Elementary Education (K-6)


major-elementary-education

Ave Maria University’s education major is approved by the state of Florida as an initial teacher preparation program.  Graduates qualify for Florida professional certification for grades K-6, including ESOL and Reading Endorsements.

The Elementary (K-6th) Education major seeks to further teaching, inquiry and scholarship in the field of education with a special focus on Catholic and classical education. While examining the field of education using methodologies and practices proper to the discipline, the program will maintain a deliberate and explicit foundation in the philosophical and theological insights of the Catholic tradition, especially its understandings related to the nature and dignity of the human person, the nature of Truth, and the unity of all knowledge as ultimately rooted in the order of God and creation.

The Elementary Education major will assist students in developing the knowledge, skills and dispositions to be a Kindergarten through 6th grade teacher. Students considering teaching in middle or high school should pursue the Minor in education program listed below.

Explore the Elementary Education Program

Vision

Animated by a conceptual framework emphasizing character, knowledge and service, graduates from Ave Maria University’s Education Department programs will be individuals of integrity and good moral character, knowledgeable in the areas of the Christian cultural and philosophical tradition, knowledgeable in educational philosophy, learning theory, and effective pedagogy and oriented toward a life of love and service to others.

Mission

The mission of the Ave Maria University Education Department is to further teaching, inquiry and scholarship in the field of education with a special focus on Catholic and classical education. Students who graduate from the University with a Major in Education will benefit from the formation received from the Ave Maria University Core Curriculum and will possess knowledge of all facets of current educational systems and methodologies.

Philosophy

Founded on the belief that the human person seeks knowledge, love and happiness and is naturally oriented toward truth, we believe that education is a powerful tool to help others flourish. We believe that the role of an educator is to be a role model: to be a living, coherent, and sincere witness to a love for life, knowledge, reality and service to others.  A deep concern about others, about their welfare, dignity and freedom, is at the core of the student-teacher relationship. The degree to which our teacher candidates hold a love for reality, a passion for the subject under consideration, and a love for others, is the degree to which they will be successful educators. All of the state of the art pedagogical skills and professional practices our teacher candidates master during their time in our program will build on this foundation. While examining the field of education using methodologies and practices proper to the discipline, the program will maintain a deliberate and explicit foundation in the philosophical and theological insights of the Catholic tradition, especially its understandings related to the nature and dignity of the human person, the nature of Truth, and the unity of all knowledge as ultimately rooted in the order of God and creation. The Program’s belief is that knowledge is attained and demonstrated when the human intellect, informed by the senses, judges things rightly. As knowledge climbs to more abstract heights, human freedom and depth of analysis plays a critical role in discovering and embracing deeper realities of the human condition and the world around us. Holding that education is more than simply preparing K-12 students for college and career, our teacher candidates will also attend to human liberation and orient their students to transcendental realities related to truth, beauty and goodness. Toward this end the complete Ave Maria University Educational program provides a strong undergraduate preparation in the liberal arts, a robust series of professional education courses, and significant real-world educational experience.

Teacher Candidate Outcomes

  • Teacher candidates will be able to articulate the unique elements of Catholic and classical educational paradigms and Catholic educational philosophy.
  • Teacher candidates will demonstrate understanding and practice of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions expected of successful teachers and as structured by Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (FEAP’s):
    • The Learning Environment: Management and Organization
    • Instructional Delivery and Facilitation
    • Instructional Assessment
    • Professionalism and Continuous Improvement
    • Ethical Conduct
  • Teacher candidates will demonstrate the ability to serve others as teachers by developing, teaching, assessing and managing a classroom with a positive impact on student learning in diverse school settings.

Professional Dispositions of Teacher Candidates

Having a desire for or an affinity to teaching is a good sign that one is called to the field of education. Some skills and habits can be acquired to assist in effectiveness as a teacher, and certain other qualities are innate, such as having an empathetic and caring personality. Below is a list of dispositions that the Ave Maria Education Department as identified as important for those seeking to enter the teaching profession:

Character

  • is a person of  integrity, transparency, consistency and honesty who exhibits the highest professional ethics.
  • is a person of fairness and openness who is committed to recognizing the worth and dignity of all students in their care through healthy and cooperative relationships.

Knowledge

  • is passionate about learning.
  • is intellectually and academically curious.
  • is joyful and engaging in sharing what has been learned.
  • is active and willing in seeking out and accepting suggestions for professional improvement toward continued growth and learning.
  • is knowledgeable about research based best practices in education.

Service

  • is supportive, and encouraging of all students.
  • is considerate of student learning style, background, and need, when determining learning strategies and how best to meet and accommodate the needs of individual students in light of research based best practices.
  • is able to use quality assessments to identify signs of student difficulty, especially in reading and computational processes, and thereby design and adjust instruction to affect student improvement.
  • is clear in establishing high expectations for all students in the belief that all students can learn.

 

In Ave Maria University’s Education major you will experience:

  • A brand new teacher preparation program completely designed from the ground up on the most up to date teaching standards, expectations and best practices.
  • Extensive hands on experiences in real classrooms under trained master teachers during each of the 4 semesters of the major.
  • The chance to work as classroom aids or student teach in some of the most challenged schools in Florida serving significantly at risk, minority and migrant students.
  • Immediate and intimate access to caring professors with extensive degrees and years of service in small classes of about 15 students.
  • Our education department offers a deep and abiding Catholic philosophy of education emphasizing character, knowledge and service which is grounded in a profound care for our fellow man. We seek to pursue all that is true, good and beautiful, animated by a conviction of God’s goodness and providence.

In addition to the core curriculum, elementary education majors take the following courses

EDUC 201 Educational Foundation

EDUC 203 Career Path

EDUC 204 Practicum I

EDUC 210 Measurement and Assessment in the Classroom

EDUC 220 Instructional Strategies

EDUC 230 Reading Instruction Principles and Methods

EDUC 240 Classroom Management and Organization

EDUC 250 ESOL Foundations

EDUC 301 Human Development and Learning

EDUC 304 Practicum II

EDUC 310 Teaching Social Studies in the Classroom

EDUC 330 Reading Instruction: Assessment and Differentiation

EDUC 340 Teaching Diverse and Exceptional Students

EDUC 350 ESOL Curriculum and Methods

EDUC 370 Teaching Language Arts in the Classroom

EDUC 380 Teaching Mathematics in the Classroom

EDUC 390 Teaching Science in the Classroom

EDUC 400 Internship with Seminar

EDUC 404 Practicum III

See the Academic Catalog for course descriptions

EDUC 201 Educational Foundations

This course is designed to acquaint the liberal arts major with the basics of the teaching vocation. It will expose teacher candidates to the elements involved in the art and science of teaching as well as the sociological, historical, and philosophical foundation of education. It will particularly focus on key elements informing American education, classical education, and Catholic education. This course will also introduce the principles and practices of elementary and secondary education, including curriculum planning, evaluation procedures, classroom management, core curriculum standards and school organization. Observations and participation in actual classroom procedures are required. This course is ESOL infused. Eight (8) hours of field experience is required. (4 credits)

 

EDUC 202 Educational Psychology

This course will examine learning theories and models of teaching with particular attention to examining the philosophical, developmental, and psychological roots of various approaches.  It is designed to prepare Teacher candidates in their future roles as teachers or primary educators of their children. The course is designed to enable Teacher candidates to better assess current trends in schooling and the psychological and cultural foundations behind them.  (4 credits)

 

EDUC 203 Career Path

This course will help the AMU student decide whether a profession in teaching is the right path for him or her. Potential Teacher candidates will prepare for the FTCE general knowledge test, set up their TK20 software account, get fingerprint clearance, prepare their application into the formalized program for teachers, complete the application process for internship in the local schools, and reflect on the dispositions important for a career in education. (0 credit).

 

EDUC 204 Practicum I

This practicum will provide the teacher candidate approximately one full day or two half days a week in a cooperating local public or private school. Teacher candidates will work with a highly qualified classroom teacher and local administration to perform duties as required by the teacher and university course instructors.  Teacher candidates will use this authentic setting to complete critical assignments from education courses taught concurrently during the semester. Teacher candidates will complete a reflection journal during the semester and attend two required seminar sessions with their clinical supervisor. (2 credits).

 

EDUC 210 Measurement and Assessment in the Classroom

This course will provide the student with information related to classroom assessment concepts and the principles needed for effective evaluation of learning outcomes. It will focus on establishing credible performance standards, communicating those standards and providing feedback as well as matching assessments to these standards for positive consequences and practicality. Construction and measurement of various assessment techniques for formative and summative assessments such as selected response, constructed response, portfolio and feedback will be presented. Current assessment strategies such as e-portfolio and electronic grading and assessing of students with special needs and ELL students will be reviewed as will principles of validity, reliability and bias for standardized tests. This course is ESOL infused. (3 credits)

 

EDUC 220 Instructional Strategies

This course will provide the teacher candidate the opportunity to analyze learning theories and their application in a classroom setting. Teacher candidates will learn the process of planning for, and choosing, effective instructional strategies to enhance student learning as well as how to effectively and appropriately integrate different types of technology into the instructional process. 15 hours of field experience is required for this course. Fifteen (15) hours of field experience is required. (3 credits)

 

EDUC 230 Reading Instruction: Principles and Methods

This course provides aspiring teachers with the knowledge needed for the effective teaching of reading. This essential knowledge encompasses the careful examination of the hierarchy of skills needed for stages of reading process and the cognitive and linguistic systems that are components of this process. Topics include: understanding of the sound system (phonetics, phonology), word formation (morphology), syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and the role of context. Attention will be given to the interaction between the writing system and the sound system; understanding and evaluating trends and current approaches, methods, and techniques for the teaching of reading and analysis and discussion of reading research. Teacher candidates will apply, analyze, and examine teaching strategies for decoding and comprehension; as well as techniques for supporting readers as they try out and practice the strategies. Teacher candidates will have the opportunity to reflect on, research and report on reading approaches, methods and techniques. This course is ESOL infused. Fifteen (15) hours of field experience is required. (3 credits)

 

EDUC 240 Classroom Management and Organization

This course will provide the teacher candidate with classroom management skills, including understanding the major theories animating management of student behavior, discussion of effective classroom rules and procedures, school safety, parental involvement, legal issues related to the rights and responsibilities of teachers, and the strategies for creating a positive, safe environment to meet the needs of all students. Fifteen (15) hours of field experience is required. This course is ESOL infused. (3 credits)

 

EDUC 250 ESOL: Foundations

This course provides information and skills as to how to teach English language learners (ELLs) from diverse cultural backgrounds. Both foreign-born ELLs and U.S.-born ELLs have varied needs as they develop the necessary skills to learn the English language and academics at school. Pre-service teachers will understand how a second language – in this case, English – should be taught and learned in a school where ELLs must learn academic content in English. This involves getting to know ESOL policies, programs, and practices. Topics include how ELLs acquire a second language; how to teach a second language and other content areas to ELLs with diverse cultural backgrounds and at varying English proficiency levels; what their academic needs are; and how to measure ELLs’ progress adequately in assigned content areas. Fifteen (15) hours of field experience is required. (3 credits)

 

EDUC 301 Human Development and Learning

This course will introduce teacher candidates to developmental theory and research and its application to education. The life stages covered during this semester are prenatal, infancy, early childhood, middle and late childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, middle adulthood, late adulthood, aging, and death and dying. The interaction of heredity and environment and their influences on development will be explored. The relationship of Catholic teaching will be routinely integrated into the course material, including Catholic literature on the topic of human growth and development. Also discussed will be the impact of sociocultural contexts (culture, gender, socioeconomic status, race, and ethnicity, etc.) on physical, cognitive, and psychosocial development. (This course is cross-listed with PSYC 301; 4 credits)

 

EDUC 304 Practicum II

This practicum will provide the teacher candidate approximately one full day or two half days a week in a cooperating local public school. Teacher candidates will work with a highly qualified classroom teacher and local administration to perform duties as required by the teacher and university course instructors.  Teacher candidates will use this authentic setting to complete critical assignments from education courses taught during the semester. Teacher candidates will complete a reflection journal during the semester and attend two required seminar sessions with their clinical supervisor. (2 credits)

 

EDUC 330 Reading Instruction:  Assessment and Differentiation

This course will provide the aspiring teacher with the opportunity to learn about research and best practices in developmental reading and how to assess abilities and needs of individual students within the classroom, especially ELL students. Various materials and activities are developed for whole group, small group, and individual instruction, based on informal and formal assessment. This course is ESOL infused. Fifteen (15) hours of field experience is required. (3 credits)

 

EDUC 340 Teaching Diverse and Exceptional Students

This course will focus the teacher candidate on recognition and instruction of students who may be, or have been, identified with learning disabilities or who are considered gifted and talented. Identification of exceptionality, causes of the exceptionality, and proficiency with appropriate instructional and systematic responses, such as the Response to Intervention (RTI) method, will be addressed. Emphasis will be placed on student learning styles, differentiated instruction techniques and other skills and techniques to best reach, instruct, and inspire students with learning exceptionalities. Fifteen (15) hours of field experience is required. This class is ESOL infused. (3 credits)

 

EDUC 350 ESOL: Curriculum and Methods

This course will build on the teacher candidate’s knowledge of applied linguistics and cross-cultural communication and extend their understanding of the nature and role of language and culture in classrooms. The teacher candidate will be able to plan, instruct, and assess English Language Learners (ELLs) in a K-12 setting. Teacher candidates will examine research-based strategies for supporting English language development as well as promoting comprehension and acquisition of grade level content. Curriculum development and assessment activities will be tied to content, language, and literacy goals for ELLs. This course requires fifteen (15) hours of field experience in a K-12 classroom setting. (3 credits)

 

EDUC 305 Practicum III

This practicum will provide the teacher candidate approximately one full day or two half days a week in a cooperating local public school. Teacher candidates will work with a highly qualified classroom teacher and local administration to perform duties as required by the teacher and university course instructors.  Teacher candidates will use this authentic setting to complete critical assignments from education courses taught during the semester. Teacher candidates will complete a reflection journal during the semester and attend two required seminar sessions with their clinical supervisor. (2 credits).

 

EDUC 310 Teaching Social Studies in the Classroom

This course imparts effective teaching methodologies for teaching social studies in the classroom, specifically focusing on methods and objectives of academic subject matter at the appropriate grade level, student assessment, and current research in education. Field observation and instruction will be required. This course will also review relevant subject matter content. Fifteen (15) hours of field experience is required. (3 credits)

 

EDUC 360 Teaching PE in the Classroom

This course imparts effective teaching methodologies for teaching Physical Education in the classroom, specifically focusing on methods and objectives of academic subject matter at the appropriate grade level, evaluating student progress, and current research in education. In-class observation and instruction will be required. Five (5) hours of field experience is required. (1 credit)

 

EDUC 370 Teaching Language Arts in the Classroom

This course imparts effective teaching methodologies for teaching language arts in the classroom, specifically focusing on methods and objectives of academic subject matter at the appropriate grade level, evaluating student progress and current research in education. This course will also review specific and relevant subject matter content. The course includes participation in a school setting. This course is ESOL infused. Fifteen (15) hours of field experience is required. (3 credits)

 

EDUC 380 Teaching Mathematics in the Classroom

This course imparts effective teaching methodologies for teaching mathematics in the classroom, specifically focusing on methods and objectives of academic subject matter at the appropriate grade level, student assessment, and current research in education. This course will also review specific and relevant subject matter content. This course includes participation in a school setting. Fifteen (15) hours of field experience is required. (3 credits)

 

EDUC 390 Teaching Science in the Classroom

This course imparts effective teaching methodologies for teaching science and social studies in the classroom, specifically focusing on methods and objectives of academic subject matter at the appropriate grade level, student assessment, and current research in education. This course will also review specific and relevant subject matter content. Field observation and instruction will be required. Fifteen (15) hours of field experience is required. (3 credits)

 

EDUC 400 Internship

Teacher candidates will spend approximately 14 weeks as full time intern teachers in a participating elementary school working under the direction of a highly qualified co-operating teacher and school administrator. Teacher candidates will participate in classroom observation as well as direct teaching responsibility under the guidance of a university faculty member with clinical supervision qualifications. The co-operating K-12 teacher will make periodic evaluations. Required seminars at the university provide the teacher candidate with a supportive environment, helpful resources, and thought-provoking presentation and discussions on all aspects of the classroom experience. Teacher candidates will be required to complete a portfolio to demonstrate all of the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices. (14 credits)

 

EDUC 402 Directed Study

Teacher candidates in the education program can fulfill additional field experience or other graduation requirements through a directed study under the supervision of the Education Department Chair or his or her designee. This directed study may include working directly with a highly qualified teacher who oversees the candidate’s completion of exercises applicable to subjects taught in the education program. Candidates must complete course assignments as prescribed by the Education Department Chair.

Program requirements: 

    • Honors project in MUSC 104B: Elementary Music Theory II
    • Honors project in MUSC 204B: Intermediate Music Theory II
    • Honors Music Seminar for 3rd and 4th year students
    • MUSC 300- and 400-level electives (excluding choral ensembles), 12 credits required
      • 4 of these 12 credits may be satisfied by a 400-level elective course from another discipline
    • 8 semesters of choral ensemble participation
    • Must maintain a minimum 3.4 GPA overall and in MUSC coursework

Additional Opportunities: 

    • An opportunity to participate in the University Honors Integrated Colloquia
    • Access to housing options designed specifically to support and foster honors-level study at the University
    • Access to the Honors Lounge in the Canizaro Library

Education Overview

Year One:

  • Core Courses
  • Volunteer Opportunities

Year Two:

  • First two education courses (Education Foundations and Education Psychology)
  • Florida teaching exam in the spring
  • Major officially begins in the summer

Year Three:

  • Full year of teaching reading courses and teaching English to speakers
  • Classes in classroom management, lesson planning and delivery, assessment, and working with students with disabilities
  • Instructional aide in a local school once a week
  • Florida Professional Knowledge Test

Year Four:

  • Tips and advice from experts in the field in your fall methodologies courses
  • Third and final teaching exam related to K-6 subject matter
  • Full time internship in the spring, with guidance from a master teacher and a university professor

Ave Maria University is located in the Collier County Public school district. This district serves the areas of Naples, Golden Gate Estates, Immokalee and Ave Maria. The district is currently growing and experiencing a real need for teachers. We work closely with the Collier school district. Our graduates will on average have spent a total of 40 or more full days serving as aids in at least 3 different schools over the period of three semesters, and another full 14 weeks of student teaching in the schools. We evaluate our teacher candidates in their internship using the same program used by the public school district. A number of our faculty are also active K-6 teachers, trainers, and administrators ensuring the most up to date, relevant and real-world  formation by those working in the field. Our graduates are ready to move right into a public or private school teaching position.

We are also extremely well connected to various Catholic school networks around the nation seeking faithful teachers. Catholic school leaders are especially interested in hiring our uniquely well-formed graduates to enhance the academic quality and authentic Catholic identity of their schools. Ave Maria means excellence!

Daniel P. Guernsey, Ed.D.

Chair of the Education Department and Associate Professor
Education: Ed.D., Educational Leadership, Eastern Michigan University, Michigan; M.Ed., Administration and Supervision, California State University, Fresno, California; M.A., English, University of California, Berkeley, California; B.A., English, University of San Francisco, California
Office: Henkels Academic Bldg. 3034
Office Phone: (239) 280-2524
Fax: (239) 280-1637

Denise Donohue, Ed.D.

Adjunct Professor of Education
Education: Ed.D., Educational Leadership, Nova Southeastern University, Florida; M.C.S.L, Catholic School Leadership, University of Dallas, Texas; B.A., Psychology, University of West Florida
Fax: (239) 280-1637

William Gillespie, Ph.D.

Adjunct Professor of Education
Education: B.S., Elementary Education, Marian University; M.A., Education, Marian University; Ph.D., Education, Marian University
Fax: (239) 280-1637

Maria Migdalia Torres, Ed.D.

Adjunct Professor of Education
Education: Ed.D. Educational Leadership, NOVA Southeastern University, FL; M.S. Teaching English as a Second Language and Computer Science, NOVA Southeastern University, FL; B.A., English, University of Puerto Rico.
Fax: (239) 280-1637

Sandra Stockdale, Ed.D.

Adjunct Professor of Education
Fax: (239) 280-1637

Kathy Christensen, Ed.D.

Adjunct Professor of Education
Fax: (239) 280-1637

Lynne Swosinski, Ed.D.

Adjunct Professor of Education
Fax: (239) 280-1637

Tonya Baker, M.A.

Adjunct Professor of Education
Fax: (239) 280-1637

Jill Riordan (2015) teaches 2nd grade at Village Oaks Elementary School in nearby Immokalee. While at Ave Maria she was captain of the cheerleading squad and has taken her passion for supporting and motivating others into one of the neediest schools in Florida. She has created a support program for AMU athletes to mentor and help support her young students, 97% of whom are impoverished and 25% who are in migrant families. She says she cannot imagine teaching anywhere else, but we well know she is prepared to teach anywhere- even where the challenges are highest.

Mary Eckert (2015) teaches 1st grade at Highlands Elementary school located only 15 minutes from Ave Maria. Mary was captain of AMU’s volleyball team. A small but mighty leader, she is using her natural tenacity and teamwork skills coupled with pedagogical knowledge developed during her time in our program to work in a school that is 98% minority with 80% speaking a language other than English at home. Because our program offers and Teaching English as a Second Language endorsement she is trained and fully certified to work with this fast growing segment of our nation’s schools.

Application to the education major must be formally requested (normally during the sophomore year) and approved by the department chair only after meeting several requirements as outlined below. Reception of the degree in Education also involves meeting numerous additional requirements as outlined below.

 

The Major in Elementary Education

Teacher candidates normally formally begin the major in the fall of the junior year after completing prerequisite courses in educational foundations, educational psychology, and a teaching discernment seminar. Teacher candidates must maintain a 2.5 grade point average throughout the program and a minimum grade point average of 2.5 in all education coursework. A grade below a C- in any education course necessitates repeating the course.

Education courses are typically taken in concurrent 12 unit blocks for each of the first three semesters. These courses contain clinical placement-based activities which are completed via a practicum experience. Teacher candidates need to reserve either one full day or two half days a week during these first three semesters to complete the clinical placement components. Teacher candidates will also need to arrange for their own transportation to the clinical placement sites which are typically 15 to 30 minutes away from campus. A formal application to internship must be completed prior to a final semester of the program. During the internship teacher candidates will assume the full schedule and duties of a classroom teacher. Due to the demanding time and workload, teacher candidates are expected to limit the academic workload, and alter their extracurricular activities so as to be available for a full regular school day. Any outside employment during the internship semester is discouraged and must be approved by the department chair.

 

Benchmarks for Progress for the Education Major Teacher Licensure Program

Each benchmark must be passed before the teacher candidate may proceed on to the next benchmark. Waivers sought for unforeseen circumstances may be brought to the attention of the department Chair. An Ombudsman is available to facilitate and clarify any concerns related to progression through the major up to and including recommendation for licensure. The program does not admit students under the 10% waiver.

 

Benchmark #1 Preparation and Application into the Education Major Teacher Licensure Program

·         Students interested in pursuing the Education major resulting in a teaching certificate through the State of Florida must first take and pass, with a C- or better three courses:

EDUC 201 Educational Foundations (4 cr.)

EDUC 202 Human Growth and Learning (4 cr.)

EDUC 203 Discernment/Career Topics (0 cr.)

·         Transfer credit for courses taken with similar titles from other universities, is discouraged as the content and presentation of the courses offered at AMU are situated uniquely within a Catholic perspective emphasizing the integrity and dignity of the human person.

During the EDUC 203 Discernment/Career Topics course, usually taken in the spring of the sophomore year:

·         Teacher candidates will take the Myers-Briggs assessment to help them reflect on their personal attributes and how these might affect their career in teaching. Teacher candidates will also evaluate themselves in terms of the department’s dispositions and produce a letter of recommendation from a teacher or adult mentor who can attest to their potential to develop in the dispositions.

·         The teacher candidate must purchase the TK20 online software package and fulfill all data entry requirements necessary to document program compliance and completion. This site will be monitored by the program director at the end of each semester.

·         Teacher candidates will be fingerprinted and undergo background clearance with a local school district. Teacher candidates with a felony conviction may be disqualified from admittance into the teaching major at AMU and possibly disqualified from receiving a Florida teaching license. Any concerns should be brought proactively to the department chair for evaluation.

·         Teacher candidates must take all sections of the FTCE General Knowledge Test. Ave Maria University must be designated as a score recipient with the testing agency.

·          Teacher candidates will fill out an application to acceptance into the Education major.

 

Benchmark #2 – Admission to Program

This benchmark is normally met at the end of the spring semester of the sophomore year or over the summer before the junior year.

·         Department staff issues an official notice of acceptance into the program after approval of the teacher candidate’s application. The application includes a documented GPA of 2.5 or better in all coursework; a C- or better in the three EDUC prerequisites above; a letter of recommendation; proof of background clearance; and passing score on all sections of the FTCE General Knowledge test.

·         The teacher candidate is now clear to take the following EDUC Classes: 304, 330, 350, 340, and 404.

