Standard 3

Standard 3. 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    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? 

Initial Program

Field experiences and clinical practice are the foundation of the initial preparation of teacher education candidates and other school personnel in the education programs at Newman University.  Becoming caring, reflective practitioners, as described in our Conceptual Framework, is at the heart of the candidate experiences as they progress through the education program’s sequence of field and clinical experiences. These experiences are designed to progress from reflective observation and assistance to practice and reflection resulting in candidates capable of effectively influencing and impacting student learning.  The reflection component is an essential ingredient of each individual’s experience and is used to promote the transformation of the candidate into a caring and effective educational practitioner. 

Developing and maintaining partnerships with area K-12 school districts has been a priority for Newman because the university serves the urban and suburban Wichita area, as well as the rural settings of the western and southeastern Kansas programs. Maintaining these relationships throughout the state requires regular communication and exchange of ideas and information to ensure that all stakeholders benefit in meaningful ways from this relationship and program. Regular meetings are held with faculty, adjunct instructors, cooperating teachers, school district representatives, and community stakeholders at the various program locations in order to share details about education program procedures and components. Information about the Conceptual Framework that guides the Newman program is shared with each stakeholder group. This focus on the Conceptual Framework becomes part of the evaluative efforts of cooperating teachers, university supervisors and interns. 

The field placements that take place throughout the initial program are a result of cooperation and collaboration of the unit, school and district partners, and other members of the educational community. Unit faculty work directly with building principals, classroom teachers, and center directors to place, supervise, and evaluate the various clinical experience components of courses which include a field placement. These placements are important foundational experiences in preparing candidates to work effectively with administrators, colleagues, and student learners. Classroom teachers and school personnel play an important role in documenting the successful completion of field experiences by assisting candidates with classroom visitation logs, conferencing with candidates working in field placements to plan instructional activities, observing and evaluating lessons taught, and providing feedback and encouragement.

The Newman University Professional Development School (PDS) Program on the Wichita campus is a unique collaborative program effort between university faculty and K-8 school personnel that combines both the field experience and student internship experiences. The mission of the partnership is to improve the quality of education for K-8 students by using techniques and teaching strategies that will provide candidates with authentic experiences in placements that serve diverse populations. Students participating in the PDS program complete both a semester of field experience and a semester of student internship in the same classroom and with the same teacher. Students must complete an application and interview process to be selected for a PDS placement and a building administrator must recommend mentor teachers for participation in the partnership.  This rigorous selection process combined with the extended classroom experience and mentoring opportunities results in a more extensive classroom experience for the interns along with providing additional resources for the classroom teacher and students. The PDS program includes a PDS Partnership Council that meets several times throughout the academic year and takes an active role in screening and interviewing program applicants. This program is in its 13th year and currently works with four schools. Three are public schools in an area with diverse student populations; the other is a parochial school in the Catholic diocese serving diverse students.

While placement of candidates for field experiences is handled by individual faculty responsible for field experiences related to coursework, intern placements for the student teaching semester are arranged in a much more formal manner. The Teacher Intern Program coordinator works with district administrators and personnel offices to arrange internship placements. Expectations for the student intern experience are clearly described in program handbooks distributed cooperating teachers, university supervisors, and student interns. The various program handbooks for Teacher Interns, University Supervisors, and Cooperating Teachers contain policies and procedures, as well as state guidelines governing student interns. Placement agreements are signed by school district administrators and these placement records are maintained in a file in the School of Education office.

Student interns, cooperating teachers, university supervisors, and unit faculty meet at the beginning of each semester for orientation, to discuss procedures and expectations, and to share other important information. Cooperating teachers are required to have at least three years of teaching experience and must provide the unit with a current vitae and teaching license copy for School of Education records.

University Supervisors, Cooperating Teachers and intern candidates collaborate on the final evaluation of the internship experience.  Candidates are formally evaluated a minimum of three times by their cooperating teacher and university supervisor using the 34-item Observation and Assessment Form for Teacher Interns (OAFTI).  At the conclusion of the internship, candidates evaluate their cooperating teacher and university supervisor. 

