EPI Program Description

 

The University of North Florida (UNF), College of Education and Human Services (COEHS), has been approved by the Florida Department of Education to provide an Educator Preparation Institute (EPI) as part of the state’s efforts to address teacher shortages in critical areas. The EPI recruits high quality individuals for several areas of teacher certification. UNF’s existing capacity to meet local districts’ needs for highly qualified teachers will be permanently increased through the EPI.

The EPI program offers a ten-month combination of connected instructional modules, Practicums, and mentoring. The EPI program is learner-centered, competency based, and focused on developing expertise plus long-term teacher retention through a strong mentoring component. Programmatic components are integrated in ways that provide in-depth instruction and support to career changers as they prepare to become highly qualified, committed teachers. The EPI program addresses the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (FEAPs), and the professional competency testing requirements. Mastery of competencies is demonstrated in K-12 classroom settings and documented using state-approved formative and summative instrumentation. Mentoring is provided for the duration of the program. EPI completers are awarded a credential from UNF’s College of Education and Human Services (COEHS) confirming completion of state EPI requirements for professional certification and eligibility to apply for a Florida Professional Teaching Certificate.

 

Curriculum, Competencies, and the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (FEAPS)


The EPI curriculum addresses competencies on higher levels of complexity as the program proceeds. Six integrated instructional modules, plus Florida’s Reading Competency 2 course, address the statewide EPI curriculum and the FEAPs, and provide instruction in professional knowledge, reading strategies, and exceptional student education (ESE).
 
The EPI is delivered using a blend of site-based and web-based methods. A central element of the competency-based curriculum provides you with practical information, blended with essential theory and real-life practice, to provide the knowledge and skills that you will need to be a successful classroom teacher.

 

EPI Instructional Modules


EPI 001 Instructional Design and Lesson Planning
EPI 002 The Learning Environment
EPI 003 Instructional Delivery and Facilitation
EPI 004 Assessment
EPI 005 Continuous Improvement, Professional Responsibility, and Ethics
EPI 006 Practicum
EPI 007 Reading Competency 2


Practicum


The University of North Florida (UNF) has a well-established partnership with regional school districts. EPI participants employed as teachers fulfill Practicum requirements within the context of their classrooms. School-based support teams mentor them and principals confirm mastery of field-based competencies in seamless collaboration with the EPI. This design feature provides efficient and effective linkages between EPI instructional modules and classroom experience.

EPI participants who are NOT employed as teachers are referred to as Resident Teacher Candidates (RTC). RTC’s are required to complete 70 classroom-based hours as well as 10 hours tutoring and 10 hours of student interaction and/or classroom experience to satisfy their field component.  The EPI Director will arrange placement for RTCs in an EPI Alliance School. Placement is attempted at schools as close to RTCs’ homes or work as possible. These hours are designed to be attainable for even those who have full time jobs outside of the EPI. The 70 hours must be spread out over the months of October (or as soon as placement is made) – the end of May. The schedule of these hours is set between the RTC and his/her Mentor Teacher to adjust to the most instructionally beneficial times to visit the classroom and the participant’s work schedule. Of course, in the case where a participant does have more time to spend in his/her Practicum school, 70 hours is a minimum and the RTC can spend as many hours as possible with his/her Mentor Teacher. Some RTCs spend over 200 hours in their field classrooms – the more time spent, the better prepared you are!

Requirements for Practicum hours for RTCs:

  • Hours must be spread consistently throughout the school year to provide for a feel for
    • the flow of the curriculum
    • the changing dynamics throughout the school year
    • the maturity of the students and a chance to build a rapport
     
  • Hours cannot be achieved through spending a full week, a few times during the year
  • Hours cannot be achieved through periodically taking a day from work
  • RTCs must be able to attend an initial meeting at their Practicum school with their Mentor Teacher and the Director
  • RTCs must spend a minimum of one hour, twice a week in their Practicum schools except for designated short weeks which are exempt
  • RTC’s are allowed 4 emergency interruptions to the practicum routine
  • RTCs must spend at least one full day in their Practicum school during the program
  • Full commitment to the Practicum is required. Success in Practicum completion is directly related to success in obtaining employment and positively affecting students thereafter.
  • RTC’s hired during the program move immediately to Teacher status and their classrooms become their Practicum sites.
  • From August 2013 – February 2014 Seventeen RTCs were hired in schools.
  •  Please consider these requirements before submitting an application for the EPI.

Student Assessment Methodologies


Mastery of the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (FEAPS) and related competencies will be evaluated by the instructional team and a school administrator or designee. Both formative and summative assessments will be used. Authentic assessment tasks will be imbedded in both instructional modules and Practicums. EPI participants will organize their performance artifacts and evaluation rubrics in individual EPI portfolios as evidence of mastery of the FEAP’s for the Florida Department of Education.

The UNF EPI is a rigorous program. If accepted, you will embark on an intense ten months of study and practice into what is required to be an effective educator. You will leave with the knowledge and skills to lead your own classroom. According to last year’s FLDOE report, we have the highest hire and retention rate of completers of all EPI programs in the state. But our participants work for it. Some don’t make it. Please consider this responsibility carefully. This is not a series of workshops. You will earn your credential.

 

EPI Completion and Beyond

EPI completers will receive a credential of EPI completion. This credential confirms completion of the state’s Professional Education Competencies requirements for professional certification and eligibility to apply to the FLDOE for a Florida Professional teaching Certificate.


 
Florida Teacher Certification Exam (FTCE)


EPI Participants must take the three subtests (General Knowledge, Subject Area, and Professional Education) of the FTCE prior to or during the EPI program. The EPI will provide preparation for the Professional Test.  Testing information and registration can be found at www.fl.nesinc.com.

 

Questions about Florida Teacher Certification?

www.fldoe.org/edcert and www.teachinflorida/com

     

 

 

Required EPI Program Hours  

The program involves a total of 280 hours. These hours are accomplished through the following activities:

Description

Hours

Saturday site based sessions:

20 sessions, approximately every other Saturday except holiday weekends

Practicum:

Resident Teacher Candidates (RTC):
*70 classroom based hours and

  10 hours tutoring

  10 hours of student interaction and/or classroom

  experience

 

In-service teachers:  

Practicum satisfied in his/her own classroom

Online use:

Blackboard:

Media for discussions, access to groups and class documents and reading course

 

Reading online course (Reading Competency 2):

Begins in January, 14 weeks

Outside of class workload:

 Ample reading, reflecting, artifacts to complete in field or regular classroom, intensive reading during 14 week reading course. This is not a “workshop”. This is a university level, rigorous program. You will leave the program with a university level, quality skill set and knowledge base. Principals and School District personnel will recognize your education and respect your abilities. Your credentials will be from UNF.

 

Want More Information? 

 Contact Betty Bennett, EPI Director

 University of North Florida, 1 UNF Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32224

 Telephone (904) 620-1823

 Fax (904) 620-1619

 Email bbennett@unf.edu