3a1. In what ways have the unit’s partners participated in the design, delivery, and evaluation of the unit’s field and clinical experiences?
The College of Education has had a long and distinguished history of collaborating with schools, school districts, and a wide variety of other facilities including preschools, Head Start Centers, libraries and counseling centers. Cooperating teachers, principals and other school officials such as district administrators and directors of instruction are considered partners in the design, delivery and evaluation of the unit’s field and clinical experiences. For advanced programs, school personnel in the relevant positions, such as school psychologists and school business managers, also contribute to the partnership(s). Partners are frequently consulted through formal and informal surveys and regular Unit participation in the Cooperative Educational Service Agency #2 (CESA monthly meetings.
3a2. In what ways have the unit’s partners contributed to the design, delivery, and evaluation of the unit’s field and clinical experiences?
Partners contribute in a variety of ways to the design, delivery and evaluation of the Unit’s field and clinical experiences. Every program has an advisory board that meets on a regular basis providing an essential link to the ongoing evaluation of programs. Teachers who enroll in CIGENRL 770 Supervision of Student Teachers give ongoing feedback about the changing nature of the classroom and how the unit may continue to improve itself. The Office of Field Experiences distributes frequent surveys to partners to solicit feedback and ideas about the clinical programs. The Director of Field Experiences regularly attends CESA monthly meetings for district administrators, principals, directors of instruction, and curriculum directors in the unit’s service area. Partners played a key role in the redesign of the Special Education Department’s core program offerings and the recent redesign of the MSE-PD master’s degree.
3a3. What is the role of the unit and its school partners in determining how and where candidates are placed for field experiences, student teaching, and internships?
Student teacher placements are determined by Unit personnel “program coordinators,” on the basis of licensing requirements and previous student experiences in field study. The conceptual framework relies on program coordinators as they are best suited to determine where students are placed and provide a vital link between the partner schools and the various programs. School partners are also asked for feedback through student teacher evaluations and exit surveys and other program evaluations. Although some attempt is made to meet student requests, the major emphasis is on high quality placement sites and cooperating teachers. Approximately 98 to 99% of all placements are within the Unit’s service area, with provisions for “out of area” placements for only the most compelling reasons. As a long-standing member of the Wisconsin Improvement Program (WIP), internships are approved by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction based on a clearly defined application procedure as defined in their handbook. In addition, care is taken to determine student placements to ensure diverse experiences as explained in Standard 4. In making recommendations for student teaching placements, the program coordinators must know if a student was in a diverse placement for field study/other middle experience, and if not, they MUST place them in a diverse school for student teaching. See additional information in Standard 4 section.
3a4. How do the unit and its school partners share expertise and resources to support candidates’ learning in field experiences and clinical practice?
Observation instruments completed by university supervisors for some field experiences and all clinical practice experiences are collected by the Office of Field Experiences. A minimum of four student teacher observation reports, based on sixty minutes of classroom teaching over an eighteen week semester is completed for every student. Midpoint/interim and final evaluation instruments are completed by cooperating teachers for all student teachers. The Initial Programs Dispositions Inventory is completed by student teachers, cooperating teachers and university supervisors and returned to the unit. These data are available to any program at any time for longitudinal study or semester by semester examination. The Unit views partner schools and cooperating teachers as providing a programmatic service, and as such, we do not provide funding to the schools. Cooperating teachers are awarded vouchers that can be redeemed for professional publications and are eligible to apply for small Office of Field Experience grants to assist them in their work.
3a5. What differences, if any, exist in collaboration with school partners in programs for other school professionals, off-campus programs, and distance learning programs?
There are few differences between initial and advanced programs in the way the Unit collaborates with school partners. Every program relies on clinical experiences in the schools and works hard to maintain relationships and seek advice from these partners. Programs for other school professionals handle their own clinical placements and follow the guidelines set forth by their specialty organization. This is detailed in each national program report.