2009-2010 academic year which focused around best experiential learning and best practices that on relative to developing and refining the knowledge, skills, and dispositions.

As a part of those conversations, unit faculty voted to adapt a new vision statement for the College of Education. During the May 2010 annual faculty and staff retreat, unit faculty voted to redefine the unit’s vision as reflected in the statement below:

The College of Education at Spalding University strives to prepare educators as leaders who will take the lead in transforming teaching and learning within diverse setting, their own buildings, the state, the region, and the nation to better serve all students and their families. As a unit, we will be poised to anticipate and respond to changing demographics and societal expectations by regularly reviewing and updating our programs to meet the needs of the time. Through collaborations with area schools, professional and community organizations, we aim to emphasize our shared commitment to the education and well-being of all students. Above all, we endeavor to prepare competent educator leaders who will be known, individually and collectively, by their qualities of leadership and who, in turn, will cultivate similar qualities in those they teach and lead.

At the very heart of the now adapted vision statement is the idea of repositioning operations to be responsive and meet the needs of the time amidst the ever-changing demographics within our service area. This awareness had stimulated unit faculty to purposefully examine field-based experiences of all candidates from a perspective that encourages candidates’ didactic learning. This form of learning  is associated with fieldwork experience in a setting where they can observe, develop clinical skills, and practice the tasks typically represent Educators as Leaders. The unit believes candidates in all programs and at all levels must be offered meaningful and carefully planned field-based experiences, supervised by both school-based and college faculty. These field experiences include specific objectives, instructional activities, performance expectations, reflective activities, and ongoing assessment of candidate’s growth in the application of knowledge, skills, and dispositions. The field-based experiences must have a positive impact on student learning.

To meet these expectations, unit faculty reviewed descriptors listed under “Target: in Standard 3: Field Experiences and Clinical Practice in the Professional Standards for the Accreditation of Teacher Preparation Institutions Handbook (p. 29-31). In collaborative discussions, unit faculty placed themselves in four groups of three to four persons to review and to support the unit in developing an action plan for continued improvement. These small teams met frequently each month and provided their input and contribution to a monthly all faculty meeting that met on the the third week of each month. During the AY2009-2010 semester, faculty developed a two-year action plan entitled, The Renaissance Action Plan for Continued Improvement which defined goals and established objectives and activities pegged on a timeline. The key elements of the plan are to enhance the quality of field-based experiences, to improve candidate preparation at all levels, and to foster local school district collaboration and participate in design, implementation, delivery and evaluation. A copy of the Renaissance Action Plan is included as an exhibit.

The unit has already achieved a number of milestones in the implementation of the action Renaissance Action Plan.  For example, through the program redesign efforts, the unit has developed and has began implementing an innovative principal preparation program that will offer rigor and quality. In addition, the redesigned program is responsive to current needs identified by partner school districts through a needs assessment study administered to current sitting principals in surrounding school districts.  Unit faculty are confident that the redesigned principal preparation program adequately addresses leadership needs in P-12 schools, especially those that are unique to Spalding’s service area.


3.  Exhibit Links