D. 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.
D.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 Director of Teacher Advisement and Field Placement is responsible for arranging all candidate practicum experiences and student teaching placements. The unit works with a number of school districts in the state, in other states, and in Canada to ensure diversity in practicum and student teaching placements. Contracts, memoranda of understanding, and other documents are used by the schools and the unit to articulate partnership agreements that guide placements of candidates in the schools.
The North Dakota Century Code supports rules of the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board governing the qualifications and roles of cooperating teachers of student teachers. The rules include requirements for preparation or training of cooperating teachers, a minimum of 3 years of teaching with at least one in the school where the student teacher is placed, and a recommendation from the school's principal.
Methods faculty and other practicum supervisors request practicum placements for candidates, sometimes making suggestions on schools or cooperating teachers. After finalizing placements the field placement director notifies methods faculty and practicum supervisors of the placements who then inform candidates about their practicum specifics.
In order to maximize diversity of each candidate's placements, the director ensures that each candidate has at least one placement in a rural school and at least one in an urban setting. Candidates in each practicum and student teaching placement collect data on student diversity which is given to the unit's database manager who enters it in the database. This has provided the unit with a history of the diversity of the students with whom candidates work.
Candidates must submit an application to student teach and must attend a student teaching seminar conducted by the Director of Teacher Advisement and Field Placement. A new law in North Dakota mandates that all student teachers be finger printed and have a background check completed prior to starting the student teaching placement. This requirement is explained at the student teaching seminar, and candidates are told how to complete the requirement. Candidates also receive the student teaching handbook, learn about the guidelines for the student teaching experience, and learn about licensing requirements and procedures. At the seminar candidates are also given information on how to get early posting of their transcripts if they have 12 week student teaching placements. The early posting allows candidates to get licensed immediately after completing student teaching so they can do substitute teaching or accept employment as a teacher. Examples of all forms used by student teachers, cooperating teachers, and university supervisors are in the student teaching handbook.
Every student teacher is assigned a university supervisor who visits the student teacher at least three times to observe the candidate's teaching and interaction with students. The university supervisor also meets with the cooperating teacher to monitor the student teacher's experience and to get the cooperating teacher's perspective on candidate knowledge, performance, and dispositions.
Cooperating teachers have representation on the Stakeholders Advisory Council, which meets at least once each year. The Stakeholders Advisory Council members are invited to the unit's annual retreat where they are asked to provide suggestions and recommendations for changes on such things as forms, procedures, and policies relating to practicum and student teaching placements. Cooperating teachers and unit faculty are invited to an appreciation dinner held each spring in collaboration with the local ATE. We also recognize one cooperating teacher as the outstanding cooperating teacher for the year. At this function, unit and school faculty have the opportunity to interact in an informal setting.
At the end of each student teaching placement, the cooperating teacher is asked to complete an evaluation form about the student teaching placement and about the unit's preparation of student teachers. The data from those evaluations are compiled, aggregated, and analyzed. "Teacher Talks" was initiated this past year as another opportunity for cooperating teachers to get together with unit personnel to discuss issues and concerns.
D.2. Please respond to D.2a if this is the standard on which the unit is moving to the Target Level. If it is not the standard on which you are moving to the target level, respond to D.2b.
D.2a. Standard on which the unit is moving to the Target Level
- Describe work undertaken to move to the Target Level
- Discuss plans for continuing to improve
D.2b. Continuous Improvement
- Briefly summarize the most significant changes related to Standard 3 that have led to continuous improvement. (If no significant changes related to this standard have occurred since the previous visit, indicate "None" in this section.)
A new program called "Teacher Talks" was initiated this past year at Minot State University. It is modeled after a program with the same name used at the University of North Dakota with great success. "Teacher Talks" are meetings of unit personnel with cooperating teachers to hear their concerns and have opportunity to share data and the unit's concerns with them. "Teacher Talks" take place once or twice each semester.
Forms used for assessment of student teachers have been modified in format using suggestions from cooperating teachers. The data collected is much the same as with the previous form, but some extended definitions were added and the form was condensed.
Honorariums paid to cooperating teachers were increased from $17 per week to $25 per week.
The BSE Mathematics program made changes to the Math 391 - Teaching Mathematics (methods) course and the required practicum. Before the changes were made in 2009 the methods course was 4 semester hours and included 60 hours of practicum experience. Math 391 was reduced to 3 semester hours, and the practicum was removed from it. Two 1-semester hour practicum courses were created in response to candidate input that additional and earlier practicum experiences were needed. Thus Math 371 - Early Practicum was designed for mathematics education majors as a 45 clock hour placement to be completed prior to admission to Teacher Education. This practicum experience can be completed in a variety of settings including tutoring students individually, being a teaching assistant for a math faculty member in an intermediate algebra or college algebra course on campus, working in the campus Math Clinic, tutoring students in mathematics at the Burdick Job Corps Center, or being placed with a mathematics teacher in one of the local schools. Math 381 - Secondary Math Practicum is a 45 clock hour practicum experience that is done either in the same semester that the methods class is taken or in a subsequent semester. The placement for this class is with a secondary level mathematics teacher at an area school, with the expectation that the candidate will do some teaching under the tutelage of the cooperating teacher during the placement. Practicum experiences were thus increased from 60 clock hours to 90 clock hours for all candidates in the program.
D.3. Exhibit Links:
- Criteria for the selection of school faculty [pdf]
- Documentation of the preparation of school faculty [pdf]
- Student Teaching Handbook, Exhibits 4 and 5 [pdf]
- Graduate Assistant Manual [link]
- Memoranda of understanding, contracts, and/or other documents that demonstrate partnerships with schools [link]