Student Learning for Other School Professionals
Candidates who are preparing to become school counselors, educational administrators, or school library media specialists are interested in creating positive educational environments to enhance student learning. For example, candidates in the School Counseling Program are required to assess the impact they have on those they serve during both on and off-campus clinical experiences. On-campus, candidates learn various methods of appraisal in their coursework and apply such methods during individual and group counseling skills training and practicum courses. During these courses, candidates conduct live sessions and then must reflect, keep case notes, and assess their own perceived impact on clients as well as receive classmate and supervisor feedback on their observations of the impact the candidate had on the client/s. Off campus, during their internship experience in a school setting, candidates are evaluated on their impact on the educational environment and the clients they serve. One required assignment is titled “Making a Difference” in which candidates must gather and analyze data to determine how their school counseling services impact students. Additionally, they are required to submit case reports and are evaluated by their field supervisors, who assess their ability to create positive student change.
In the School Library Media Program, candidates work to have a positive impact on the educational environment to enhance student learning. A rubric, based on the State competencies, has been developed to evaluate candidates during their practicum experience. Specifically, two competencies focus on student learning and the educational environment. Competency B states “A library media specialist develops and implements an information media program that is an integral part of the total curriculum.” Competency D states “A library media specialist initiates and maintains motivating environments that foster the continued professional growth of the learning community.” The rubric is completed by the supervising library media specialist and the candidate and discussed with the university supervisor during the practicum visits.
The Educational Administration and Leadership Program provides at its core, an intense emphasis in overall school improvement. Coursework and field experience outcomes not only align with the Minnesota licensure competencies for school administrators, but also reflect our own program mission to develop school leaders for the 21st century. Minnesota licensure competencies require that candidates demonstrate proficiency in data-based decision making and multiple evaluation and assessment practices for measuring a) student achievement; b) program merit or worth; c) school personnel performance; d) climate and culture; and e) both internal and external community perceptions of overall school effectiveness. Impact on student learning is difficult to capture for new and aspiring school leaders, changes in the school environment is also difficult to measure directly even during field experience activities. However, candidates do develop long-term projects that entail the development of knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to effectively impact student learning, teacher effectiveness, and overall climate and culture.
Data on the impact our candidates have on their students or the educational environment indicate strong performance. A positive learning environment is critical to the enhancement and support of student learning; therefore, demonstration of strong skills in this area is critical to the success of our candidates.
Summary: Candidates in other professional roles clearly understand and demonstrate the ability to create positive learning environments that support the learning needs of all students. Candidates understand the infrastructure within the community, school, and family structure to be effective in planning and implementing policies and practices to increase student learning.