Collaboration Between Unit and School Partners
The SOE continues to maintain strong partnerships with schools and other educational agencies across our service area that includes Sonoma, Napa, Lake, and Mendocino counties and parts of Marin and Solano counties (Table 3.3.a). Additionally, a few candidates from other geographic regions enrolled at SSU to complete the Education Specialist and Administrative Services Professional Clear Credential programs. We currently have formal Memoranda of Understandings (MOU) for initial candidates with 31 districts (including county offices) and 87 schools in 7 counties. Additionally, advanced candidates work in 2 states, 17 districts, and 92 schools in 8 counties. The list of partner schools and their demographics illustrates the diversity of populations with whom our candidates work and the range of geographic regions where their schools are located.
While the specific features of each program’s field experiences and clinical practices are unique, all programs in the School of Education are framed by our Conceptual Framework and all field work and clinical practice is structured on common principals of collaboration, program design, implementation and evaluation.
Each program in the SOE has a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) (known by different names in different programs), with whom they typically meet one time each semester. The CAC is a forum to share updates and issues from across the region. Committee members also provide valuable advice and feedback about our programs. Issues specifically concerned with fieldwork and clinical practice that are discussed at CAC meetings include program development, implementation and evaluation of field experiences; the development of policies and procedures; and examining candidate work.
Design, Implementation and Evaluation of Field Experiences and Clinical Practice
While the CAC assists in developing the framework for our collaborative fieldwork and clinical practice structure, the policies and procedures for field placements and clinical practice are continually refined as we work with the individual districts and school sites. Initial program field placements are identified through contacts with district and site administrators. Additionally, university supervisors and SSU faculty working in the local schools recommend potential placement sites. Many of the partner schools have been working with SSU teacher candidates for many years and have long established working relationships with specific programs.
A Director of Field Placement works with each initial program and the local school districts to facilitate the placement process. While each program has different early field experiences, clinical practice and placement processes, across programs, candidates are placed with resident teachers who are accomplished professionals and meet the criteria outlined in each program’s handbook. University supervisors are selected on the basis of experience in the specific credential program area, evinced in faculty vitae. Each candidate begins fieldwork in a classroom to complete his or her early field experience that becomes the site of the candidate’s clinical practice. Interns are provided with a university supervisor and a site based mentor through our Intern partner, North Coast Beginning Teacher Program.
Candidates in Advanced programs often complete their fieldwork in their own classrooms/schools. Administrative and Education Specialist advanced candidates, including Administrative Interns, have a school-based mentor and program faculty supervisor who provide feedback and guidance throughout the program. Candidates in the Reading and Language Certificate and Credential Programs complete course assignments in their home classrooms as well as an intensive summer program at a local school. Pupil Personnel candidates have a more structured field placement process, completing a 3-step sequential training program through which they gain counseling skills. These placements are organized and supported by the coordinator of the Pupil Personnel Services Credential Program in collaboration with the school sites. In many Masters of Arts programs, field experiences involve curriculum development and/or implementation or research in conjunction with specific coursework or degree requirements (e.g., EDTE 543; EDCT 559 final project).