The AFTSE, in collaboration with its P-12 school and community partners, chose Standard 3 as their target standard for multiple reasons: 1) we fully acknowledge that diverse, authentic, and collaborative field and clinical experiences are the foundational "training ground" of aspiring teachers and leaders; 2) we have cultivated a wide array of partners, including schools and community programs, that have enriched our faculty and candidates by providing them with multiple sites in which to observe and teach, as well as critical feedback to candidates and programs; 3) we have designed field and clinical experiences in a developmental progression across all programs, with continuous reflection by, and evaluation of, candidates by their peers, faculty, cooperating teachers, and university supervisors; 4) we believe that effective educator dispositions are critical to improving K-12 student achievement, and are most often evident during field, practicum and professional semester experiences, and thus evaluate them continuously as part of candidates' progress; 5) we provide an intensive professional semester experience with consistent and systematic candidate evaluation, allowing candidates to integrate their knowledge, skills, and dispositions into the authentic environment of P-12 learning, with the priority of improving student achievement; and 6) we have initiated varied opportunities through the Bellarmine Center for Teaching Excellence and Leadership (BCTEL) for unit faculty, P-12 practitioners, community leaders, and candidates to learn together as collaborative partners.
Collaboration Between Unit and School Partners
The unit believes that it is performing at the target level with regard to its full, collaborative partnerships with P-12 schools, community agencies, and advisory groups such as the Advisory Committee on Education (ACE). The ACE has been integrally involved with our self-study process for re-accreditation since January 2011, re-evaluating our conceptual framework, creating a vision statement for the AFTSE, and providing feedback on data and program evaluation (Exhibit 2.3.d.3). The unit truly considers our ACE partners as co-designers, co-implementers, and co-evaluators of our programs and unit. The ACE and other collaborative partners have been integrally involved in the re-design of our MAED in Teacher Leadership program, the EdS in Instructional Leadership and School Administration program, and most recently, the MAED in P-12 Literacy Specialist program (Exhibit 3.3.a.4). Every new program or program change includes feedback from partners in the design, planning, and execution, such as the Literacy Panel for the Literacy Specialist program re-design and the meetings with Arts and Sciences faculty to discuss the new B.S. in Secondary Education degree (Exhibit 3.3.a.6; Exhibit 1.3.l.4).
Additionally, the unit has cultivated multiple partnerships with P-12 schools, in particular Breckinridge-Franklin Elementary (Exhibit 3.3.a.3) and Nativity Academy, as well as with community agencies such as Volunteers of America (VOA) and its Family Emergency Shelter. These partnerships are "action-based" in terms of continuously planned events, service endeavors, involvement with P-12 students and their families, contribution of resources, and professional development. For example, the unit held a faculty meeting at VOA (Exhibit 4.3.g.2) to permit the faculty to meet families and understand the services available to them. MAT middle and secondary candidates in Module II participate in Saturday service learning projects at the Family Shelter, including building clean-up and landscaping and holding events for the children and their parents. Advanced candidates in the P-12 Reading and Writing Endorsement program (LITR 663) conducted diagnostic assessments of children at the shelter to suggest interventions to improve their academic performance. The principal of Nativity Academy is an integral member of the ACE, as well as a partner with unit faculty in delivering numerous professional development sessions on reading strategies for Nativity teachers. The unit is embarking on an extensive partnership with Oldham County Schools to conduct "Reading Academies" for K-3 teachers to improve their instructional skills (Exhibit 3.3.a.7). AFTSE faculty will train a set of teachers selected by the district to then train K-3 teachers. This partnership has been completely co-designed and will be collaboratively implemented beginning summer 2012 by Oldham County P-12 personnel and AFTSE faculty.
With the opening of the Bellarmine Center for Teaching Excellence and Leadership (BCTEL) in 2009, the unit created an array of opportunities for educators to engage in dialogue, grow in community, and develop new skills to further the success of children and adolescents in the state and the region (Exhibit 3.3.a.8). BCTEL has further expanded to include the Bellarmine Center for Economic Education, which provides professional development opportunities and resources on economic literacy, and the Bellarmine University Regional Assessment Clinic, which offers free assessment services to children and adolescents in the community as well as resources to parents, schools, and teachers on interventions and assistive technology. These centers illustrate the unit's (and the university's) commitment to collaborative partnerships with P-12 educators and the community to work together to improve the futures of P-12 children and adolescents.
