Practicum Requirements

Follow these steps to set up and carry out your practicum.

Getting Into Practicum

First you must meet the requirement to enter the practicum:

  • GPA: Minimum GPA of 3.1 in the seven library licensure courses .
  • Course portfolio competency ratings: All but one course out of the seven have to be rated at Proficient Level (3) or higher on the rating scale with none at the undocumented or minimal level.

If you have any problems with this, you must talk with the practicum coordinator to make arrangements to remedy the deficiencies. This may require retaking a course or doing additional projects to demonstrate the course competencies.

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Selecting a Site

There are two required a experiences: elementary and secondary. The elementary level can be in an elementary or middle school, and the secondary one in either middle or high school. The choice is up to you, but you can only do one middle school level practicum. Each practicum experiences is 100 hours long. For those who are current teachers or librarians on an emergency license, see the practicum options

At least one semester (five months) before you plan to do a practicum, meet with Eileen Schroeder to discuss possible sites. We want you to have the best possible experience, so we will try to help you find a school that has a good program, a full-time 902-licensed library media specialist who has been there at least a year, and a location as convenient as possible for you. This is not always easy, so we need to get started as early as possible. The practicum must be done AFTER you have completed student teaching and at the end of your coursework. Failure to plan ahead could result in not being able to do the practicum when you would like.

For undergrad minors and those not working in a school: The ideal situation is to do the 100 hours of a placement in consecutive full days (about 14 days). If you are student teaching and doing a middle school student teaching experience, we sometimes can work out a situation where you can do the practicum in your prep time, but this is not always possible. We reserve the right to approve your schedule to assure it provides an effective experience. 

For current teachers or librarians on emergency license: The requirement is five consecutive days at each level with additional projects done in one's own school(s). If you are working, there are several options for completing a practicum:

  • Seek a school that has a spring break other than yours and get a good number of hours during this time. Additional days will have to completed through another arrangement.
  • Use professional development and personal days to get into a school. 
  • Do one practicum in the summer at a school with a certified library media specialist. Only one summer practicum is allowed as this is not a realistic representation of a school program. This option may not be available in many parts of the state.
  • Complete a large portion of a practicum at the beginning or the end of the school year, especially at a school with a different start or stop date. This is often not satisfactory as the activities in the library don't represent a normal week.
  • Use your preparation time to work in a school library in your district or a neighboring district to carry out in-district projects. This is not an option for 5 consecutive days of the combined practicum. 
  • Seek sabbatical or release time from your district.

It is recommended that students do both practicum experiences outside their home district to get the widest possible experience, but it is recognized that this may not be possible in some cases. Students are allowed to do one experience in their home district, but this may not be in the school where they are currently working or where they have children attending school for the 5-consecutive days. The second experience must be in another district. The practicum sites must be approved by the practicum coordinator before finalizing them as each must have a 902-licensed library media specialist who has been there for at least a year and represents best practices in the field.

