The Multiple Subject Teacher Education Preparation (MSTEP) program allows teacher candidates to spend significant time in field-based learning experiences in elementary classrooms. Cal Poly’s four-term sequence of courses leading to a multiple subject credential was created in response to the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education's recent finding that teacher preparation is more effective when candidates receive substantial opportunities to learn in the field.
These fieldwork settings are partnerships with school sites that allow our candidates to hit the ground running as beginning teachers. During the program, teacher candidates and cooperating teachers form co-teaching relationships in which they work closely together to plan, instruct and assess children’s learning. In fall 2014, 82 teacher candidates participated in clinical practice in schools across Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.
In pre-requisite courses, students learn fundamental concepts of language and literacy development and work in after school tutoring programs at Title I schools. In the first term of the MSTEP program, teacher candidates learn approaches to teaching specific subjects and spend two full days a week in clinical practice learning teaching strategies with a mentor teacher in a local elementary classroom.
The second term of clinical is spent in the same classroom, with candidates working four full days each week to develop effective classroom management, environment maintenance and subject matter instruction. In addition, coursework focuses on how to teach students with special needs. In the final term, candidates work full time with a mentor teacher in a new classroom setting on similar teaching practices.
Early Start for Multiple Subject Candidates in Clinical Practice II
In fall 2014, the MSTEP program initiated an Early Start Program for teacher candidates enrolled in Clinical Practice II. Early Start allows teacher candidates to begin their fieldwork at the start of the public school year in August, rather than waiting until the Cal Poly term starts in mid-September. Candidates shadowed and supported their mentor teachers as they set up their classroom and welcomed students to the first days of school. The teacher candidates reported that the Early Start Program provided valuable insight and first-hand experience in classroom planning.
Credential Celebration for Clinical Practice III
In December, 18 teacher candidates from Clinical Practice II gathered with their friends, family, mentor teachers, supervisors and faculty members to celebrate their completion of the MSTEP program. The celebration included remarks by Dean Jon Margerum-Leys and faculty members Julee Bauer, Don Maas and Julie Herron, as well as a special musical performance by Shirley Magnusson. Dean Phil Bailey from the College of Science & Mathematics was also present to congratulate the cohort. The candidates shared photos and memories and thanked their many supporters. This is a regular celebration that the program provides for candidates finishing in the fall and winter terms at Cal Poly.
Since completing their credentials in December, all 18 candidates have received job offers to teach in California schools.
Local Schools Principals Invited to Participate in Advisory Meeting
The MSTEP program is working with elementary school principals from San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties to organize winter quarter advisory meetings. These meetings provide opportunities for the program to gain valuable input from our field-based partners. This winter, the advisory meetings in north and south county provided a unique opportunity for principals and Cal Poly MSTEP faculty to discuss their shared visions and action plans for supporting local schools, teachers and teacher candidates during the adoption of the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics.