Clinical Studies for Education Programs
Getting Ready for the Clinical Semester
Criminal Background Checks
Delaware Criminal Background Checks and a review of the Child Protection Registry are required for all Wilmington University teacher interns. This is a state requirement and applies regardless of whether you are placed in Delaware or outside of the state. This also applies to students who are currently employed by a district (they have to get a new Background Check). Additional information regarding this requirement can be found on the Clinical Studies site.
Importance of the Internet and E-Mail
ALL communications related to the clinical semester (placements, announcements of orientation meetings, seminar information, announcements of job fairs, etc.) are accomplished via the student’s Wilmington University e-mail account. It is essential that students check their account regularly. Some clinical advisors ask that weekly schedules and lesson plans be submitted via e-mail. In addition, clinical courses and BS weekly seminars make use of web resources such as Blackboard. Candidates who do not have home e-mail access can use computer facilities at any university site at no cost.
Orientation sessions are held prior to the beginning of the clinical semester, usually in December and August. The sessions are conducted at the New Castle and Dover sites. These sessions are important because they give candidates the opportunity to meet student teaching colleagues and supervisors, ask questions, obtain materials, and receive the latest information about student teaching and certification requirements.
Candidates are notified by email when school placements have been confirmed. The University makes an effort to confirm all placements early enough to permit contact with mentor teachers and partner schools well before student teaching begins. Candidates are asked not to contact schools directly requesting information on the status of their placements. Several school districts have restrictive and punitive policies on this issue. Making such contacts can jeopardize placements. Please note that school districts maintain absolute control over student teacher placements, and may not honor requests for specific schools and/or teachers. Some districts also have policies that deny or restrict placements for applicants whose children attend district schools or who have family members working in those schools. In addition, Wilmington University does not place candidates in schools in which immediate family members are employed.
Candidates are expected to contact mentor teachers and placement schools as soon as the placements are confirmed. Student teachers and mentor teachers then need to establish communication strategies and begin planning for the transition into the classroom and school. Some districts and some building principals conduct personal interviews with student teaching applicants prior to placement. All students are required to be registered for student teaching before they begin their placement. You will be notified if interviews or additional application steps are required.
Student teachers are placed only in approved settings (accredited, board-managed schools), with certified mentor teachers, and are assigned to teach only those content areas and age groups that are appropriate for the candidates' areas of program concentration and certification. As noted above, Wilmington University does not place candidates in schools in which immediate family members are employed.
Students register and make payment arrangements for student teaching during the regular college registration period. A lab fee is charged in addition to normal tuition costs. This fee helps offset stipends paid to mentor teachers. No candidate may begin a clinical placement without proof of registration and a Wilmington University photo ID. This is an important legal and liability issue.
For AS majors ECE 216 Z* - 6 credits
For BS 0-K majors ECE 450, 9 credits
For BS K-4 & 5-8 majors EDU 451, 15 credits
For BS K-6 & 7-8 majors EDU 451, 9 credits
For MEE K-6 majors MEE 8801, 9 credits
For MAT 7-12 majors, MAS 8801, 9 credits
For MSE majors MSE 8802, 6 - 9 credits
*This course requires an academic approval form. See the Regional Chair for Clinical Studies prior to registration.
Requests for Out-Of-State Clinical Placements
Candidates considering out-of-state clinical placements (practicum and/or student teaching) need to be aware of the following issues and conditions:
- Candidates requesting out-of-state clinical placements must provide the following information along with their applications for clinical placements (by October 1 for spring placements and by March 1 for fall placements):
- Complete name and address of requested school district and/or school.
- Complete name, address, title, telephone number, and e-mail address of the school official(s) in charge of coordinating and/or approving clinical placements.
- Information regarding application procedures, forms, or packets (timelines, documents required, test score requirements, TB and medical requirements, etc.).
- Following receipt of the information described above, the University will make an official contact with the requested school district or school to inquire about placement possibilities. Students are cautioned to avoid making direct, personal requests for placements. While it is appropriate to seek general information about application procedures, many districts insist that only the colleges make requests for placements, and some will refuse a request if it is made in any other manner. This is to protect schools and districts from hundreds of requests from individual students.
- Multiple, non-specific, open-ended placement requests such as "I want to be placed in any nearby PA school district" "or I would like a placement in my hometown" are not appropriate. This could mean making formal requests for placements in many different schools and districts, and could be very cumbersome, time-consuming, and unfair to other applicants who deserve an equitable share of our placement efforts.
- Although we have been successful in arranging clinical placements for many Wilmington University teacher preparation students who want to student teach in other states, we cannot guarantee that special requests for clinical placements in states other than Delaware will be honored. There are many reasons for this, including:
- the reluctance of some school districts to accept student teachers from other states and, in some cases, regulations that restrict such placements;
- differing timelines and procedures for placements (some districts require applications one year in advance, some require transcripts and résumés, some require personal interviews, etc.);
- unwillingness of some out-of-state schools to permit student teachers to attend seminars that are held at the University, and difficulties students encounter because of travel time and distance related to seminar attendance;
- lack of partnership agreements between the University and out-of-state school districts;
- differing eligibility standards (e.g., background checks, medical exams, PRAXIS I and PRAXIS II test scores, GPA, etc.);
- contractual quotas and partnership arrangements in effect between some out-of-state school districts and other teacher-preparation institutions;
- difficulties in arranging for the level and forms of supervision required by Delaware Program Approval standards;
- out-of-state districts' lack of familiarity with Delaware and Wilmington University programs and requirements (e.g., Wilmington University clinical components that stress placement of student teacher teams with teams of trained mentors, and instructional components based on the Pathwise™ Framework for Teaching);
- inability of school mentors from other states to attend training and orientation sessions at Wilmington University; and
- out-of-state school districts' lack of familiarity with Delaware's content and professional teaching standards, and other states' standards that might be quite different from those used in Delaware.
