Standard 3: Field Experiences and Clinical Practice
3.1 Field Experiences and Clinical Practice
How does the EPP 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 EPP and its school partners design, implement, and evaluate field experiences and clinical practice so candidates and other school professionals, placed in diverse settings and grade configurations, can develop and demonstrate KSD necessary to help P-12 students learn and achieve. Teacher preparation programs are governed by the EPP's Teacher Education Committee (TEC). Initial candidates follow a sequence of field experiences 2.4.h. In Phase I, occurring prior to admission to teacher education (TE), pre-candidates observe, tutor, and work in small groups in an assigned school 3.4.e1. In Phase II, candidates engage directly with the Cooperating Teacher (CT) and students as they share expertise and integrate resources to support candidate learning. Candidates complete at least eighty field experience hours in Phases I and II. In Phase III, student teaching, candidates apply knowledge of teaching standards while teaching and managing the classroom. Collaboration with Local Education Agencies (LEAs) resulted in the clinical practice changing from 10 weeks, as required by NCDPI, to 15 weeks 3.4.a1.
The EPP collaborates with 13 public/federal school systems in the design, implementation 3.4.b1, and evaluation of field experiences and clinical practice via the University-School Teacher Education Partnership (USTEP)/Professional Development Schools (PDS) Coordinator. Educational Partnership Agreements (EPA) 3.4.a2, designed by EPP and school partners, delineates the roles and responsibilities of candidates, faculty, and school partners, to increase collaboration in the placement process. The EPA includes assignments and experiences to develop the content, professional, and pedagogical KSDs of initial and advanced candidates delineated in the CF and are aligned with state and national standards. PDS 3.4.a3 are selected to provide support to schools with a high percentage of low performing students. Most LEAs are in urban settings serving mostly Caucasian and African American students 3.4.b2. The EPA describes candidates' placements in schools; specifies qualifications and selection of CT 3.4.c2 and site administrators; and explains candidates' evaluation.
Partners assist with the selection, implementation, and evaluation of experiences of Student Teachers (ST) and interns. Partners also assist in determining the placement of ST and interns for other professional roles to maximize learning experience for candidates and students, serve on Dean's Advisory Board, Principal's Advisory Council, and NCATE Standards Committees 3.4.a4. The EPP and its partners share expertise and integrate resources to support candidate learning and use external evaluators to assess candidates' key assessments 2.4.c. STs or principal interns are placed in public schools in grade levels commensurate with their licensure area. Clinical faculty (CT and University Supervisor (US)) provide continuing support to pre-candidates, initial, and advanced candidates during field and clinical experiences through various modalities such as observation, discussion, multi-media communication, assistance with planning, and reviewing lessons/assignments.
Placement requests for initial candidates originate with the Coordinator and Director of Teacher Education. The Coordinator and the Director select schools so pre-candidates are placed in diverse settings as they matriculate through respective programs 3.4.h. The Coordinator sends early field experiences placement requests forms 3.4.i to faculty for pre-candidates to complete. The forms are returned to the Coordinator to submit to principals for placement. The Coordinator sends approved lists to faculty to inform pre-candidates of placement confirmations. For methods courses' placement, candidates complete an intent form 3.4.j. The Coordinator and Director send the requests to LEAs. In methods courses, candidates are guided by specific requirements outlined in Field Experience Manual 3.4.e1.
LEA and EPP jointly determine placement of STs and interns to maximize the learning experience for candidates and students. For student teaching placement, faculty and chairs provide the Director with a list of STs, 5 dispositional traits and a student teaching application for each. The Director and Coordinator consult with chairs and US 3.4.c1 to select the best schools for STs then forward requests to LEA central office personnel in a spreadsheet 3.4.b3. Student teaching request forms 3.4.k and security data forms are included. LEAs select CTs using EPA identified criteria, information contained in the EPP's spreadsheet and communication with Director. The Director shares the final placement information 3.4.a5 with chairs and US and then with STs during information session 3.4.a6 held prior to the experience.
