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The M.A.Ed. Programs in Curriculum & Instruction are initial licensure programs with concentrations in Elementary Education, Secondary Education, Special Education, English as a Second Language (ESL) Bilingual Education.
The M.A.Ed. Program
During the summer, students take foundational courses. During the fall and spring semesters, students complete courses specific to their intended endorsement area. In the spring semester, elementary, secondary and ESL & Bilingual Education program students complete full-time, supervised student teaching experiences. Students in the special education program complete student teaching experiences in both the fall and the spring.
The conceptual focus of the teacher preparation program is on developing “reflective practitioners” who carefully collect information about students and student learning to make informed teaching decisions. Eight important strands are articulated throughout the M.A.Ed. Program:
- Development of content area expertise, including both general studies and pedagogical content knowledge;
- Focus on instructional design principles, including a common unit planning and lesson plan format;
- Emphasis on classroom management strategies and techniques;
- Attention to student diversity issues;
- Acquisition of knowledge and skills in instructional technology;
- Attention to issues in working with families and collaborating with school personnel;
- Examination of student assessment strategies, especially in curriculum-based assessment that informs classroom teaching;
- Maintenance of a portfolio documenting acquisition of professional competencies.
Additional policies and procedures that govern students in the teacher preparation programs during field experiences are included in the Handbook for Practica and Student Teaching Experiences available on the Office of Teacher Education and Community Engagement website.
Field Experiences and Continuation Policy
To be eligible to student teach, students must meet the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators requirement and successfully complete all education program courses with passing grades. Earning an F or I in any of these courses will prevent students from participating in student teaching.
Additional policies and procedures that govern students in the teacher preparation programs during their field experiences are included in the Handbook for Practica and Student Teaching Experiences, which is available through the Office of Teacher Education and Community Engagement or on the Office of Teacher Education and Community Engagement website.
All field experiences take place in K-12 classroom settings. Students are placed in schools within a 60 mile radius of the School of Education. This placement could be up to a 45 minute drive from campus. Students are responsible for getting to practica and student teaching placements. Students should provide their own transportation. Taking public transportation is an option, but not always practical, and will only work if placed in the Williamsburg-James City County School Division. Relying on others for rides is never an optimum arrangement but may be necessary.
Licensure Testing Requirements
Students are required to achieve passing scores on assessments prescribed by the Virginia Board of Education, both for program completion and for licensure. In order to apply for licensure, the Virginia Board of Education requires that paper copies of official score reports be submitted; therefore, these reports will need to be provided to the Office of Teacher Education and Community Engagement along with other licensure paperwork. Registration information for all tests and additional information about applying for licensure are available on the Office of Teacher Education and Community Engagement website.
(Note: Virginia’s mandated licensure assessments are graduation requirements.)
Students who complete the requirements for initial licensure can add an additional endorsement in the state of Virginia by passing a Praxis Subject Assessment exam. This applies for students in elementary, special, or secondary education taking a middle or high school Praxis Subject Assessment exam, but it does not apply for special or secondary education students taking the Elementary Praxis Subject Assessment exam.
CPR/AED/First Aid Training
Candidates seeking initial license in Virginia are required to complete training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the use of an automated external defibrillator, and first aid. Training courses are available through national emergency care organizations such as the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross. Documentation of training (typically in the form of a current certification card) must be provided to the Office of Teacher Education and Community Engagement as part of the licensure application packet.
To complete a program in teacher education, students must successfully complete all of the designated licensure assessments, endorsement courses and the education courses, including student teaching. The students’ university supervisor and cooperating teacher are each required to verify and evaluate the students’ performance during a full-time student teaching experience with pupils in a state-accredited K-12 school. After verification by the Office of Teacher Education and Community Engagement that the students have successfully completed all course and program requirements, the office will assist students in obtaining the appropriate teaching license in Virginia.