Advanced Program

Candidates in the advanced program gain valuable field experiences and have multiple opportunities to work with field based mentors from their field of study. Each of the candidates in advanced programs takes part in a practicum experience. Candidates in the Building Leadership and Reading Specialist programs are matched with a qualified licensed mentor, usually from the building in which the candidate in currently assigned, who supports and monitors the university’s practicum requirements for the candidate.  The NU Practicum Supervisor meets with the mentor and the candidate to review practicum expectations. The supervisor also checks in with the mentor periodically to assure congruency in the submission of assignments and projects by the candidate.

The first step in the practicum experience is a meeting of the NU Supervisor with the building-based mentor and the candidate to review the university’s Conceptual Framework and to share the expectations of the program. The NU Supervisor, candidate, and mentor work together to develop a plan for the practicum to maximize the candidate’s learning experience. This meeting is an opportunity for resources to be shared as needed between the school partner and the university, as well as identification of professional development opportunities for all parties. Well-designed activities for learning through doing are added to accommodate the candidate’s goals. Three-way communication is stressed for each of the practicum participants. In addition to interaction with the mentor and NU practicum supervisor, the candidate is expected to interact with other teachers, families of students, district administrators, and other interns about their activities and their practice.

Advanced program candidates take part in a variety of projects during the practicum experience. Some of these experiences include:  

  • a School Improvement Project for Building Leadership candidates in which the candidate completes a collaborative project, leading their peers, using technology, and engaging in service learning action research to improve student achievement
  • cultural curriculum activities, linguistic assessments, and communication activities with  parents and other ethnic groups in the ESOL program
  • a case study, reading event, and leading reading and writing professional development are projects included in the Reading Specialist program

The projects are expected to increase achievement by all students in the given research project. Candidates are expected to provide research that will affect students from all demographic groups within their school setting with the intent to improve student learning. A draft of the project is turned into the university supervisor for input and critique. Candidates are encouraged to reflect on their practice and the effects on student learning in their projects and in all activities of the practicum field experience.

The NU Practicum Supervisors meet with the Graduate Advisory Council twice a year during the school year for input to the program, and the Director of the Graduate program meets monthly urban and suburban curriculum leaders to solicit recommendations for field and practicum experiences. The candidate’s mentor and the faculty supervisor meet at the beginning of the field experience and continue to communicate via phone and email throughout the candidate’s practicum. If a candidate expresses concerns about their experiences, they are asked to contact the university faculty supervisor, and the supervisor meets with their mentor to encourage completion of the plan or to work out any issues that may have arisen.

3.2.a    Standard on which the unit is moving to the target level

3.2.a.1 Describe areas of the standard at which the unit is currently performing at the target level.

The Newman University School of Education is committed to move to Target level in addressing components of Standard 3. There has been ongoing collaboration between unit faculty and members of the PDS Partnership Council to develop clear expectations for candidate performance, establish a screening and selection process for placement in PDS classrooms, and provide ongoing support and mentoring of students placed in the PDS setting. Council participants visit campus several times each year for meetings in which they receive program updates,  provide feedback about student progress, and make suggestions about program changes that would result in greater candidate success during the instructional program or during field placement. Candidates who desire placement in a PDS school must submit a formal application and take part in a joint screening process with university faculty and members of the PDS council. Successful candidates are selected for a two semester placement in a PDS school setting. In the two semester PDS school placement, a school agrees to accept a student for both the initial field experience semester, followed by the student internship experience the following semester. Such a placement provides candidates in the initial program with a stable and ongoing opportunity to develop relationships and benefit from the mentoring of a school based faculty member in addition to a university supervisor. The regular meetings of the Council allow the members to review and discuss candidate progress, discuss administrator or teacher concerns, and resolve issues.

A recent review of our unit Conceptual Framework resulted in no substantive changes, but the unit members have recommitted themselves to the principles that form the foundation for the School of Education programs. The Conceptual Framework is included in the course syllabus for each course and all instructors review these important principles and discuss how they relate to the activities and content of the course.

Both unit and school-based faculty are involved in implementing, and evaluating the unit’s conceptual framework and the school program. The unit and its school partners share expertise and integrate resources to support candidate learning. The initial and advanced programs collaborate with district partners to jointly determine the specific placements of student interns for clinical experience and interns for the building leadership practicum to maximize the learning experience for both the candidates and P–12 students.

