Field experiences begin in the freshman year in order to give entering students an opportunity to experience the school environment first hand and to help connect course content to real life experience. During the freshman and sophomore years, middle level majors participate in weekly field placements. In order to provide middle level majors with diverse experiences, they are reassigned to new schools each year. Juniors are placed in area partner schools for one full day per week. All course work connects to these field experiences.
The Director for Education Field Placements works to ensure that students are placed in a variety of settings: A special and general education settings as well as urban and suburban schools. The rationale is to provide teacher candidates with opportunities to experience a wide range of school placements that serve students with broad developmental, learning, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds.
In order to participate in field experiences, all Education majors must have current legal clearances on file in the Education Department, which are to be renewed annually. The clearances required are the following: Pennsylvania criminal background, Pennsylvania child abuse, FBI fingerprints, and negative TB test. These clearances are mandated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for all Education-related field experiences. Those students not in compliance with legal clearances will be prevented from being placed in field experiences and students will be prevented from continuing further in the Education program.
The Professional Year
Middle level majors also participate in a professional semester devoted to working in a general education or in an inclusion classroom. Student teaching placements are monitored by the Director for Education Field Placements in accordance with Pennsylvania Department of Education Certification guidelines.