How Does the Practicum Work?
The University of North Florida (UNF) has a well-established partnership with regional school districts. This design feature provides efficient and effective linkages between Urban EPI instructional modules and classroom experience.
The state of Florida EPI requirements includes a demonstration of mastery of field-based competencies. For those UNF EPI program participants who are currently employed in a teaching position, this requirement will be satisfied within the context of their current classroom. School-based and UNF support teams will provide mentoring, while the principal and Clinical Supervisors confirm their mastery of the field-based competencies. Current teachers will complete a minimum of 10-hours of tutoring in literacy to satisfy their mastery of field-based competencies in reading.
UNF EPI program participants who are not currently teaching (known as Teacher Candidates, or "TC") will be required to complete a 100-hour-minimum, classroom-based practicum, as well as a minimum of 10-hours of tutoring in literacy to satisfy their mastery of field-based competencies in reading. The required, minimum hours are designed to be attainable even for those TCs who have full-time jobs outside of the program. The 100-hour-minimum is (and must be) spread out over the course of the program. The weekly schedule is determined by the TC and the mentor teacher at the alliance school.
Protocol-Contact with School Personnel
- Only the University may contact school personnel to establish field experience settings. Our teacher candidates may not be participants in establishing placements. The University Clinical Supervisor is the contact for each placement. The contact person in the school (Principal, Assistant Principal or Professional Development Coordinator), and not an individual classroom teacher, is the initial person with whom communication is established. Since many schools host a variety of field experiences, it is essential that opening communication be with the contact person. This will help to prevent field experience overload in any one classroom.
- All placements will be within a UNF alliance school/district.
- In the event a TC is hired as a teacher during the course of the program, that TC will be moved to a teacher status, and their new classroom will become the practicum site. If the TC is hired out of field, they must furnish a new Statement of Status of Eligibility in order to complete the program successfully. No refunds will be given for the decision to accept a position out of field.
- The practicum site must match the area of certification that is listed on the Statement of Status of Eligibility at the start of the program. That is, all TCs must be assigned to a mentor who is certified in and working in their same certification area.
- Communication with the school's contact person to begin the field experience placement process generally takes place the summer prior to the anticipated beginning of the experience up until the first month of school. This time frame is essential in allowing the contact person ample time to communicate with teachers about the request.
- All EPI Participants are required to complete a background check. The fingerprinting appointment will be set by you and the EPI office. No practicum experience can begin without a background clearance. The fee for the background check is included in your tuition.
Requirements for Practicum hours for TCs:
- A minimum of 100 hours must be spread consistently throughout the school year to fully experience:
- 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
- TCs must be able to attend an initial meeting at their school site with their Mentor Teacher and the Clinical Supervisor and/or Assistant Director.
- TCs must spend a minimum of two hours, twice a week in their school site except for designated short weeks which are exempt
- TCs are allowed 2 emergency interruptions to the practicum routine
- TCs must spend at least one full day at their school site 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.
- Please consider your ability to complete the Practicum requirements carefully.
- Incomplete or failed Practicum will result in non-completion of the EPI Program.
- Mid-program dismissal may occur if the EPI observations indicate that the participant is grossly deficient and showing no signs of improvement, despite an extensive remediation plan.