General Teacher Preparation Policy
The state should ensure that teacher preparation programs provide teacher candidates with a high quality clinical experience. The bar for this goal was raised in 2017.
Cooperating Teacher Requirements:
requires that cooperating teachers have a minimum of three years of
experience in the areas they are supervising. Also, the state not only
allows student teaching to be conducted in approved Nebraska schools,
but it also accepts experience from out-of-state schools approved by
another state education agency or in similarly constituted
English-speaking schools in another nation.
Clinical Practice Duration: Nebraska requires candidates to complete a full-day student teaching experience for one semester (at least 14 weeks) for any combination of subject endorsements and a field endorsement. The state requires a minimum of 10 weeks full time for each of two or more field endorsements.
Nebraska allows clinical practice experience to take place in an "approved, accredited or otherwise legally operated school in another state or an English-speaking school in another country where teachers and administrators in the school are required by law or regulation to be certificated by the state or nation's educational authority."
Clinical Practice Assignment: Nebraska specifies that candidates complete their student teaching in the setting that matches the license sought. The clinical practice experience shall "provide supervised opportunities to practice and demonstrate over a continuous, extended time period the unique knowledge and skills of teaching in the specific endorsement area(s)." In addition, the state specifies that the clinical practice experience for the early childhood education license must take place in a preschool setting. However, the state does not specify that clinical practice experience for the special education generalist K-12 license or the K-8 license should occur at multiple grade levels.
92 NAC 20 002.21; 005.03A2; 005.11 92 NAC 24.006.17
Ensure that cooperating teachers have demonstrated evidence of effectiveness as measured by student learning.
Cooperating teachers in Nebraska should be carefully screened for their ability to further student achievement. Research indicates that student teachers benefit most when cooperating teachers are selected by the preparation program rather than by the student teacher or school district staff.
Require clinical practice experience in at least two different developmental grade levels for licenses with overly broad grade spans.
Given the broad range of students included under Nebraska's K-8 elementary and K12 special education license, it is important that the state's clinical practice requirements include experience in multiple grade levels. It is especially critical for special education teacher candidates to gain experience with a variety of students with disabilities across the spectrum and in multiple grade levels.
Explicitly require that student teaching be completed locally, thus prohibiting candidates from completing this requirement abroad.
Unless preparation programs can establish true satellite campuses to closely supervise student teaching arrangements, placement in foreign or otherwise novel locales should be supplementary to a standard student teaching arrangement. Outsourcing the arrangements for student teaching makes it impossible to ensure the selection of the best cooperating teacher and adequate supervision of the student teacher and may prevent training of the teacher on relevant state instructional frameworks.
Nebraska referenced one of its administrative rules regarding experience at grade levels of endorsement.
1E: Student Teaching
The stakes are too high for student teaching requirements to be left to chance. Student teaching is the final clinical experience of teacher preparation, and teacher candidates have only one chance to experience the best possible placement. Student teaching will shape their own performance as teachers and help determine the type of school in which they will choose to teach. A mediocre student teaching experience, let alone a disastrous one, can never be undone.
Central to the quality of the student teaching experience is the classroom teacher who serves as the teacher candidate's mentor, or cooperating teacher. Only strong teachers with evidence of their effectiveness, as assessed by objective measures of student learning and by their principals, should be able to serve as cooperating teachers. Yet placement is much more likely to be the luck of the draw. Reports by NCTQ, including Student Teaching in the United States and the Teacher Prep Review,
found most teacher preparation programs fail to require that cooperating teachers must be effective instructors.