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COVID-19: Update on Student Teaching

NOTE: This week, BSU College of Education & Health Sciences (CEHS) Associate Dean Mary Ann McKinnon sent the following communication on student teaching to Program Supervisors, Department Chairs and Student Teaching Liaisons, all of whom have been focused on helping student teachers complete their student teaching semester. All student teachers should be working with their program supervisors and student teaching liaisons to make individualized plans specific to their context to complete their practicum.

Subject: Update on Student Teaching


Good afternoon BSU Program Supervisors, Department Chairs and Student Teaching Liaisons,

President Clark’s e-mail of March 16 provides information to faculty regarding the decision to move BSU courses fully on-line for the remainder of the spring semester. I expect that more details and guidance will be issued soon regarding on-line instruction. This guidance however does not specifically address students engaged in clinical work, especially field experiences related to state licensure.

Please know that the leadership team in the College of Education and Health Sciences has had several meetings regarding our student teachers and the continuity of the practicum experience. We have also received some communication from the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education expanding our waiver authority and reducing some of the CAP requirements.

Departmental faculty student teaching liaisons have been provided with spreadsheets listing all of the student teachers in their licensing programs, their current assignments and status with regard to the on-line CAP system (as of March 13, please update on-line system if your CAP cycles are not current). Some of the liaisons have already been in touch with their student teachers and all will be in touch by next week.

Below is an update on where student teaching stands at this point:

  1. Student Teachers who planned to go abroad 4th quarter should have complete and closed CAP cycles. They should be considered “done” with their licensing practicum. A few graduate students in the M.Ed. for initial licensure may need the additional 6 credits they would have earned through the graduate international student teaching course. They will be allowed to continue in their assignments to earn the 6 credits, but they and their supervisors will not be required to use CAP.
  2. The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) will allow the CAP cycle to be expedited. We can close out a CAP cycle with 3 observations (in lieu of the 4 usually required). Formative ratings can be waived. We will however need summative ratings - according to ESE “there needs to be a final determination on whether the candidate is Ready To Teach.”
  3. Many schools are putting in place online systems to maintain the continuity of instruction. If student teachers are allowed to participate in this online instruction, these hours can be counted toward the practicum. The CEHS staff will work on an Excel spreadsheet template to facilitate student teachers in tracking their planning and on-line instruction hours and categorize this work according to CAP indicators. We should have this out by next week.
  4. On-line meetings and other forms of technology enabled communication will count in terms of CAP and other practicum assessments (i.e., 3-way meetings can occur via telecommunication)
  5. The situation is constantly evolving - we will reassess and communicate as it does.

Most of our P-12 partners have been incredibly helpful and sympathetic to our student teachers despite all they have on their own plate right now. Here are a few suggestions one of our principals recommended for student teachers while schools are closed:

  • Student Teachers can contact their supervising practitioner and volunteer to put together online lessons.
  • Student Teachers can support calling students and families for wellness checks.
  • Student Teachers can use technology to read a story to young children or engage students in other ways.

These are challenging times… however, there are opportunities to witness the transformation of our instructional delivery systems to meet the needs of our students. This is a time for our educators to shine and for our preservice candidates to learn new and innovative ways to teach and learn. As President Clark says, “we’ve got this!”

Mary Ann McKinnon, Associate Dean
College of Education and Health Sciences
Bridgewater State University
Office: 508 531-1347
fax: 508 531-1771