Design, Implementation and Evaluation of Experiences
The unit believes that it is performing at the target level in the design, implementation, and evaluation of field and clinical experiences. Initial certification field experiences begin early in a candidate's program, are highly diverse [including at all levels – elementary, middle, secondary (Exhibit 3.3.f.3.a)], and require active participation – not solely observation (Exhibit 3.3.f.3.b). Candidates are evaluated in every field placement, including mid-point evaluations in junior field practicum (Exhibit 3.3.f.4) and pre-professional teaching evaluations of lessons taught both in junior field practicum and Module IV MAT content methods courses (Exhibit 3.3.f.5). To enhance the authenticity of field experiences in the junior practicum and MAT content methods courses, the unit not only increased requirements for pre-professional teaching – both observed and video-taped, but re-designed its Lesson Plan Template and Standards-Based Unit of Study (SBUS) Template to require candidates to conduct more in-depth lessons based on the diversity of learners and the need to differentiate instruction (Exhibit 1.3.l.3.a and Exhibit 1.3.l.3.b). Candidates in undergraduate and MAT programs must create an SBUS in their content methods courses, teach a lesson from it for evaluation, and create and implement an SBUS in their professional semester. These experiences encourage growth through practice as well as permit a comparison of data on candidates' performance and improvement for both candidate and program evaluation (Exhibit 1.3.d.1).
Each candidate's field evaluation is scrutinized by the course instructor or field supervisor to determine satisfactory performance for course requirements as well as satisfactory knowledge, skills, and dispositions for progression through required transition points. The unit sees field and clinical experiences as optimal settings for evaluating candidates' dispositions in addition to their skills in an authentic setting. Assessing appropriate dispositional qualities and providing intervention for candidates exhibiting dispositional concerns through a Dispositions Intervention Plan (DIP) are perhaps two of the most important functions of field and clinical experiences. The unit's Dispositions Self-and Institutional Assessments are used by cooperating teachers, university supervisors, and candidates to determine "acceptable" and "unacceptable" dispositions in five major thematic areas (initial certification), and levels of proficiency on the Kentucky Teacher Standards (MAED program) and ISLLC Standards (EdS program) (Exhibit 1.3.e); data in Exhibit 1.3.f.1; Exhibit 1.3.f.2; Exhibit 1.3.f.3; Exhibit 1.3.f.4). Field evaluations may reveal concerns that result in a DIP (Exhibit 3.3.f.2) and may prevent a candidate from progressing through a transition point (in the case of Exhibit 3.3.f.2, this candidate was not approved for Transition Point 2, and had to repeat the junior practicum to a satisfactory level of performance as indicated on her DIP before she could re-apply to the professional semester).
Equal to the importance of exhibiting appropriate professional dispositions is the candidate's ability to use Valli's five types of reflection to represent his/her growth in field experiences and the professional semester. Every field experience for both initial and advanced candidates and the professional semester have a reflective journal requirement evaluated by course instructors and university supervisors (Exhibit 3.3.b.4; Exhibit 3.3.b.5). All benchmark and anchor assessments include a reflection section on Valli's types of reflection, many of which draw on the candidates' field experiences.
Perhaps the most significant programmatic change that has occurred since the last accreditation visit that has moved our undergraduate candidates' field experiences to target level has been the addition of a junior practicum experience. This intensive experience allows for increased collaboration with P-12 teachers and consistent integration of candidates with P-12 students and their full school experience. The practicum has greatly increased candidates' comfort with the school environment prior to the professional semester and provided additional experiences for extended activities such as field trips, parent-teacher nights, and faculty meetings.
Advanced candidates, particularly those in the EdS program, have the same requirements for field placements in terms of monitoring, evaluation, reflective journaling, and satisfactory completion for transition point progression. In fact, field experience is the foundation of the EdS program in terms of providing authentic experiences for leadership development – in collaboration with the P-12 mentor and university supervisor as part of a professional learning community (Exhibit 3.3.b.6). Candidates in the MAED program are evaluated in their field experiences, particularly as they actively engage with P-12 students through tutoring, conducting assessments, and/or the teaching of instructional lessons (see Exhibit 1.3.h.3.b from Canaan after-school program).
The professional semester experience affords the most valuable opportunity for initial certification candidates and those adding learning and behavior disorders certification (EDUG 613) to fully experience their impact on P-12 students and their achievement. The Candidate Performance Record (CPR) (Exhibit 1.3.c.6) provides a comprehensive set of evaluations and data on candidates' skills as they align with the Kentucky Teacher Standards. The CPR includes varied assessments in developmental progression as well as components such as the Collaboration Leadership Project that measure candidates' full spectrum of proficiencies. The candidate, cooperating teacher(s), and university supervisor function as a professional learning community, mentoring and guiding each other through the process of teacher development. Data on the CPR are evaluated by candidate, by program, and by the unit for improvement to procedures, curricula, and experiences (Exhibit 1.3.d.1). Cooperating teachers and university supervisors have multiple venues for providing feedback on the professional semester, including orientations, seminars, surveys, and evaluation tools.