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Steps in Registering

  1. The practicum experiences should be done after your last class or in the semester in which you are taking your last class. Undergraduate students must first complete the student teaching experience. You must meet all the requirements detailed in the portfolio description.
  2. Schedule a review of your portfolio with Eileen Schroeder by April 1 for the fall and summer semesters and by November 15 for the spring semester. You can carry out the remaining steps, but being able to do one's practicum is contingent on passing this portfolio review.
  3. Discuss possible placements with Eileen Schroeder at least a semester before you want to go out into the schools. Once a site is approved, contact the library media specialist in that library to determine if he/she is willing to take a practicum student. If they are willing, set up dates and times during the UW-Whitewater semester or summer school. (These dates can be found in the schedule of classes). Remember, they are not getting paid for this, so they are doing you a favor. Be as considerate as possible when working out the dates and times of the practicum. Check the dates with Myragene before proceeding further. For certain sites, the university will have to make the first contact to pave the way. 
  4. Download the registration form - school or registration form - public library (from the Office of Field Experiences ,Winther 2038, Phone:262-472-1123, Email: Jodi Roehl).
  5. Fill out these forms and get the signatures of both the library media specialist and principal. It is important to get these back as quickly as possible as these are what triggers a contact with the cooperating LMS. These must be submitted to UWW by May 1 for the summer and fall experiences and November 15 for the spring experience. 
  6. Many schools now require a criminal background check. This takes at least 60 days, so make sure to plan enough lead time. Contact Jodi Roehl for more information.
  7. Practicum courses are at the graduate level:
      • If you are an undergraduate, you will have to complete a non-candidate for degree application for the Graduate Office and get a letter from your department chair allowing you to take graduate level courses. 
      • If you are a special student (undergraduate level), you will have to complete a non-candidate for degree application for the Graduate Office (262-472-1006).
      • If you are in a graduate program or are registered as a non-candidate for degree, you should be able to register with no problems. 
  8. Register for the course by May 1 for summer and fall experiences and December 1 for spring experiences. Check the schedule of classes for the appropriate catalog number. Choose the appropriate 3-credit course (LIBMEDIA 793e, for elementary and LIBMEDIA 793s for secondary, LIBMEDIA 793c for combined elementary / secondary practicum). If you are doing a public library practicum, it is a 3-credit undergraduate level course (EDFNDPRC 411). Registration is done via WINS over the web (https://uwwins.uww.edu/uwwins/)


NOTE: You are not allowed to begin a practicum if you do not have the signed forms returned to the Office of Field Experiences or if you are not registered for the class by the dates indicated.

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Practicum Procedures

School Lbrary Practicum

Each student should do the following for EACH practicum experience. Each experience should total 100 hours. This is 13-14 days, assuming a full day to be eight hours.  If you are doing a combined practicum, you will do one practicum agreement form but will need an application form fo each of your 5-day placements.  If you are doing the traditional elementary and secondary placements, you will do one agreement for each placement.

  • Meet with the practicum coordinator (Eileen Schroeder ) before starting the practicum (via phone, email or in person). Check with the coordinator for the deadline for this initial meeting.
    • Present your portfolio to the practicum coordinator. The coordinator will examine your grades and artifacts from each course as well as the areas you have identified for further work. These areas will provide the basis for development of your practicum plan.
    • Complete a practicum agreement form following the instructions provided on the practicum agreement webpage:
      • Develop a set of practicum goals, and proposed projects for accomplishing them during the experience, based on your portfolio goals and the five categories in the agreement. Describe areas (competencies) that need improvement. If none are identified, select areas that would benefit you most professionally. Any competencies with less than a Proficient rating must be addressed in the practicum.  If you are doing a combined practicum, all or most of these projects will be done in your own school.  
        • Use the checklist of potential activities for ideas
        • Talk with your cooperating librarian early. If you plan to do one of the projects in a 5-day placement, the cooperating library media specialist can provide ideas and feedback on the proposed project.  If you are doing the two traditional 100-hour placements, the cooperating librarian must approve the projects do be done in his/her school.  
        • You should have at least one major goal in each area across the two practicum experiences and others as agreed upon with the practicum coordinator and your univeristy supervisor. For those doing LIBMEDIA 793c (combined practicum) most or all of these projects will be done in the time in your own district, you could have a project in each 5-day experience, possibly one involving work with students and teachers in an instructional or reference setting.
      • Develop an implementation plan for accomplishing goals, including projected products and evaluation methods.
      • Discuss the goals and implementation plan with the practicum coordinator. This should include details on the timeline for the practicum and a description of the format for the final product / report demonstrating achievement of the goals.
      • The university practicum coordinator and the university supervisor must approve the form before you actually begin the practicum.
  • Set up a practicum portfolio site.  This could be an extension of your course portfolio site.  Send the URL to your university superivsor.  
    • For the traditional 100-hour practicum placements, post weekly updates (log with reflections). 
    • For those doing LIBMEDIA 793c, add an update at the end of each 5-day experience in a school and every two weeks on the projects done in your own district.
  • Carry out the activities detailed in the practicum proposal during the experience. For those doing the elementary and secondary 100-hour practicum experiences, these projects will all be done during those placements.  For those doing the combined practicum, some of this may be done during the on-site hours but most work will be done in your own school to reach the goals.
    • For those doing LIBMEDIA 793c, much of the work on in-district goals will be done outside of the 5-day experiences.  On the first day of each 5-day experiences, take a few photos that provide a pictures of the library and its program (without recognizable students in the photos).  Put these with a short description of your first impressions in your practicum portfolio at the end of your first day.
  • With the cooperating librarian, go over and discuss or do the activities on the checklist (public library, school library).
  • Work with the cooperating librarian at each site to go through or discuss the checklist of activities.
  • Visit with the university supervisor twice on-site in the traditional 100-hour practicum experiences. One of these may be the initial goal-setting meeting.
    • For those doing LIBMEDIA 793c, this will be one visit in your own school to observe work on your projects and video or phone visits in each of your five-day placements.
  • Complete a final report demonstrating achievement of the goals / projects by the week before the end of the semester in which the practicum is completed.  This should be in your practicum portfolio.
  • The cooperating library media specialist will complete an evaluation form that will be shared with you for posting in the portfolio, sent to the university supervisor, and sent to the Office of Field Experiences.

Public Library Practicum

This 150-hour placement (EDFOUND 411) takes place at the end of all the minor coursework.   

  • Set up goals for the practicum.  There will be specific programming and collection development activities as part of these goals. Discuss this with the practicum coordinator.  
  • Keep a weekly log of activities and reflections.
  • Work with the cooperating librarian to go through the checklist of activities.
  • Visit with the university supervise twice on site.
  • At the end of the practicum, post a summary of progress on your goals and reflect on the following questions:
    • What would be your first priorities if you were starting a new library job at the type of library where you have just completed the practicum?
    • What insights would you draw from this practicum experience? Address the following areas:
      • Providing intellectual and physical access to information and ideas
      • Serving a diverse population with changing needs
      • Selecting, acquiring, organizing, and providing access to resources, activities, and experiences that reflect a diversity of viewpoints
      • Ensuring equity and freedom of access unimpeded by social, cultural, economic, geographic or technological constraints
      • Promoting literacy and enjoyment of reading
      • Offering assistance patrons in the use of information technologies
      • Developing, implementing, and evaluating library programs to meet community needs
      • Management of personnel, resources, budget, and facilities
      • Evaluating and selecting resources to build and maintain a resource collection that includes both internal and external access points to support the needs of the community
      • Implementing policies and procedures for effective and efficient acquisition, cataloging, processing, circulating, and maintaining resources
      • Promoting the library program
      • Pursuing opportunities to collaborate with the wider community
    • What goals would you set for yourself in the first year of a new job?

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Practicum Portfolio

The FINAL TASK is to submit your portfolio to your university supervisor in electronic format. Students are expected to create an electronic portfolio for each practicum experience and add these on to the course portfolio. These are brought together when the student applies for 902 with stipulations licensure (school library) or when completing the public library practicum. This final portfolio is examined by the library media faculty at UW-Whitewater when granting this licensure. It is your responsibility, not the cooperating librarians to complete this. You should not expect to complete it during your hours in the school.

