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AAQEP Accreditation 2022

Standard 3: Aspect B

Preparation programs ensure that candidates, upon completion, are ready to engage in professional practice, to adapt to a variety of professional settings, and to grow throughout their careers. Effective program practices include: consistent offering of coherent curricula; high-quality quality, diverse clinical experiences; dynamic, mutually beneficial partnerships with stakeholders; and comprehensive and transparent quality assurance processes informed by trustworthy evidence. Each aspect of the program is appropriate to its context and to the credential or degree sought.

Description of rationale for partnerships:
As the field of educator preparation is evolving toward a more clinically-oriented approach (National Center for Teacher Residencies, 2015; National Research Council, 2010), we acknowledge the important role that the needs and funds of knowledge within the surrounding community play in designing and implementing effective teacher preparation programs. In particular, partnerships between university-based teacher credential programs and the school districts they serve have been identified as a critical lever for effectively preparing new teachers. Although district-university partnerships are not a new concept, evidence now points to the importance of the depth and authenticity of the partnership relationship in having a true impact on teacher development and K-12 student outcomes (e.g., Holen & Yunk, 2014). Authentic district-university partnerships are one of the three main levers for effective teacher preparation that are often identified in the literature, along with an emphasis on rigorous clinical experience and stronger theory-to-practice connections (Holen & Yunk, 2014; Myran, Crum & Clayton, 2010).

Multiple Subject candidates are placed in public schools in our partner districts’ schools within the university’s service area, which encompasses four counties: Fresno County; Kings County; Madera County; Tulare County. All four counties have both urban and rural areas with ethnically diverse populations. Clinical practice placements in schools in these counties reflect the socioeconomic and cultural diversity of the Central Valley, including support for English learners/emergent bilinguals, and provide opportunities for teacher candidates to work with learners with diverse learning backgrounds.  

The Office of Clinical Practice (OCP) oversees and facilitates the placement of all candidates in partner schools, based on the candidates’ input provided on their clinical placement applications submitted the semester prior in Tk20, our data management system for clinical experiences. OCP creates a master spreadsheet of placement information from the candidates’ applications to share with the point placement person in each partner district. The Coordinator of Clinical Practice works with the districts’ point persons to ensure that placements that meet the State’s Clinical Standards criteria for placement sites are made for all student teacher candidates. In addition, the Coordinator of Clinical Practice works with the Program Coordinators to make appropriate matches of candidates to their clinical supervisors, the University Clinical Coaches. 

Multiple Subject candidates have three options for completing their clinical experiences in our partner schools: student teaching, internship, and teacher residency. The traditional pathway is student teaching with placements facilitated by the Office of Clinical Practice. The second option is a university internship for eligible candidates who meet the intern eligibility requirements and who have been offered employment as teachers of record in general education teaching positions within the university’s service area. The third option is a Teacher Residency model, established to meet the district’s high-need hiring needs in the local area. Teacher Residency  programs consist of the following eight characteristics as documented by the Learning Policy Institute:

  1. Strong district/university partnerships
  2. Coursework about teaching and learning tightly integrated with clinical practice
  3. Full-year residency teaching alongside an expert mentor teacher
  4. High-ability, diverse candidates recruited to meet specific district hiring needs, typically in fields where there are shortages
  5. Financial support for residents in exchange for a three- to five-year teaching commitment
  6. Cohorts of residents placed in “teaching schools” that model good practices with diverse learners and are designed to help novices learn to teach
  7. Expert mentor teachers who co-teach with residents
  8. Ongoing mentoring and support for graduates (Guha, Hyler, and Darling-Hammond, 2016). 

These characteristics serve as a guide for teacher residency programs at Fresno State, however, based on district partners' needs, each residency program is individualized and may adapt these characteristics for the local context. For example, not all residency programs offer financial support to Teacher Residents in exchange for a teaching commitment within the district. Currently, five residency programs help teacher candidates earn their preliminary multiple subject credential consisting of partnerships with eight school districts:

  • Clovis Teacher Residency Program- Multiple Subject Credential with an emphasis on culturally sustaining practices in partnership with Clovis Unified
  • Fresno Teacher Residency Program- Multiple Subject Credential with a dual focus on STEM, SPED, and Dual Language Immersion Programs in Spanish and Hmong in partnership with Fresno Unified
  • Madera Teacher Residency Program- Multiple Subject Credential with a focus on Dual Language Immersion Programs in Spanish in partnership with Madera Unified
  • Sanger Teacher Residency Program- Multiple Subject Credential with a focus on Universal Design for Learning in partnership with Sanger Unified.
  • Rural Teacher Residency Partnership- Multiple Subject Credential with an emphasis on trauma-informed practices in partnership with Fresno County Superintendent of Schools, Firebaugh-Los Deltas Unified, Kerman Unified, Mendota Unified, and Golden Plains Unified.  