- All Wilmington University teacher preparation programs are approved by the State of Delaware. Because our programs are DE state-approved, program elements must conform to Delaware standards and requirements. All Wilmington University teacher preparation program components are based on those standards, regardless of where the clinical placements occur.
- Completion of a Wilmington University teacher preparation degree guarantees that graduates will receive a Delaware initial teaching license in specific areas of concentration (0-K, K-6, 6-8, 7-12 or special education grades 1-8). Although there are certification reciprocity agreements in effect between Delaware and most states, students may still have to meet additional requirements such as course-work in state history, state certification tests, and PRAXIS II tests to qualify for a teaching license in other states.
- Many teacher candidates are surprised to learn that teaching licenses are not the same from state to state in terms of grade levels and content areas. For example, DE issues a K-6 certificate, but PA issues a Nursery-Grade 6 certificate (N-6). MD has a Nursery-Grade 3 (N-3) and an Elementary Education (Grade 1-6 including Middle School). Understanding, negotiating, and satisfying the certification rules and procedures of different states can be tricky. You should contact the appropriate state board of education if you have questions regarding certification issues in that state. All state teacher certification agencies are listed in the Handbook for Teacher Candidates (available at the Wilmington University bookstore).
Some Practical Advice
- make arrangements for reliable transportation
- make sure that you have a telephone answering machine and an e-mail account
- put together a comfortable, professional-looking wardrobe
- invest in some durable, comfortable shoes
- practice your teacher face and "the look"
- put together a repertoire of "sponge," transition and "fun" activities
- learn some interesting games, songs and/or playground activities you can teach your students
- get your teaching materials and resources organized
- organize artifacts and materials from courses to include in your professional portfolio
- get or borrow digital and video cameras to make a photographic record of your experience
- arrange for plenty of support at home (teaching is physically and emotionally demanding)
- resolve to get adequate rest and to eat a balanced and healthful diet
- don't try to work a second job, even part time - there just isn't enough time
- resolve to stop smoking (smoking is not permitted in or around any Delaware public school)
- try to build up your immune system ... get into the "hand-washing habit"
- refresh your knowledge of basic first-aid techniques and emergency procedures
- keep up to date on state and local education-related political issues
- find out about what's happening in your placement school district
- find out about what's happening in your placement school (special events, trips, meetings, etc.)
- read professional journals and magazines
- talk to other educators or former student teachers and ask for tips and advice
- plan to get actively involved in the lives of your students and their families
- resolve to demonstrate personal initiative and responsibility
- don't be afraid to ask questions or admit that you don't know something
- arrange for at least one other "pair of eyes" to proofread and help you edit all written work
- resolve to accept constructive criticism ... don't be a "know-it-all"
- remember that you are a beginning professional ... you are expected to make mistakes
- remember that you are a guest in your placement school
- resolve to take advantage of outside teaching resources (curriculum lab, Teacher Center, etc.)
- don't forget that the professional educational community is a tightly-knit network ... everything you do will be noticed ... and everything can have an impact on your career
- resolve to establish friendly, cooperative relationships with your placement school's support staff (secretaries, custodians, cafeteria personnel, special teachers, bus drivers, etc.)
- resolve to avoid your placement school's faculty room as much as possible
- distance yourself from school cliques, gossip, and petty political issues
- resolve to never talk about children and school matters in an unprofessional manner
- remember that you are going to become a major factor in the lives of children, and those children will have an enormous impact on you
- Finally, remember that the Wilmington University student teachers who have preceded you have earned a reputation for professionalism, a broad background of real world experience, a commitment to social action and justice, a belief in the high potential and dignity of all human beings, a well-developed work-ethic, up-to-date teaching methods, an unwavering conviction that all children can and will learn, and high levels of energy and enthusiasm. Schools will expect that you will make a positive contribution and that you will try hard to exemplify all of Delaware's Professional Teaching Standards, so ... relax ... this should be fun!
Textbooks, Materials, and Internet Resources
The following textbooks and materials are required for all practica and student teaching:
Enhancing Professional Practice: A Framework for Teaching
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (1996)
Delaware Professional Teaching Standards
(Available online at: http://www.doe.k12.de.us)
Delaware Content Standards
(Available online at: http://www.doe.k12.de.us)
Additional requirements are listed by course below.
Practicum II (EDU 391, MEE 7997)
Parkay, F.W., & Stanford, B. H.
Becoming a Teacher, 6th Ed. (2004)
Practicum III (EDU 392, MEE 7998)
Johns, Jerry L.
Basic Reading Inventory – Preprimer through Grade 12, 9th Edition 2005
Wilmington University Handbook for Teacher Candidates
(Available at the University Bookstore)
Tuberculosis and Health Screening
All candidates for supervised field experiences (practicum and student teaching) are required to provide proof of a negative PPD tuberculin test, administered within 12 months of the beginning of the placement. The test must be valid for the duration of the placement. Candidates must also provide the Health Certificate Form prior to student teaching. This is a brief statement from a health care provider certifying the candidate to be free from physical and/or emotional factors that might interfere with success as a student teacher. This statement should be dated within 12 months of the beginning of the placement. Copies of complete medical histories should NOT be submitted, since they sometimes contain sensitive and/or confidential information. Both the completed TB form and Health Certificate Form are to be attached to the application for student teaching. Retain copies of both forms for your future use.
Please refer to the academic catalog for the year you began your degree program.