The Education Pathway
“The teacher education program at Grace College has provided me with unparalleled purpose and skill. This program is both challenging and fulfilling. The Education Department is skilled at scaffolding each pre-service teacher so that they grow continuously. I have always felt challenged, yet I always had the resources and the training to meet each task well. The faculty in this program truly practice what they preach! Even as they are teaching us a new skill, they are subtly modeling it for us–it’s truly amazing to learn about and experience. The teacher education program is also imbued with passion. Each professor is a master teacher who has a heart for learners!”
~Jennifer Dannemiller, 2020-2021 English Education Graduate
Students pursuing a degree in elementary, special, or secondary education must be officially admitted as a “candidate” to a School of Education in order to complete a teacher education program. A candidate is one who has met the basic requirements of the State of Indiana, as well as the candidacy requirements of the Teacher Preparation Program.
Steps Prior to Candidacy
DECLARE THE MAJOR. To declare Education as a major, the following must be completed as early in one’s college career as possible:
- Complete the Declaration of Curriculum in the Registrar’s office. Once a major is declared, an academic advisor will be assigned.
- Compete the School of Education Declaration form (attached)
REGISTER FOR SED 1000. The introductory class, Teaching School in America, must be completed with a minimum grade of B- or better.
- If the course is not completed with a minimum grade of B-, Basic Skills competency must be displayed and a plan for success must be developed with the instructor.
- If these criteria are met, you may repeat SED 1000. (SED 1000 may be repeated only one time.)
DISPLAY BASIC SKILLS COMPETENCY. All prospective Indiana teachers must demonstrate basic skills competency prior to admission to an Indiana educator preparation program. Prospective candidates may either pass the Praxis Core or qualify through an alternative assessment route. (see below).
The Praxis includes 3 subtests:
- Praxis- Reading
- Praxis- Math
- Praxis- Writing
Complete information about the Praxis Core is available on the website: ets.org/praxis
Alternative basic skills assessment routes include the following:
- ACT with a score of at least 24 based on Math, Reading, Grammar, and Science
- SAT with a score of at least 1170 (post-March 1, 2016 test date)based on Critical Reading and Math (See note below)
- GRE with a score of at least 1100 based on Verbal and Quantitative prior to 8/1/11
- GRE with a score of at least 301 based on Verbal and Quantitative on or after 8/1/11
Notes: ACT, SAT, and GRE scores do not include writing. Anyone with a Master’s Degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution is exempt from this requirement.
AVAILABLE COURSES. The following courses may be taken after completing SED 1000 (with B- or better) and before applying for and receiving candidacy:
- SED 2200 (minimum grade of B- in SED 1000 and before SED 2600)
- SED 2400 (minimum grade of B- in SED 1000)
- SED 2500 (minimum grade of B- in SED 1000)
- SED 2600 (minimum grade of B- in SED 1000 and minimum grade of C in SED 2200)
- SED 2410 (minimum grade of B- in SED 1000 and minimum grade of C in SED 2400)
- SED 2420 (minimum grade of B- in SED 1000 and minimum grade of C in SED 2400 & 2410)
REQUIRED GPA. A cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better must be earned before applying for candidacy status.
TRANSFER STUDENTS. A letter of good standing must be completed by the Teacher Education administration of the school previously attended. This letter must be turned into the School of Education before candidacy. Transfer students must meet with the Dean of the School of Education within two weeks of declaring an education major. Critical information about the program will be discussed in this meeting.
FORMAL ADMISSION. Students must be formally admitted to the School of Education teacher preparation program. Students will receive notification when they are to apply for candidacy status in the School of Education. Upon receiving notification, students will complete a candidacy packet containing the following prior to scheduling a candidacy interview:
- A disposition form completed by a non-School of Education faculty or staff member at Grace College.
- Two letters of recommendation, based on academic ability and character, completed by someone who is or is not associated with Grace College (for example, a high school teacher, other professional in an educational setting, or a non-education professor who is familiar with your work).