Field experiences and clinical practice extend the EPP's CF into practice through modeling by clinical faculty and well-designed opportunities to learn through doing. CTs participate in an EPP-led student teaching orientation 3.4.d1 to become acquainted with student teaching requirements and their role in the process. CT and US rate the STs' performance using the EPP's Observation of Candidate Performance (OCP) form 3.4.f1, Exit Criteria (EC) 3.4.f2, and DPI's Certification of Teaching Capacity (CTC) form 3.4.f3. The CT and US collaboratively complete the ST's final evaluation using the EC and the CTC. Candidates upload an E-Portfolio, a compilation of major evidences 2.4.a2, demonstrating candidates' technology skills and ability to reflect on and justify their practice skills, into Taskstream. Completion of the ST experience requires each candidate to earn at least a "proficient" (rating of 3 out of 4) on all indicators of the key assessments' rubrics and earn a rating of "met" on all components of the CTC prior to completing program and applying for a teaching license. Candidates provide placement feedback by completing the ST Exit Survey of Internship Placement 2.4.o. One to three years after completion, Beginning Teachers complete the Alumni "Job Readiness" Survey 2.4.q. The Employer Survey 2.4.r is collected for initial and advanced programs. Based upon observations by administrators and others, results support employers perceive completers remain driven to improve teaching and learning.
Candidates' interaction with families of students during clinical practice helps broaden their understanding of families and communities 3.4.b4. Content knowledge, strategies emphasizing differentiation, and technology integration, are enhanced by clinical practice that requires candidates' involvement in school-based activities directed at improving teaching and learning, such as collaborative peer projects, information technology use, and service learning engagement. As members of instructional teams in schools, candidates are active participants in professional discussions. They are involved in activities such as: parent-teacher conferences, open house, workshops, IEP and staff meetings. Candidates observe other site based professionals and engage in service learning by completing the professional leadership project.
Advanced candidates are guided by DPI professional standards I.5.j and participate in clinical experiences, requiring them to critique and synthesize educational theory related to classroom practice based on their applied research, to design, implement, and evaluate projects related to the roles for which they are preparing. These projects are theoretically based, involve use of research and technology, and have real-world application. Each program is governed by a specific set of requirements at each transition point.
For example, M.Ed. candidates complete their experiences in their classroom using action research projects to measure their impact. Master of School Administration (MSA) candidates and Director collaborate on their placement. Candidates and MSA Director provide LEA with cover letter, resume, internship placement form, and internship assignment interest survey 3.4.e3. The intern and MSA Director complete a letter requesting a leave of absence 3.4.e3 from current employment. Interns receive a stipend from DPI and are placed in a work environment exposing them to different settings. Confirmed placement information 3.4.b5 is forwarded to the intern, MSA Director, and Director.
MSA Interns work at least 12 days during June/July, complete a three part 15 credit internship class (EDAM 680, EDAM 690, and EDAM 691), and attend bi-monthly/monthly reflective seminars. The internship requires 825 hours at the site plus an additional 200 hours at the discretion of the US. Interns must demonstrate proficiencies in the professional roles for which they are preparing, and must complete a specific list of artifacts for the required portfolios 3.4.e3. The quality of the internship experiences is evaluated separately by the intern, site administrator, and US. Interns are evaluated by the site administrator using the NC Professional Standards for School Executives I.5.j2 and must earn a rating of "proficient or accomplished" on each component of the rubric for program completion and administrator's license.
Doctoral candidates complete a year-long internship. Placement varies based on cognates - P-12 Cognate candidates complete internships in school settings under the supervision of LEA personnel, while Higher Education Cognate candidates complete internships at a site related to employment prospects, such as a university, community college, or university system 3.4.b6. The revised program blueprint delineates the list of requirements at this level 2.4.au. P-12 cognate candidates are evaluated using a rubric aligned to DPI Superintendent's Standards I.5.j3.