Proficiencies to Help All Students Learn
The unit believes that it is performing at the target level with regard to developing candidates' knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions to help all students learn. This has been a priority for the unit since the last accreditation visit, particularly with regard to the full spectrum of P-12 student diversity and the range of skills needed by candidates to address diversity in learners. Initial certification and advanced candidates placed in the Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) experience significant diversity inherent in such a large urban district (Exhibit 4.3.f), yet benefit from more rural placements such as the Bullitt County Public Schools. The unit is increasing its efforts to place candidates with racially and ethnically diverse cooperating teachers by requesting these teachers for placements, asking cooperating teachers to indicate their race/ethnicity on candidate evaluation forms, and tracking candidates' placements through the Degree Audit Portlet to ensure both P-12 student and cooperating teacher diversity. The unit has taken seriously our commitment to learners with exceptionalities and in exceptional circumstances by adding a number of required placement sites at community agencies and non-traditional or alternative school placements (Exhibit 3.3.a.5). This additional requirement gives candidates the full spectrum of unique learning contexts and challenges. Candidates have a broader experiential base to design appropriate instruction and introduce multiple strategies. The new Lesson Plan Template and Standards-Based Unit of Study template require candidates to address extensively the diverse needs of their students – not only with specific strategies and accommodations but in terms of re-teaching to ensure mastery (Exhibit 3.3.g.1). The lessons and SBUS are taught in field experiences attached to content methods courses as well as in the professional semester, and evaluated in terms of their effect on P-12 student learning.
Additionally, secondary education candidates have participated in field placements with "low performing schools" with specific intervention projects designed to increase student achievement. These placements have been so successful that several principals have requested additional partnerships for the 2012-13 academic year. Candidates can see immediate results of their interventions on their P-12 students' learning, as well as appreciate the struggles many of these students confront in their lives and their learning (Exhibit 3.3.g.2).
The goal of highly diverse field and clinical placements is to provide an authentic context for candidates to assess their own knowledge, skills, and dispositions to work with all students. Journal writing, class discussions, professional semester seminars, and conferences with cooperating teachers and university supervisors are used as "sounding boards" for honest discussion about strengths and areas for growth. Several courses have one school that provides the setting for all candidates' placements, affording the opportunity for deep conversation.
1.3.c.6 Professional Semester Handbook 2011-2012
1.3.d.1 Key Assessment Data Initial Certification Programs
1.3.e Dispositions Assessments in Initial and Advanced Programs and Intervention Plan
1.3.f.1 Dispositions Assessment Data 2010-2011 Initial Certification
1.3.f.2 Dispositions Assessment Data 2009 MAT Program
1.3.f.3 Master of Arts in Education and Rank I Dispositions Assessment Data
1.3.f.4 Instructional Leadership and School Administration Dispositions Assessment Data
1.3.h.3.b MAED Field Experience Evaluation
1.3.l.3.a Bellarmine Lesson Plan Template
1.3.l.3.b Standards Based Unit of Study Template
1.3.l.4 Narrative Description of Program Change to Secondary Education Major
2.3.d.3 Advisory Committee on Education Minutes
3.3.a.3 Description of Breckinridge Partnership and Documentation
3.3.a.4 Collaborator Lists for EdS and MAED in Teacher Leadership
3.3.a.5 Non-Traditional Field and Clinical Placement Partners
3.3.a.6 Literacy Panel Meeting Invitation for Feedback on Literacy Specialist Re-design
3.3.a.7 Oldham County K-3 Reading Academy brochure
3.3.a.8 Sampling of BCTEL Professional Development Sessions
3.3.b.4 Field Journal Guide and Tips
3.3.b.5 Junior Practicum Journal Entry
3.3.b.6 EdS Required Field Experience Activities
3.3.f.2 Field-Based Experience Evaluation Form II (unsuccessful)
3.3.f.3.a Graduate's Resume With Varied Field Experiences
3.3.f.3.b Field Logs of Hours and Corresponding Activities
3.3.f.4 Cooperating Teacher Initial Progress Checklist
3.3.f.5 Pre-Professional Semester Teaching Evaluation
3.3.g.1 Sample Lesson Plan for Diverse Learners
3.3.g.2 Doss High School Intervention Plans
4.3.f Diversity of P-12 Students in Clinical Practice Sites
4.3.g.2 VOA Faculty Meeting Minutes from January 13, 2012