Elementary Teacher Education
Elementary Teacher Education
The Elementary Teacher Education Pathway is designed to prepare elementary and middle school teachers, grades K-8, who are knowledgeable of the content they will teach and who have the skills to apply that knowledge to teaching. Elementary education students major in a discipline and take a series of teacher education courses that fulfill their University Core Curriculum requirements as well as the requirements for teacher certification in their discipline. These courses introduce students to aspects of teaching and learning and provide hands-on field experiences in schools and community organizations where they can make connections between theory and practice. At the time of degree completion, students will have met the degree requirements for a major and for initial teacher certification.
Program Declaration and Withdrawal
All students must formally declare their entry into a teacher education pathway by completing the Declaration and/or Dropping of Undergraduate Teacher Education Pathway Form with the registrar’s office. The form is located in the forms section of the Office of Registration Services: https://usm.maine.edu/registration-services/1forms
The minimum academic requirements to be a student in good standing in the Elementary Teacher Education Pathway are as follows:
- A grade of B or better in all professional education coursework.
- A grade of C or better in content courses required for the area of teacher certification.
- An overall GPA of 3.0 or better.
Failure to maintain the above requirements may result in program dismissal. Appeals may be made in writing to the Director of Educator Preparation.
Upon declaring the Elementary Teacher Education Pathway, a student becomes a pre-candidate. The pre-candidacy phase of the program is the first three years of the program prior to the professional internship. Pre-candidacy coursework is as follows:
- ADS 300: Ethics and Youth with Exceptionalities (3 cr.)
- EDU 310: Purpose of Schooling in a Democracy* (3 cr)
- EYE 108: Culture, Identity and Education (3 cr)
- EDU 100: Exploring Teaching* (3 cr)
- EDU 222: Foundations of Language and Literacy Development* (3 cr)
- EDU 305: Foundations of Cultural and Linguistic Diversity* (3 cr)
- HRD/SBS 200: Multicultural Human Development (3 cr)
- SED 335: Students with Exceptionalities in General Education* (3 cr)
Each of the courses with a * includes required service learning or practicum hours in a school or community setting to give pre-candidates hands-on experience with K-12 students and create connections between theory and practice. These formal placements are linked to each course and are arranged by the Field Experience Coordinator in the Office of Educator Preparation. Other education courses may require observation experiences in field settings that students arrange on their own.
Candidacy takes place in the spring semester of the third year or when a student has completed the pre-candidacy teacher education coursework and has made satisfactory and sufficient progress in their major. Candidacy is the process pre-candidates go through in order to be admitted to the professional level courses and internship. To be eligible for candidacy, pre-candidates must be in good academic standing, have passed the Praxis Core, and provided evidence of their Criminal History Record Check.
Please see USM’s Professional Licensure and Certification Notice located on the Office of Registration Services website for more information: https://usm.maine.edu/registration-services/academic-policies-undergraduate
Pre-candidates are required to complete and show documentation of the fingerprinting process outlined by the Maine Department of Education: http://www.maine.gov/doe/cert/fingerprinting.
Pre-candidates must complete the Candidacy application in TK20 (more information below) as well as provide a current resume and two letters of recommendation. The candidacy application is due on January 31 of each year. Upon review eligible pre-candidates will be invited to participate in a 30-minute internship admission interview.
The professional internship is a full-year experience that fulfills Maine’s student teaching requirement and provides elementary education teacher candidates the opportunity to apply what they are learning in their teacher education courses in a more sustained and in-depth setting. The first semester internship is the equivalent of 20 hours per week in a partner school, and the second semester internship is a full-time, five days per week experience in a partner school. Students take the internship courses concurrently. Required courses are as follows:
- EDU 405: Teaching Mathematics K-8 (3 cr)
- EDU 442: Seminar in Teaching, Learning, and Assessment
- EDU 445: Student Teaching (9 cr total--3 credits first semester and 6 credits second semester)
- EDU 451: Teaching Social Studies K-8 (3 cr)
- EDU 452: Teaching Science K-8 (3 cr)
- EDU 465 Teaching Reading K-8 for All Students Including those with Diverse Abilities and Backgrounds
- EDU 466: Introduction to Writing Process for All Students Including those with Diverse Abilities and Backgrounds
- SED 420: Multi-Tiered Systems of Educational Support (3 cr)
The following majors have Elementary Teacher Education Pathways options:
- Geography - Anthropology
- Liberal Studies Humanities
- Natural and Applied Sciences
- Self Designed Major in STEM (science and math)
Please see each major’s section of this catalog for their requirements.
Students interested in completing the Elementary Teacher Education Pathway must complete 6 credits each in English, mathematics, science and social studies. The following mathematics courses are required:
- MAT 131
- MAT 231 or MAT 232
It is recommended that those interested in specifically teaching at the middle school level (grades 6-8) complete coursework in a second content area (e.g. English, mathematics, social studies or science) to become highly qualified to teach an additional content area. Finally, students should consider taking additional education courses, which will support them in becoming more well-rounded teachers, in topics such as literacy, technology, and collaborating with families.
TK20 (Watermark) is the comprehensive web-based, assessment management and reporting system used by all students in Educator Preparation programs at USM. All undergraduate and graduate students who matriculate into an Educator Preparation program at USM and are accepted as a candidate for their internship year are required to subscribe to Tk20. Students use Tk20 (Watermark) to provide evidence they have mastered state and professional standards for their profession. The subscription fee of $103 covers some of the expenses related to the administration and assessment of the program. For loan purposes, TK20 (Watermark) is eligible for consideration as part of educational costs. The subscription is a one-time payment and must be made by each student after they have passed their candidacy process and before the first semester of their internship year. Subscription instructions are posted on the Office of Educator Preparation website at http://usm.maine.edu/educator-preparation.
Please note Professional Education Council Policy: In order for USM’s Education Preparation Unit program-completers to be recommended by the institution to the state for certification or licensure, the candidate must provide evidence of meeting all certification requirements including proficiency on the standards relevant to his/her state approved professional program and this evidence must be compiled and assessed within the context of the Unit’s data management system (i.e., Tk20).
Recommendation for Certification
Graduates who successfully complete all the Elementary Teacher Education Pathway requirements are eligible for recommendation for teacher certification in Maine. In order to be recommended for certification, students must complete the Recommendation for Certification form. Students who fail to meet the academic or professional requirements of the Elementary Teacher Education Pathway or choose not to pursue teacher certification may withdraw from the pathway and graduate with their major.
NOTE--Course requirements are subject to change based upon changes in teacher certification regulations.