Early Entry Master of Art in Teaching Program

As part of our Noyce Capacity Building project, we have developed and implemented an Early Entry MAT middle (5-8) and secondary (9-12) teacher certification degree programs in Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Mathematics. The Early Entry MAT teacher certification degree program allows undergraduate students to start the MAT degree early in their senior year while they are completing their undergraduate STEM degree. This will allow STEM students to complete the post-baccalaureate MAT degree in one additional year after graduation and obtain a teacher certification by the end of their fifth year. All MAT students are required to go through an ongoing evaluation through an individualized professional growth and developmental plan. The developmental program is based on the assertion that teacher growth is an on-going, developmental process[41-46]. MAT students must demonstrate acceptable performance on the MAT program objectives through the following criteria of continuous assessment plan: individual course assessments, field and clinical evaluations, disposition assessments at specified transition points, benchmark and/or anchor assessments within identified courses, and a final culminating (capstone) project within the candidate’s emphasis or endorsement area and/or standardized exams. A program plan for continuous assessment is conducted by the candidate, the education faculty, and cooperating teachers during the certification process. The Early Entry MAT degree is a 36-hour program of study consisting of 5 separate modules - Module I: Foundations of Education, Module II: Sociocultural Studies in Education; Module III: Research and Tools, Module IV: Secondary Pedagogy and Methods, and Module V: Professional Semester. In the Early Entry MAT program, undergraduate STEM students will take four MAT courses (12 credit hours) in the BA degree curriculum that will be counted towards the MAT degree. In their fifth year, students will take nine MAT courses (24 credit hours) - four (9 credit hours) in summer, three (9 credit hours) in Fall, and two (6 credit hours) in Spring. Students in the MAT program must successfully complete a minimum of 200 hours of field experience - (55 field hours in Fall semester-Senior year, and 35 hours in Summer of MAT Year, 55 hours in Fall of MAT Year and 55 hours in Spring of MAT Year). Out of the 55 hours, 42 hours must be in classroom settings and 13 hours out of the classroom (e.g. attendance at district board meetings, tutoring, etc.). In field experiences, teacher candidates conduct observations and fieldwork every semester in multiple diverse settings. Field placements are determined by the unit’s Field Placement Director to ensure the appropriateness to the candidate’s desired certification as well as to maintain diversity in field experiences. All field experiences are evaluated by a cooperating teacher and university mentor. Field experiences begin with Module I and are conducted in P-12 schools chosen for their diversity and modeling of best practices. During field experience, students spend their time assisting cooperating teachers with developing and planning lessons, co-teaching with the class or small group instruction, implementation of instructional activities, assessment of student performance, and other classroom tasks. MAT students are integrally involved with P-12 student achievement during the professional semester (Module V) when they are assessing student performance and using those data to guide instruction. In their professional semester, MAT students must participate as a “Teacher of Record” in terms of full-day commitment for 70 days. MAT students must complete their student teaching field experience prior to the start of the professional semester and must attend professional seminars that enable candidates to refine their teaching skills.

Teacher candidates are assessed in multiple ways throughout the MAT program and data are triangulated by evaluations made by University Supervisors, Cooperating Teachers, Faculty, and the candidate’s self-assessments. MAT program’s continuous assessment plan are based on three transition points. Students must pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (CASE) exam. CASE exams measure academic skills in reading, writing and mathematics, provide comprehensive assessments that measure the skills and content knowledge of the candidates’ entering the MAT teacher preparation program (minimum scores are: Reading-156, Math-150, and Writing-162). BU students have a 100% pass rate on Praxis exams and a 100% job placement or graduate school placement rate. Teacher candidates must demonstrate maturity; interpersonal and communication skills; and the dispositions, knowledge, competence, and judgment necessary to be an effective teacher. Teacher candidates are assessed through assessments on the 4Cs (communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity) prior to admission, prior to the professional semester, and during the professional semester. Teacher candidates demonstrate appropriate teacher dispositions that establishes a teacher’s professional demeanor and promotes student learning and development. At the conclusion of the MAT program, students complete two Praxis Exams in order to be eligible for teacher certification. These include the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching Exam (PLT) and the Praxis II exam in their content area to measure their general pedagogical knowledge at one of two grade levels (5–9 or 7–12). The Standards-Based Unit of Study measures the candidate's performance prior to admission into the professional program and during the professional semester by submitting and implementing several lessons/unit plans. The Pre-Professional Semester Observation assessment form is used for candidate observations prior to entering the professional program. The Candidate Performance Record is used to assess candidates’ performance on four components of instruction: planning and preparation, classroom environment, instruction, and professional responsibility. During the professional semester, candidates' design a Professional Growth Plan to improve their teaching performance by the end of the semester that is based on the self-assessment of the Kentucky Framework for Teaching Performance. These instruments are aligned to state standards, CAEP standards, and InTASC (Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium) standards.  At the end, Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) issues a Professional License.

Kentucky Academy for Equity in Teaching (KAET)

MAT students can apply for the Kentucky Academy for Equity in Teaching (KAET) loan forgiveness program. The Kentucky Academy for Equity in Teaching is a renewable loan forgiveness program designed to provide financial support and mentoring to pre-service teachers who are enrolled in, or awaiting admittance to, an approved educator preparation program at an institution of higher education in Kentucky (Bellarmine is an approved preparation program). The KAET loan repayment program is designed to identify and prepare a pool of highly effective, experienced, and diverse educators poised to transition into the teaching profession in Kentucky's public schools. KAET participants receive financial support and training as they are supported and mentored by experienced and effective educators. Eligible candidates may receive up to $5,000 per semester in loan forgiveness for up to 4 semesters of undergraduate education or up to $2,500 per semester for the MAT program.

MAT students can also apply for the TEACH Grant which is a non-need based program that provides up to $4,000 per year to students enrolled in an eligible program and who agree to teach as a highly-qualified teacher in a high-need field, at a low-income elementary or secondary school for at least four years within eight years of completing the program for which TEACH Grant was awarded.

The starting salary of a JCPS teacher with a MAT degree is $48,944 and the average teacher salary of a JCPS teacher is $63,000, with top earners making almost $90,000 per year.