Parts

Artifacts

Project Documentation
Each project done in your portfolio should results in materials that show what the student has done. This may include lesson plans, web pages, documents, photos, etc. These should be included in electronic format in the portfolio. The student may have to scan some of these to turn them into electronic format, but most can be included as Word documents, PDF files, graphics files, or HTML documents.
Evidence of Success
In addition to the documentation of the project, the student will need to include the evidence of success, including a summary of this. This may include teacher or library media specialist surveys, written observations or comments (paraphrasing is fine here), test scores with summarization, sample student products with rubrics showing achievement of skills taught, etc.
Log
The daily log with the hours and activities undertaken and reflections about them should be included next. This can be in grid or narrative format but should clearly show how time was spent. The student should make sure to include time spent on projects in his /her own or other schools and / or activities at conferences. For those doing the LIBMEDIA 793c practicum, check with the university supervisor for the frequency of the log entries.
Reflection
The reflection on each project should describe how the student feels the project demonstrates mastery of the 902 with stipulations licensure competencies and where he / she feels it necessary to continue to develop knowledge and skills, with specific reference to your project. The focus should be mainly on the competencies the practicum agreement said were covered in the project, but the student may reflect on the category of competencies as a whole.
A final reflection on each experience should look at all the student accomplished during the time and describe where he / she feels there are strengths and weaknesses are in the five categories which cover all seven of the program's courses.
  • Access (Finding and Using Information)
  • Collection Management and Use (Cataloging and Classification, literature courses)
  • Instructional Leadership (Information Literacy, Children's Literature, Young Adult Literature)
  • Technology (Digital Tools)
  • Administration (Library Administration)
See public library practicum agreement form for appropriate categories for that experience.

Organization

The portfolio should be organized in the following way:
  • Practicum agreement (student may have to scan the signature page to include it)
  • Practicum checklist of activities (use electronic version in Microsoft Word to indicate what was have done or scan as PDF)
  • Practicum log
  • Artifacts and reflections arranged by the five categories of competencies set out by DPI.  Public library practicum goals will have a different format.
    • Access
    • Collection Management and Use
    • Instructional Leadership
    • Technology
    • Administration
  • Final reflection on experience (one for elementary and one for secondary if doing traditional 100-hour practicum)
At the end of the first practicum, the student may have items in only some of these categories. By the end of the second practicum he / she should have at least one project in each category . The projects should be put in the categories where they demonstrate the most competencies but indicate how they might meet competencies in the other categories in the reflection.
At the end of the second practicum, the student should include the following for both experiences:
  • Cooperating library media specialist evaluations
  • University supervisor recommendations (letters only)
The student may have to scan these documents for inclusion. PDF format is the best for this purpose. Make sure none of the files names have spaces in them and all have the correct extension (e.g., .doc, .pdf, .jpg).

Storage

The portfolio must be submitted in electronic format. This can be done by putting all items on a CD and sending it to the university supervisor, by loading it on one's own webserver and sending the URL to the university supervisor, or by publishing it on the web through a site such as GoogleSites or Weebly. Make sure the university supervisor has permission to view the site.

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Student Authorization to Release Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA or the Buckley Amendment) is a federal law that afford students certain rights with respect to their educational records. Under FERPA, school officials, including instructors, university supervisors, and cooperating library media specialists, are prohibited from disclosing educational records or discussing a student's performance in a course or in any field experience without signed authorization from the student.

The written statement of reference written on behalf of a student by a cooperating library media specialist or university supervisor does not provide that person with authorization to discuss the student's performance with anyone other than the student, university supervisor, or other faculty member who has demonstrated a professional need to know, even if the letter is given directly to the student and even if the letter welcomes telephone calls or other inquiries about the student.

Therefore, all students must provide the cooperating library media specialist and university supervisor with a completed and signed Student Authorization for Release of Education Record Information form if they wish to authorize these individuals to disclose educational records or discuss their performance. For information about FERPA and to obtain a copy of the Student Authorization form, go to the website of the UW-Whitewater Office Of The Registrar (http://www.uww.edu/registrar/). On left side of the screen under Quicklinks, click the heading FERPA where links are provided to an overview, basic rules and the form. Questions on this should be directed to the Registrar's Office (262-472-1570). It is the student's responsibility to obtain a signed form. The cooperating library media specialist and university supervisor should keep a copy of the signed form.

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Supervisors

Eileen Schroeder (schroede@uww.edu)
Barbara Erdman (erdmanbe@uwec.edu)
Sherry Freiberg (freibs@charter.net) 
Carolyn Messer (cyberian@ticon.net)

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