Placement of Candidates for Field and Clinical Experiences

The Center for Teacher Education sets policies concerning the number and nature of field experiences for each licensure program.  In the new semester curriculum, candidates will complete 210- 265 hours of pre-student teaching field experiences with most attached to specific professional education courses and supervised by full-time course faculty.  All candidates must have at least two experiences in schools with racial or ethnic diversity (one early in the program and one later in the program), at least one experience with special needs students, and at least one experience with ELL.  Other experiences are more open but may be specifically matched with particular school sites depending on the nature of the experience and the course.  The intent is to, as much as possible, give candidates broad and varied experiences in a range of settings.  More detail can be found beginning on p. 74 of the Teacher Education Handbook.  (In the quarter curriculum, candidates completed 188-408 hours of field experience with one experience in a racially/ethnically diverse setting, one experience with special needs students, an additional experience in a setting with diversity of some type, and others matched with specific courses.  The intent in curriculum redesign was to focus on the quality of the experiences while maintaining a manageable and consistent quantity of expectations.)

The Field Experience Placement Specialist is responsible for all candidate placements for field and clinical experiences.  For the two five-day field experiences, which are typically done near home over an academic break, the candidate works with the Placement Specialist to identify possible school sites which meet requirements for the particular experience.  The Placement Specialist then contacts the school administrative office to facilitate the placement.  More information on the two Five-Day Field Experiences can be found beginning on page 78 of the Teacher Education Handbook.  For course-related field experiences, the Field Experience Placement Specialist works with the administrative office contacts in local schools (typically within a forty-mile radius of Ada) to facilitate placements.  The faculty member teaching the related course may have input concerning sites which best match the needs of the course.  In addition, the Field Experience Placement Specialist maintains a database of all candidates and their previous placements to assure that all diversity placement requirements are met (sample record).  It is typical that the Field Experience Placement Specialist, working with the candidate's course schedule, coordinates with the school administrative staff (often a principal) to make requests.  The principal or representative then coordinates with school staff to facilitate matches with teachers for the requested experiences and communicates this placement information confirmation to the Field Experience Placement Specialist who then communicates with both the candidate and the course instructor (sample letters).

At the point of the application for clinical experience, candidates have had experiences in many classrooms and with many teachers.  Given that, the candidate may request the student teaching placement site given past experiences (Application for Student Teaching sample).  The Field Experience Placement Coordinator works with school administrators to facilitate these requests as much as is possible.  It is, of course, ultimately the decision of the principal and teacher whether the candidate will be accepted.  At any rate, the Field Experience Placement Coordinator secures the clinical experience placement for each candidate and communicates that information accordingly (sample letters).  Faculty members may work with the Placement Coordinator to suggest more positive matches for individual teacher candidates.