Summarily, the shared responsibility of the EPP and school partners concerning the design, implementation, placement, and evaluation for initial and advanced candidates is the strength and success of field practices and clinical experience.
3.2 Moving towards target or continuous improvement
3.2.a Describe areas of the standard at which the unit is currently performing at the target level.
The EPP, in collaboration with its partners, implemented various processes and procedures to enable candidates to develop the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions to help all students learn. For instance, after meeting with the Cumberland County Schools (CCS) Superintendent in the Spring and Summer 2010, the EPP launched Principal's Advisory Council (PAC) 3.4.a7. The PAC, composed of elementary, middle, and high school principals from the PDS, is charged with ensuring that field experiences and clinical practice processes are based on effective practices, current trends, and overarching student learning goals for the SOE and its P-12 stakeholders. These members also serve as ad hoc liaisons to the LEA and share information with the EPP to prepare high-quality teachers. The PAC informs other school leaders of the EPP's processes, and collaborates with the EPP in order to place candidates in teaching and other school personnel positions.
As the EPP continues to move towards target, its faculty and partners participate in each other's PD activities and instructional programs for candidates and children. For example, the LEA conducted a Common Core (CC) Workshop 3.4.d2 to familiarize faculty with the revised course of study as a result of the adoption of the CC and Essential Standards. In order to empower beginning teachers to make use of student data to improve instruction, the EPP used the data base provided during the CC Workshop to enhance the newly developed course EDUC 331 now required of all initial candidates. In addition, the EPP, in collaboration with LEA, will develop an evaluation instrument to measure pre-candidates' ability to interpret and use data. The EPP and CCS hosted Education Value-Added Research and Assessment Services (EVAAS) workshops during the Excellence in Teaching Conference (EITC) 3.4.a8. Additionally, in spring 2014, with the implementation of the Power School assessment, data management, and communication system, the EPP received support from CCS in offering PD on School Net services to SOE and CAS faculty 3.4.d3.
The EPP and its partners constantly share their knowledge and expertise with in-service and pre-service teachers to help them achieve classroom success such as the EITC that the EPP hosts every spring since 2008. Teachers report that topics are timely and informational. For instance, the 2014 theme reflected the immersion of the CC and Essential Standards and S.T.E.A.M. Education. Professors, Curriculum Specialists, principals, classroom teachers, local and out-of-state HR personnel, and others attended.
Another activity that moved the EPP towards target was the launch of a Mini-EITC for pre-service teachers 3.4.a9 in August 2013 and subsequent semesters. This conference was developed based on feedback from and in collaboration with the PAC. It is held the semester before the clinical practice and provides workshops on teacher professionalism, expectations of the LEA, pedagogy, interview process, new teacher support, and program completion/licensure.
Since fall 2010, faculty from each program conduct TE and student teaching interviews for readiness to monitor teacher candidates' KSD necessary to help all students learn as an admission requirement. Candidates must earn a minimum score of 2.0 out of 3.0 on the rubric 3.4.l for admission into TE. Eighteen points out of 27 is the minimum score for the student teaching interview score. If a candidate does not meet the required score, faculty informs the candidate of areas for improvement before rescheduling the interview.
STs work collaboratively with clinical faculty to improve practice as USs and CTs continuously monitor their progress. When the Director or US is informed by the principal and/or CT of issues at the site, the ST is immediately removed from the field. The ST meets with the Director, department chair, advisor, and US. The US develops a CAP 2.4.i including a timeline for returning to the field based on the determined deficiencies.