Once the candidacy packet is submitted, students schedule an interview in the School of Education as the final step in the admission process.
MAINTAINING CANDIDACY. In order to remain in the School of Education, a candidate must do the following:
- Maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher
- Earn a minimum grade of C in the remaining SED courses. Education courses may be retaken only once.
- Successfully complete all field and clinical experiences.
- Display character, competence, and service in and outside the classroom.
- Complete COM 1100, Public Speaking, with a minimum grade of B-.
- Complete ENG 1100, Effective Writing, with a minimum grade of B-.
Practical classroom experience is an important component of our teacher preparation program and involves observation and/or participation in public- or private-school settings. Students participate in practical field experience in the very first School of Education course (Teaching School in America) and have frequent opportunities for classroom experience throughout the program. Many School of Education classes include a field/clinical experience* (practical) component and involve
- Helping candidates decide if teaching should be their chosen career
- Assisting candidates in making decisions about preferred grade levels and content area
- Providing candidates with knowledge about the profession of teaching
- Assisting candidates in moving from knowledge and understanding to practice and implementation
- Providing a necessary foundation for student teaching
“Field experience” generally occurs early in the program and involves observation and some participation. Once the candidate begins to teach some lessons, and thus impact student learning, practical experience is then classified as “clinical experience.”
Student Teaching: Where Content Knowledge and Clinical Practice Converge…
The single most important component of the School of Education program is a successful student teaching experience.
STUDENT TEACHING SEMESTER. Student Teaching is a sixteen-week period during which the student teacher is in one or more classrooms in a public or Christian school in the local area on a full-time basis, putting into practice all that has been learned prior to this final semester. During this time, the student teacher is under the supervision of an experienced master teacher, referred to as the classroom supervisor, and is being supervised by one or more college supervisors.
Student teachers are informed of their placements during the spring before their student teaching semester and are required to visit their classroom supervisors at the school of their assignment before leaving for summer break. Fall student teachers begin their pre-service, professional semester on the first day of school of the school corporation to which they are assigned. Spring student teachers are required to be in the classroom during the first week of school in the fall to get that start-up of the school year experience. As the weeks pass, student teachers progress from observing to having complete supervision of the class using a co-teaching model. During this time, the student teacher is observed and counseled by the college supervisors. Classroom supervisors, in collaboration with college supervisors, complete an initial, mid-term, and final evaluation.
Because the student teaching semester is so important and demanding, the candidate is encouraged to reduce outside activities to a minimum. For most, it will mean not working and having very limited involvement in extra-curricular activities. Students are not permitted to enroll in any other academic courses during this semester unless permission is granted by the School of Education faculty.
Transportation to and from the student teaching location is the responsibility of the candidate. The School of Education does try to place student teachers so that transportation will not be a problem.
ALTERNATIVE STUDENT TEACHING PLACEMENT. Candidates, other than those completing the TAL (Teaching all Learners) dual licensure program, have the option of completing a portion of the student teaching semester in an alternative placement. The following rules apply:
- The intent to teach in an alternative placement must be approved in advance by the Director of Student Teaching and included on the student teaching application.
- The placement must be in a setting that cannot be duplicated locally.
- The School of Education faculty will approve or deny the placement, based on the candidate’s academic and dispositional records. The placement can be overturned if the candidate displays areas of concern after approval for student teaching.
- The alternative placement comes only after a successful local placement (at least B-) and a successful senior project (at least C).
- The placement will consist of ten weeks locally and six weeks in an alternative setting.
The Indiana Educator License…
In order to teach in the public school, a teacher must hold a valid teaching license. This document asserts that the holder has met certain legal minimum standards as specified by the state. It also indicates the subject(s) and grade level(s) the teacher is qualified to teach.
The School of Education prepares graduates for licensing in the state of Indiana. The Licensing Advisor answers questions about the licensing process and approves the online licensing application for our graduates, based on coursework, GPA, professional test(s), CPR training, and Suicide Prevention training. The Initial Practitioner License is valid for two years from the date of licensing. After receiving an Initial Practitioner License, beginning teachers begin working toward the Practitioner License (a 5-yr. license) through either the Professional Growth Plan (PGP) route or the Indiana Mentoring and Assessment Program/Residency Program.
Indiana Licensure Exams…
The Indiana CORE Assessments for Educator Licensure program includes a test of basic skills (Core Academic Skills Assessment), four developmental (pedagogy) area assessments, and more than fifty content area assessments.
Praxis Core. All prospective Indiana teachers must demonstrate basic skills competency prior to admission to an Indiana educator preparation program. Prospective Grace College School of Education Candidates may either pass the Praxis Core or qualify through an alternative assessment route (see Display Basic Skills Competency under section heading Prior to Candidacy…). Praxis Core will be used as one means for satisfying entrance requirements at Indiana educator preparation programs.
Indiana Developmental/Pedagogy Exam. Under the current licensing rule, REPA, a pedagogy/developmental exam is required for all individuals that are applying for their first initial practitioner instructional license. This exam covers the strategies of teaching such as Methodology, Classroom Management, Student Development and Diversity, Learning Processes, Learning Environment, Instructional Planning, Assessments and the Professional Environment as a teacher. These are topics that are covered in a teacher preparation program. As of February 10, 2014, all applicants for initial instructional licenses must take and pass the pedagogy exam for the developmental level of the license they are seeking. Eligibility for licensure includes completing all degree and program coursework, student teaching, required testing, CPR/AED/Heimlich training and suicide prevention training. The requirement for implementation of pedagogy exams for the 2013-2014 school year has been in the REPA licensure rules since May 2010. See 515 IAC 8-2-1(b)(2) at http://www.in.gov/legislative/iac/T05150/A00080.PDF.
Indiana Content Area Assessments. Over fifty assessments, based on the Indiana Educator Standards, have been developed to replace Praxis II. General program information on content area assessments for licensure can be found in this FAQ Document.
Additional Licensing Requirements…
CPR Certification. Per Indiana Code 20-28-5-3(c), applicants applying for an initial teaching license (and at the time of conversion or renewal of any kind) must have successfully completed training in:
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation that includes a test demonstration on a mannequin,
- Removing a foreign body causing an obstruction in an airway, and the Heimlich Maneuver;
- Beginning July 1, 2011, the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED); and
- Hold a valid certification in each of these procedures from either the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association or other providers as approved by the department.
An initial teaching license is the first license issued to an applicant, regardless of content area or setting. Effective July 1, 2012, the requirements listed above must be met for the following initial license and permit renewals:
- Current Indiana educators must show proof of valid CPR/AED/Heimlich certification.
- In state program completers applying for initial licensure must show proof of valid CPR/AED/Heimlich certification.
Suicide Prevention Training. Effective July 1, 2013, the department may not issue an initial teaching license (includes instructional, student services and administrative licenses) at any grade level to an applicant for an initial teaching license unless the applicant shows evidence that the applicant has successfully completed education and training on the prevention of child suicide and the recognition of signs that a student may be considering suicide.
Teaching Out of State…
Graduates interested in teaching outside of Indiana are referred to the Department of Education of other state(s) for questions regarding licensing in those states. In some cases, the graduate will be required to pass a different professional test, and in a few cases a reciprocal license may be issued while a state requirement is being met. NOTE: It is recommended that you contact additional state(s) of interest early in your college training to obtain its specific requirements. It is recommended that the Indiana license be obtained before applying for a license in another state.
The Association of Christian Schools International…
Grace College Teacher Education Program is approved by the Association of Christian Schools International, making ACSI Certification available to graduates.
ABOUT THE ACSI CERTIFICATE. Christian schools and other private schools may or may not require a teacher to hold a state teaching license. The School of Education at Grace College is approved by ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International), and all education graduates qualify for an ACSI educator certificate. The School of Education provides information for the candidate to apply for ACSI certification during the Moral Practitioner class.