Throughout the school year, the unit and school partners also share expertise. Members of the unit faculty serve on district committees and take part in professional development activities. Members of the P-12 school faculty and administration teach courses in a variety of our programs. They also are guest lecturers in many courses.  When we were implementing our new technology resources in one of our classrooms, we arranged to have one of the instructional technology specialists from the Wichita district (one of our major local partners) to conduct the training and offer support.  When conducting the search for new faculty, members of the P-12 faculty are invited to be part of our search committees because of the unique perspectives that they provide. We also tap into the networks of alumni who hold appropriate positions in local school districts to provide support and assistance to our program by taking part in Advisory Council activities, evaluating portfolios, and serving as field experience hosts, cooperating teachers, and mentors to students in our advanced programs. 

The unit has also strengthened opportunities for candidates reflect on their practice. Assignments that require reflection about learning are now built into all field-based experiences. Candidates are asked to reflect on what they observe, what they do and are asked to consider what they are learning through this process.  As part of an initial program field experience course, candidates are asked to create a class profile to better understand the composition of the class and develop ideas for how to better support learning.  This activity is repeated in more detail during the teaching internship where students create detailed instructional plans based on classroom and student profiles. Candidates also complete activities in which they develop plans for creating the physical classroom environment, establishing rules and procedures, setting the climate for learning, and creating conditions for working and learning together.  Candidates reflect, write, and submit their reflections for review and assessment as part of the student internship experience.

3.2.a.2 Summarize activities and their impact on candidate performance and program quality that have led to target level performance.

Beginning with the spring 2013 academic term, the advanced program has implemented new procedures for the ESOL program. As part of this process of program improvement, highly qualified Practicum Supervisors were hired by Newman University to make visits to the classrooms of the candidates and provide support through both face-to-face and email/phone interactions. These supervisors are also responsible for assisting in the collection of data from program assessments. The program is implementing two of these supervisors for Western Kansas area, and one for Eastern Kansas. A single evaluator was selected to grade assignments for all ESOL Practicum candidates to assure consistency in meeting expectations of all of our program completers.

Also beginning with the spring semester of 2013, all program candidates will complete an online exit survey reflecting on their learning in the program, and specifically, to their learning aligned to the university’s Conceptual Framework.

One of the program activities that have made an impact is the School Improvement Projects completed by candidates in the advanced program. These projects which combine service learning and action research have resulted in impact at the school setting and in achievement of students in the schools where the projects are completed.  These projects have resulted in the development of better relationships with school partners and have provided multiple opportunities to exchange resources and improve collaboration.

Another area of impact has been through the relationships developed with partner schools and districts as part of the Advisory Council process. At the beginning of the 2012-13 academic year, new advisory councils were established for both the initial and advanced programs. Each of these advisory councils will have met twice by the end of the academic year. These advisory councils have given us the opportunity to make connections with faculty and administrators from the area. Meetings with the members of these councils have allowed us to share resources, and seek deeper involvement for the unit’s faculty within the school partners. These discussions have resulted in the development of a shared vision and sense of mission for student learning outcomes.

3.3   Exhibits

Examples of Collaborative Activities

S3.1a

S3.1b

S3.1c

S3.1d

S3.1e

S3.1f

S3.1g

S3.1h

S3.1i

S3.1j

S3.1k

PDS Brochure

PDS Contact information sheet

PDS Letter of agreement

Field experience placement request

Field experience placement notice

Field experience lesson evaluation

Teacher internship placement request

Teacher internship placement contract

Letter to cooperating teachers

Agenda for coop. teacher orientation meeting

Agenda and sign-in record orientation meeting with SEK adjunct faculty

Policies and data on candidate placements in field experience

CF.2b

S3.2a

S3.2b

S3.1c

S3.2c

S3.2d

S3.2e

S3.2f

Conceptual Framework

Field experience placement request

Completed field experience log

PDS Letter of agreement

Teacher internship program grid

Teacher internship placement request to district

Cooperating teacher vitae form

Expected outcomes from EDUC 4013 Art & Science of Teaching companion course to internship

Guidelines and handbooks for field and clinical experiences

S3.3a

S3.3b

S3.3c

S3.3d

S3.3e

Field experience handbook

Reading practicum forms

Handbook for teacher interns

Handbook for cooperating teachers

Handbook for university supervisors

Assessment instruments and scoring guides

S3.4a

S1.6a

S1.6b

S3.1f

S4.3a

S4.3b

NUTPP scoring rubric

Guidelines for the use of OAFTI

OAFTI form

Field experience lesson evaluation

Newman lesson plan guidelines

Newman lesson rubric