The Dean and CCS Associate Superintendent met to discuss the placement process for STs 3.4.a10. It was agreed that the EPP would be more involved in the placement process and would provide non-academic details to the LEA. The EPP would identify dispositional traits and the LEA would use the dispositional traits when placing STs. Identification of dispositions assists the LEA central office personnel in identifying a CT who will reinforce skills and dispositional strengths of STs during the clinical experience. In addition, collaboration resulted in the decision to place STs with the strongest and most productive teachers in schools with vacancies so they may build a relationship with leaders at the placement site and ultimately become employed as teachers of record. As a result, many STs receive early teaching contracts and employment numbers 3.4.g have increased. In order to clarify selection and placement processes as well as to streamline the expectations of USs, CTs, STs, and other EPP and LEA administrators, all program manuals 3.4.e were revised and approved by TEC.
In order for field experiences to allow candidates to apply and reflect on their content, professional, and pedagogical KSDs in a variety of settings with students and adults, the EPP provides candidates with more opportunities to work with a diverse population of students, including military-connected students. In spring 2013, the Coordinator and the Military Liaison for a local LEA collected data regarding the highest concentration of military-connected schools served by the EPP 3.4.b7. The EPP has a 3-year membership with the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC); in addition, the EPP hosted the Living in the New Normal (LINN) workshop on July 20, 2012 and December 12-13, 2012 3.4.m. Participants earned certificates and received classroom friendly resources to support military-affiliated children. The EPP also identified at least one assessment in each program 4.4.b5 that strengthens skills to serve military-connected children. The EPP purchased modules designed by the MCEC to support candidates' KSD on serving military-connected students in the LEAs. These changes were implemented to help candidates develop and demonstrate proficiencies that support learning by students with exceptionalities and those from diverse ethnic/racial, linguistic, gender, and socioeconomic groups in classrooms and schools.
Collaboration between the EPP and school partners is evident in the participation of faculty in professional development activities and instructional programs for candidates, beginning teachers, and students. With this in mind, faculty reviewed the NC Beginning Teachers' Ratings and revisited assignments designed to prepare candidates to address each standard. This information was also used to plan professional development activities for future student teachers as well as recent graduates. For example, as a reflection strategy an EPP emphasis for the 2013 academic year, the Coordinator was invited by local LEAs to conduct separate two-hour reading comprehension and formative assessment workshops for beginning teachers 3.4.a11.
The EPP and a partner school participated in the UNC and NC New School Project Learning Laboratory Initiative (LLI) 3.4.a12. The school, housed on campus, is well known for its effective pedagogical practices resulting in high achievement, retention, and graduation rates. The LLI School activities included: preparing teachers as CTs, placing candidates with teachers to complete field experiences and student teaching, designing and implementing Blackboard Training for the teachers, developing and offering a Hybrid "Technology in Education" Course for the lab school, selecting students to be provided with tutorial services to supplement coursework and promote success on the Algebra I EOC, identifying high-achieving students enrolled in English II and providing the students with extracurricular activities in scholarly research. As a result of these initiatives, all students earned passing grades in the Algebra I Course. Twelve students earned a 4 out of 4 on the EOC, 31 earned a 3, and three students earned a 2. Algebra I scores increased from 86.6% in 2010-2011 to 93.6% in 2011-2012. The research project assisted students by improving research and research-based writing skills. Students addressed the requirements of academic research in high school. During the 2012-13 academic year, the LLI School and the EPP revised and offered courses in physical education and health for early college students.
Faculty collaborated with CCS to provide STEM PD to teachers through the PRISM project and results have been effective 3.4.a13. Realizing that employer feedback was limited, the Dean met with the Associate Superintendent of an LEA to determine ways to increase response. As a result, surveys were sent to principals via e-mail during times determined to be most conducive for survey completion. The return rate increased from 11 to 54. In order for more CTs to participate in the evaluation of the candidates E-Portfolios, Professional Seminar instructors arranged for portfolio presentations to occur at school sites or on campus with CTs serving as co-evaluators 3.4.a14. The Dean, Director, and Coordinator each serve on local P-12 School Improvement Teams (SITs) 3.4.a15. In order to build the rapport with these schools, faculty serve as proctors for End of Grade testing, as tutors, as judges for various competitions, and other service activities. Service to LEAs is assessed in faculty evaluation.