·         The teacher candidate must maintain an overall GPA of 2.5 and a minimum C- in all Education coursework. Grades below C- must be repeated and will be recorded on the transcripts per the AMU academic policy handbook. Grades will be checked by the department at the end of each semester.

·         During this stage, and before the internship during the senior year, the teacher candidate must take and pass the FTCE Subject Matter Test and the Professional Knowledge Test. Ave Maria University must be designated as a score recipient with the testing agency.

·         The teacher candidate must complete all critical assignments at the proficient level before leaving this stage.

Each education course has “critical assignments” embedded within the flow of the course assessments. These assignments are designed to challenge the teacher candidate to more deeply and fully understand and apply educational concepts and theories. These assignments are tied to mandated competencies by the state of Florida. Late completion of a critical assignment, while required for graduation, may not affect the teacher candidate’s final grade. The course instructor will assess all critical assignments. Transfer students must complete the critical assignments required by AMU for any education course for which transfer credit is accepted.

Teacher candidates must complete all designated “critical assignments” at the “Proficient” or “Exemplary” level with a passing grade of 75% or higher. Teacher candidates who do not meet this score or who do not meet or exceed the proficient level on critical assignments will have the opportunity to repeat the assignment and turn it in before the final course exam. Should the assignment not be turned in at the due date for the final course exam, the teacher candidate will receive an “Incomplete” (I) for two weeks after which the grade will revert to the original grade awarded or a zero. Teacher candidates not passing a critical assignment after the two week period will need to go into the remediation process and work with an education professor to re-do the assignment until the assignment is satisfactorily completed.  All critical assignments up to the EDUC 400 Internship must be satisfactorily completed before the teacher candidate may proceed into the next benchmark of the teaching internship. All critical assignments are completed and tracked in the TK20 system.

 ·         At the conclusion of this stage teacher candidates will submit an application to the internship. The application will include a verification page that the teacher candidate has read the AMU Internship Handbook.

 

Benchmark #3 – Admission to Internship

This benchmark is met during the final semester of the program.

·         Department staff issues an official notice of acceptance into the program after approval of the teacher candidate’s Admission to Internship application. The application includes a documented GPA of 2.5 or better in all coursework, successfully completing all critical tasks at the proficient or exemplary level and the reception of a passing score on all sections of the FTCE Professional Knowledge and relevant subject matter test(s).

·         Once accepted, the teacher candidate will be accepted into EDUC 400 Internship, assigned a cooperating school, principal, and cooperating teacher as well as a university designated clinical supervisor. The clinical supervisor will oversee the intern’s progress during the internship and along with the cooperating teacher will provide assistance, support, and feedback to the teacher candidate. The internship will typically be 14 weeks long and require participation in a seminar.  The teacher candidate must successfully pass a public school district evaluation as determined by the clinical supervisor. The interns must also pass all evaluative criteria in the intern handbook as well as a final presentation of the teacher’s portfolio and oral presentation which will highlight impact on student learning. All these elements will be documented in the TK20 system.

 

Benchmark #4 – Graduation

This benchmark is usually met at the conclusion of the spring semester of the senior year.

·         A checklist for graduation must be initiated and prepared by the teacher candidate by April 15 for a spring graduation. The teacher candidate will submit a completed checklist with the graduation application to the education department chair for review at least three weeks prior to graduation. This will be done in addition to the University procedure for graduation common to all majors. The teacher candidate will work closely with the education department faculty advisor to ensure all benchmarks and requirements have been met prior to submitting graduation application.

·         The department chair will carefully review each application for completeness and, if met, forward the information to the registrar.

Will this major lead directly to state certification or a state teaching license?

Yes! Ave Maria University’s education major is approved by the state of Florida as an initial teacher preparation program.  Graduates qualify for Florida professional certification for grades K-6, including ESOL and Reading Endorsements.

 

I want to teach high school. Your major is only for K-6. What should I do?

We recommend that those who want to teach high school should major in the discipline they would like to teach and then get an education minor. The 23 credit minor will provide all the core coursework the state wants to see for earning a high school teaching certificate and prepare you for the three required state teacher certification exams. You will need to complete a successful year of teaching post-graduation to earn your certificate from the state. The content major should be earned with an eye toward meeting certification requirements highlighted at  http://www.fldoe.org/edcert/subjlist.asp. Please contact the Chair of the Education Department for full details and assistance in planning.