The Coronavirus, States and Educator Preparation Programs

AACTE Responds to COVID-19

A series of unprecedented events are forcing states across the country to close schools and universities.  As school leaders scramble to identify pathways and strategies to protect the health of students and staff, many of them must also attend to the unique challenges of their teaching students who are in limbo because of  the coronavirus crisis. 

Many states have not yet provided guidance to schools of education on how to lead and advise this special class of students. As a result, many teacher candidates are waiting to learn how, or even if, they will be able to fulfill the requirements of their programs and graduate. Given the unparalleled nature of events, it is understandable if some states are not fully prepared to address this specific concern, but there are a few notable exceptions. In the absence of legislative guidance, states like California, Kentucky, Iowa, and South Carolina have instructively addressed the most pressing concerns pertaining to teacher preparation in their states. 

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing maintains and up-to-date webpage where they attempt to answer  the most common questions from educators and employing agencies regarding credentialing requirements, policies, and application procedures. The Commission is particularly concerned about candidates’ ability to complete clinical practice and performance assessment requirements during this academic year, and is looking for ways to mitigate this situation. It has prepared a memo to help guide the decision-making by deans and directors of education on the subject.

The Iowa Department of Education Guidance recognizes that student teachers are having difficulty meeting their teaching and field experience requirements. The Department is suggesting that teacher preparation programs ask faculty members to determine if they have sufficient data, when considered as a whole, to deem these requirements satisfied and recommend a preservice teacher for licensure, even if they have not met all pre-established requirements.

The Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) organized a website to answer the most frequently asked questions by state student teacher coordinators such as the following: Can Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI) days be used to meet the 70-day requirement for student teaching placement? What type of documentation should the EPPs maintain on site or submit for NTI activities? How should we address if students scheduled to student teach in the fall are unable to complete their 200 hours this semester due to school closures? The Kentucky EPSB is committed to updating and adding to these questions regularly as the crisis evolves.  

The South Carolina Board of Education has crafted a set of emergency provisions for clinical experience that require teacher candidates to adhere to all policies of the enrolling institution and school districts in which they have been placed for clinical experiences. The guidance includes the board’s approved minimum requirements for the clinical or student teaching experience and its recommendation and requirements for modifying the clinical experience as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. 

As this situation evolves, this information may help interested parties as they consider their own pathways forward in this crisis. AACTE is working to organize a resource hub of such information for its members in addition to other resources and examples of practices, procedures, and strategies that programs across the country are using to address the challenges faced by their teacher candidates.  In the coming weeks, visit aacte.org for webinars and additional materials to help guide members in these trying times. 

If you have additional guidelines from your state that we can add to AACTE resources, please email gra@aacte.org.

 


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