An Assistant to the Coordinator was recently hired in 2014 3.4.n and works in a team environment within the SOE and in the field to provide a wide range of services related to teacher education program admissions, field experiences, clinical practice, certification, internships, and recruitment. Tracking of completer employment statuses is a priority for the recruitment of teaching paraprofessionals to licensure programs. This is a highly-skilled position which involves applicant cultivation, including conducting one-on-one telephone calls and meetings with interested prospects and applicants, conducting informational sessions, and attending meetings representing the SOE for recruitment purposes.
In an ongoing effort to strengthen collaboration with partners, the EPP accepted an invitation to attend The Personnel Administrators of North Carolina (PANC) monthly meetings to stay current on policies and reformation in P-12 schools. PANC is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing professional growth and development for all public school educators whose major job function falls within the definition of public school personnel administrators. PANC believes highly trained professionals are essential for the recruitment and retention of quality NC educators. As possible program eliminations loomed, the Associate Dean and Coordinator designed and distributed a survey 3.4.a16 to PANC members to determine superintendents' preferences regarding employees' qualifications of secondary education teachers.
The Dean attends the Sandhills Regional Educational Consortium (SREC) and Region 4 beginning teachers' meeting generally on a monthly basis. This allows the EPP and LEAs to share opportunities, provide updates on programs, share prospective graduate information for hiring purposes, and discuss new school initiatives, such as School Net. The Region 4 Math Collaborative is a joint effort among the SBE, LEAs, and IHEs to plan strategies to help faculty and teachers build math content.
For continued target level performance, more involvement with P-12 students and families is planned by the EPP. The EPP will also increase the number and variety of PD activities and offer methods courses at P-12 schools to allow methods candidates to teach at least one complete lesson under the observation of the US and CT. The candidate will be evaluated using the OCP form, which will be applied in the next semester during student teaching. Beginning in the fall 2015, candidates will become familiar with the US expectations and secure preliminary feedback about their pedagogical efforts.
The SOE uses the Learning Achievement Tools (LAT) platform in Taskstream to maintain and track student assessment data. At the institution level, Taskstream provides technology to document and manage the macro assessment process, to address accreditation requirements, and to demonstrate learning achievement. Through "e-portfolio" tools used at the program level, candidates create media-based projects that showcase their academic achievements to faculty, administrators, and the community. The curriculum across each program (BS, LO, MAT, M. Ed., MSA, and Ed.D.) requires candidates to upload assessments for review in the LAT platform, which is then reviewed by the state and accrediting bodies for program approval. In order to effectively identify candidates who are enrolled in capstone courses and distinguish their data from others enrolled in programs an additional subscription fee must be paid to TaskStream. FSU covers the costs for TaskStream accounts at the macro level. Effective fall 2014, each candidate admitted to a program in the SOE will be assessed a three-year assessment fee to cover the remainder of his/her program of study.
Candidates enrolled in an initial teacher preparation program and in an advanced program are required to complete a capstone course that will provide practical experiences in the field. Candidates are assigned to master teachers, school administrators, or higher education administrators who serve as mentors or cooperating teachers. Each mentor or CT receives a stipend to acknowledge his/her role in assisting the EPP in preparing effective educators, school administrators, and higher education professionals. The SOE proposed that the capstone experience fees for candidates enrolled in capstone courses will be assessed upon enrollment in the practicum course and aligned to each candidate's financial aid package beginning fall 2014.
The EPP and school partners continue to plan future projects concerning the design, implementation, education, placement, and evaluation of and for initial and advanced candidates. The circle of collaboration maintains reciprocity by supporting Master Teachers who, in turn, serve as CTs and mentors. Additionally, the Master Teachers conduct/facilitate PD activities by sharing their expertise and resources to support candidate learning. Although the EPP is in the progress of meeting all elements of the target level, it is aware that revisions and additions will be on-going.