This year through our continuous improvement process the School of Education has taken steps to improve our teacher education programs. Faculty on the Teacher Education Council in the School of Education examined data from program assessments, P-12 partners, KU teacher candidates, and alumni. They also gathered input from school district leaders, principals, teachers, and PDS Alliance
members. Then, in December, a program redesign retreat was held. Participants used the gathered evidence to propose program changes for secondary undergraduate teacher education programs, the elementary teacher education program, and the unified early childhood teacher education program. The program redesign changes respond to the continuous improvement efforts that meet CAEP accreditation standards. In addition they meet the Kansas Board of Regents 120-credit hour undergraduate degree initiative.
The changes streamline general education requirements to better align with the KU Core and replace the stand-alone classroom management course with a course focused on the social-emotional development and well-being of students in schools. Additionally, more intentional integration of important constructs from the InTASC Standards will be included throughout the programs in new professional learning community seminars. The professional learning community seminars will also serve as a vehicle for KU teacher education students to connect with faculty, peers, and practicing educators through the School’s online Virtual Learning Network being piloted this Spring, 2018 semester.
The Health and Physical Education undergraduate program was redesigned previously, with the program changes approved in the Fall 2017 semester. Recent changes to the program give students the option to add coursework in one of several concentration areas. The changes were initiated to better prepare teacher candidates if they choose to pursue licensure examinations in a second teaching area or if they are interested in additional knowledge and training to support a career in education, sport and/or physical activity. The options include coursework related to health, middle-level mathematics, middle-level science, English, speech and theatre, psychology or a minor in business or sport management.
It is our hope these changes will lead to programs that fully engages our KU students, faculty and school professionals in a closer collaboration as we help teacher candidates enter the teaching profession.