Description of clinical experiences in which candidates participate:
Clinical experiences are the cornerstone of effective teacher preparation. Participation in clinical experiences allows teacher candidates to apply the learning from coursework into practice and to receive coaching and feedback to improve implementation. Clinical experiences include candidate observations of the classroom environment, observations of the students for the purpose of gathering information, observations of the Master/Mentor Teacher’s instructional and classroom management approaches, developing lesson plans, preparing materials, teaching lessons, co-teaching, assessing students’ progress, self-reflection, attending meetings and professional learning sessions with the Master/Mentor Teacher, and participation in all other teacher activities at the school. Teacher Candidates are also responsible for uploading their clinical practice agreements, lesson plans, reflections, videos, related documents, and time logs of their clinical hours into Tk20, the clinical practice data system. 

All phases of the Multiple Subject Credential Program include an array of clinical experiences. In each clinical experience, teacher candidates have three support persons: a district-assigned, fully credentialed, and experienced teacher who may be referred to as the Master, Cooperating or Mentor Teacher (although Mentor Teacher is the preferred term in the program), a university-assigned Clinical Practice Coach, and a university-assigned coursework instructor. Candidates are required to increase the amount of time spent in clinical placements over the arc of the program increasing their responsibilities based on a gradual release plan that is developmental in nature and offers a set of sequential activities that are adjusted to meet the needs of each teacher candidate. 

Clinical supervision of teacher candidates is conducted by both district-based experienced teachers (i.e., mentor teachers) and University Clinical Practice Coaches. Mentor Teachers must hold a Clear Credential in the content area for which they are providing supervision and have a minimum of three years of content area K-12 teaching experience. The Mentor Teacher must have demonstrated exemplary teaching practices as determined by the employing district performance evaluations. The matching of the Teacher Candidate and the Mentor Teacher is a collaborative process between the school district and the program. 

The University Clinical Practice Coach must be an expert in the content area of the candidate being supervised and should have recent professional experiences in school settings where the curriculum aligns with California’s adopted content standards and frameworks and the school reflects the diversity of California’s student population. All have many years of teaching experience and hold Master’s degrees or higher. The role of the University Coach is to support and guide teacher candidates to develop their instructional, organizational, and professional skills. 

University Clinical Practice Coaches conduct six formal observations of lessons developed and taught by each candidate. They also facilitate three triad meetings with Mentor Teacher and Candidate (initial, mid-term, and final performance review meetings). During each observation, the candidate records the lesson and uploads the recording for the University Coach to view. The Coach creates scripted notes and time-stamped annotations that are discussed with the candidate at each debriefing meeting following the formal lesson with the purpose of providing feedback to both affirm and improve instruction. In addition, coaches verify time logs, review each candidate’s six formal lesson plans in advance of the lesson implementation, read and comment on post-lesson reflections and weekly reflections on learning and provide additional contacts and resources as needed. At the mid and final points of the semester, triad meetings are conducted with the Mentor Teacher, University Coach, and candidate to discuss the candidate’s overall performance, provide feedback on strengths and growth areas, and guide the candidate in setting professional goals. The University Coach is the primary means of support in clinical practice. Through classroom visits, informal and formal observations, and feedback sessions, the candidates receive actionable feedback and emotional support.  

Table 1: Number of Hours of Clinical Practice

Course title Brief Description Number of Hours
EHD 178: Field Study B Initial supervised clinical practice field experience in an elementary general education classroom 288 hours
EHD 170: Field Study C Final supervised clinical practice field experience in an elementary general education classroom 550 hours

Table 2: Internship Clinical Practice Hours (taken when above courses are either completed or prior to final student teaching if CSETs are not passed)

Course title Brief Description Number of Hours
EHD 160A and 160B Supervised field experience for Multiple Subject interns, taken when interns have completed all clinical practice coursework in their program and need additional clinical practice support for the internship. 550 hours

Partnerships Table:

* = Identified as high needs, based on the following criteria:

  • English Learner, low-income (measured by free/reduced-price meals), foster youth
  • High-Needs Schools: >55% students identified as high-needs
  • High-Needs Districts: >55% students identified as high-needs

Multiple Subject candidates are placed and employed across the Central Valley. We try to cluster at least 4 teacher candidates at a school site within the school districts that agree to support the greatest number of teacher candidates, however, that is not always feasible. 

Table 3: Student Teacher Placements, 2019-2021

Aspect C →