Standard 2: Clinical Partnership & Practice

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2.1 Partners Co-Construct Mutually Beneficial P-12 Partnerships

The EPP has established Memorandums of Agreement (MOA) with schools and districts within the service region plus Jefferson County. These partnership agreements are signed by the University President and school district leaders. MOAs describe EPP/partners' shared responsibility to provide a range of clinical experiences that allow candidates to link theory to practice. MOAs evidence mutual agreement regarding expectations of teacher candidates and cooperating teachers. The Kentucky Academy of Technology Education (KATE) also signs technology-based MOAs to provide customized professional development training for partner schools, thus creating mutually beneficial partnerships.

Meaningful partnerships are an integral part of the EPP's Quality Assurance Process because they assure quality clinical experiences which will develop candidates' knowledge, skills and dispositions necessary to positively impact students' achievement (ST Impact on Student Learning). The EPP has established mutually beneficial partnerships with clinical faculty and P-12 partners (Correspondence with Principal; Meeting Minutes). The EPP and P-12 partners make shared decisions on clinical experiences plus candidate entry, preparation, performance expectations, and exit (ACT and GPA data; Teacher Education Services Confidentiality Form; Meeting Minutes). P-12 partners are consulted about coherence across clinical and academic components of candidate preparation; they offer suggestions for improvement of candidate preparation (Meeting Minutes). The development and pilot of Co-Teacher Training demonstrates partner participation in planning and implementing training beneficial to all stakeholders. Because productive, mutually beneficial partnerships are an inherent part of quality candidate preparation, developing even more authentic partnerships and professional development schools is a focal point of the EPP's SIP (Selected Improvement Plan; PDS Flyer).

2.2 Partners Co-Select, Prepare, Evaluate, Support, and Retain High-Quality Clinical Educators

The EPP actively engages partners in the design and implementation of clinical experiences. District administrators help the EPP select quality cooperating teachers (CT) for candidates' formative field experiences and culminating student teaching experiences (Request for Student Teaching Placement). CT meet established criteria for serving in the role of mentors; they are instrumental in candidates' development into future effective educators. Partners help the EPP select, prepare, and evaluate candidates during their field and student teaching clinical experiences.

EPP faculty and P-12 partners cooperatively create quality field and student teaching clinical experiences (Correspondence with Principal). Principals and CTs assist university faculty in selecting placements for clinical experiences. Faculty share expectations with candidates and cooperating teachers before field experiences commence. Candidates are reminded of the importance of professional demeanor (TES Confidentiality Form). Course instructors accompany candidates to the school settings; this affords an opportunity to monitor candidates' progress and to establish closer partnerships with CTs through face-to-face interaction. CTs and course instructors affirm candidates' field experience hours and evaluate their efforts through the LiveText Field Experience Module (FEM) system.

The EPP works with P-12 administrators to place student teachers in appropriate settings (Request for Student Teaching Placement Form). The Cooperating Teacher-Guiding the Teacher Candidate booklet, placement form, and letters to P-12 administrators, University Supervisors, and CTs delineates clinical educators' roles/responsibilities and details the process for co-selecting candidates.

Cooperating Teachers, University Supervisors, and candidates are well-prepared for the student teaching clinical experiences. Clinical faculty must undergo co-teacher training before hosting teacher candidates (Co-Teacher Training). CT Packets, the Teacher Education Sourcebook, Guiding the Student Teacher Booklet, and Student Teaching Syllabus share guidelines for the student teaching experience. CTs are oriented and trained to provide feedback on the student teaching experience.

The Coordinator for Student Teaching trains University Supervisors before the semester begins. University Supervisors make official orientation and observation visits throughout the student teaching semester. University Supervisors and CTs use Student Teacher Evaluations to assess candidates' proficiency toward meeting the Kentucky Teacher Standards and professional dispositions (see. 3.4). These evaluations are shared with student teachers. CTs also provide feedback on the University Supervisor (Feedback Form CT-US). Clinical faculty use the FEM system to complete evaluations.

The Coordinator of Student Teaching informs candidates of student teaching expectations during an initial seminar before they begin co-teaching. Students attend multiple seminars throughout the semester to become acquainted with interview techniques, resume-building, and classroom management. School partners lead some sessions. During the semester, student teachers attend their schools' professional development, faculty meetings, PLCs and teacher work days.

The Student Teaching Course Syllabus and comprehensive, student teaching handbook (paper copy) inform candidates of the roles of the CT and University Supervisor. Candidates evaluate cooperating teachers and university coordinators at the end of their experience (Feedback Form CT-US). Candidates also complete a Student Teacher Survey to share feedback about their experiences and preparedness. The EPP's SIP will focus on designing an expanded version of the student teaching semester to better prepare candidates for the rigors and realities of their future classrooms.

The Clinical Educator Retention Report shows the number of placements in schools. Reporting retention data by teacher proves problematic as employment information such as hire dates, retirement dates, and school/district transfer information are not accessible. Retention data for University Supervisors reveal those employed either stay for long periods of time or for only one to two semesters (Clinical Educators Retention Report).

2.3 Partners Design High-Quality Clinical Experiences

The EPP works with P-12 partners to design clinical experiences of sufficient depth, breadth, diversity, coherence, and duration to ensure that candidates demonstrate their developing effectiveness. MOAs establish partnerships with districts and schools. Ongoing communication and shared decision-making efforts ensure a collaborative approach to clinical experiences. P-12 representatives serve on committees responsible for making decisions regarding programs, clinical experiences, and candidates' effectiveness (Meeting Minutes; Correspondence with Principal; 2.2 text).

As per 16 KAR 5:040, teacher candidates participate in at least 200 hours of clinical field experiences before student teaching. Experiences include a breadth of activities such as tutoring, teaching diverse students, and attending school board meetings (Field Hour Audit and Component Sheets). Moreover, faculty use the Clinical Experience Continuum to ensure candidates experience varied, developmentally-appropriate clinical experiences using the gradual release of responsibility model. Common Course Syllabi indicate clinical experiences are deliberate, purposeful, and sequential. Many clinical experiences include an instructional technology component using school- or KATE-provided technology (Technology Matrix; KATE).

LiveText is used to structure key assessments within courses to demonstrate candidates' development of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions (see 1.1). Performance evaluations of candidates' development of KTS proficiencies and professional dispositions are completed by school based clinical faculty in FEM (see 3.4).

Conclusion

A preponderance of evidence documents the EPP works collaboratively with partners to design clinical experiences of sufficient depth, breadth, diversity, coherence, and duration to ensure that candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to positively impact P-12 students' learning and development (see 4.1). The EPP meets Standard 2 as effective partnerships and high-quality clinical practice are central in developing candidates' knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions necessary to demonstrate positive impact on all P-12 students' learning and development. The Selected Improvement Plan will enhance clinical experiences through the exploration of Professional Development Schools and increased stakeholder input.