UHCL School of Education recognized for exemplary practices

School of Education’s teacher preparation practices recognized by state initiative
Pictured, Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education Donna Kirkwood (l), assists UHCL teacher candidate Rebeka Hazelet (r) with three-year old Khadija Dodo Seriki during a practicum session in the university’s early childhood model classroom.

University of Houston-Clear Lake School of Education has been cited for excellence by the Quest for Quality Teacher Preparation in Texas project for two of its programs, the Two-Semester Internship and the Early Childhood Model Classroom and Practicum. The Quest for Quality Teacher Preparation in Texas project is a state initiative highlighting exemplary quality in university-based teacher preparation programs.

The project is a collaborative effort between the Center for Research, Evaluation and Advancement of Teacher Education and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to identify and highlight exceptional students and faculty, exemplary instructional and programmatic practices, and applicable research. It is designed to support the goals of Closing the Gaps, a state initiative to help strengthen Texas’ economic base, and overall work force for the future; among its goals are increasing student participation and success in higher education.

UHCL’s Two-Semester Internship, which was named an Exemplary Field-Based Instructional Practice, provides pre-service teachers a year-long internship with increasing responsibility, explains Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction Denise McDonald, program coordinator of teacher education.

“It offers the student hands-on experience related to every aspect of the teaching profession,” she says.

The internship is performed in a local Professional Development school, which are area public schools that partner with UHCL’s School of Education, and share the common vision of preparing future teachers in learner-centered schools. The intern serves in a variety of teaching roles under the guidance of a master teacher, and is afforded the opportunity to reflect upon, analyze, and improve teaching practices while building experience in the classroom, school, and community. In addition to being recognized by the Quest for Quality project, UHCL’s two-semester intern program received the 2008 Distinguished Program in Teacher Education Award by the National Association of Teacher Educators.

UHCL’s Early Childhood Model Classroom and Practicum was cited as an Exemplary Faculty Practice. The early childhood model classroom was designed by UHCL Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education Donna Kirkwood and Assistant Professor of Special Education Elizabeth Beavers. The model classroom allows faculty to model best practices while providing hands on learning for the teacher candidates. In addition to the classroom, the two faculty members designed a “lab school-like” practicum experience for UHCL teacher candidates during the summer in conjunction with the University’s annual Kids U, a popular children’s summer educational program.

“The model classroom and practicum allows UHCL students to work with pre-school children in an authentic, supervised environment where best practices are modeled and students also receive assessment and guided reflection,” Kirkwood explains.

The Two-Semester Internship and the Early Childhood Model Classroom and Practicum will be highlighted on the Quest for Quality website, and will also be called out at the CREATE 2013 Research Conference/Quest for Quality: Excellence in Teacher Preparation and Research in Teaching during November. In 2012, the Quest for Quality project recognized three of UHCL’s School of Education students — Jehovanissi “Jo” Solis, Martha Pacheco, and Evelyn Aaron — as Exceptional Teacher Candidates and also includes them on the project website.

To find out more about UHCL’s School of Education, visit http://soe.uhcl.edu.

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University of Houston-Clear Lake’s School of Education offers course work and field experiences toward more than 65 different degree or certification programs, including eight graduate programs, six professional certificates and the teacher certification program, certifying in more than 40 specializations and teaching fields. The School of Education was named winner of the 2009 Christa McAuliffe Award for Excellence in Teacher Education by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. UHCL was also selected by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for its commitment to the community. For more information about the School of Education, visit http://soe.uhcl.edu.

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Fax: 281-283-2034

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