Information for Site Partners

Any school that participates in field experiences for UMass Amherst licensure candidates is considered a partnering school.  Each placement provides opportunities to develop deep, interactive relationships, which support the learning needs of our candidates while also supporting the needs of the school and district.  Candidates have opportunities to participate in a variety of settings throughout their programs. Factors for placement include considering the learning experiences possible at a site, including working with diverse populations of students, such as English language learners (ELLs).  The College of Education has specific commitments to urban education, rural education and suburban education through pathways, programs and partnerships. 

Our goal is to nurture mutually beneficial partnerships with regional schools which include: 1. Basic partnerships, defined as placement sites for candidates where programs often work with individual educators; 2. Intermediate partnerships, which take place at a school where there is consultation at the department or administrative level with UMass licensure personnel, including schools that host a cohort of candidates; and 3. In-depth partnerships, where there is extensive collaboration between the school and UMass licensure personnel in order to develop our programs and/or when the school hosts an immersion cohort of candidates. 

General Information for Supervising Practitioners

The quality of the candidates’ field experiences rests highly on the practitioners in our collaborating school districts.  We value their enormous contribution to our programs and are grateful for their participation at all levels of field experiences, including supporting our candidates by… 

  • Having a candidate volunteer or observe in early field experiences,
  • Being a sponsoring practitioner for a pre-practicum; and/or
  • Taking the role of the supervising practitioner for a practicum experience.

Supervising practitioners (mentor teachers) are PK-12 school educators who supervise the candidates through their clinical work.  Our unit’s faculty strive to find placements for our candidates with supervising practitioners who “exemplify the essential qualities of the program and the underlying philosophy of the unit.” Supervising practitioners need to be current in the field, sensitive to the needs of candidates and students, have high expectations of candidates, and able to develop candidates’ skills to support learning for all students. To qualify as a supervising practitioner, teachers must have…

  • Their administrator’s approval to be a supervising practitioner;
  • At least three full years working under the appropriate initial or professional license; and
  • A rating of proficient or higher on his/her most recent summative evaluation. *NOTE: This is a mandated qualification. District administrators do not share ratings with University Personnel.

Supervising practitioners work with university program supervisors to support candidates and during their practicum. Candidates are evaluated using the state’s Guidelines for the Candidate Assessment of Performance (CAP) and/or program specific assessments. While evaluation, goal setting and reflection occurs throughout the practicum, the supervising practitioner, candidate and program supervisor have three formal meetings to document progress for the state: (a) an initial three-way meeting to discuss goals for the experience; (b) a second three-way meeting to discuss progress, review goals, and create plans of action for the last half of the semester; and (c) a final three-way meeting to complete final assessment and discuss the mentoring process as a whole.

Information for School and District Administrators

School and/or district administrators’ participation in the field experience process is essential for success.  The administrators often make recommendations to the University regarding who is interested and qualified to act in the role of supervising practitioner, through the annual Supervising Practitioners List which is sent to most partnering school districts in the early spring. The school administrator must approve all practicum experiences and verify that the proposed supervising practitioner is recommended and qualified to act in the role. The Field Experience Specialist confers with principals to learn the placement processes for each district and share the procedures with programs. If you are a school or district administrator and have any questions about field experiences in your school or district, or wish to share recommended procedures with educator preparation programs, pleasecontact the Field Experience Specialist.

Support from the University

Each candidate has multiple support people from the university.  The following is a list of typical support roles that many candidates have on their team:

Program Coordinator: The program coordinator is often the faculty member responsible for the subject area of a candidate’s licensure program. There are many programs  offered for licensure, each with 1-2 program coordinators. 

Program Supervisor: The person with whom most practitioners work is the program supervisor (previously called “university supervisor”). These might be faculty or hired supervisors such as doctoral students and retired educators.  Program supervisors have teaching experience in the subject area and make minimally three observation visits and three 3-way meetings (candidate, supervising practitioner and program supervisor).  They utilize the CAP as their guiding document for the teaching programs and subject specific assessments for programs for other school personnel. 

Unit Personnel: Educator preparation & licensure personnel who work at the unit level with all of the programs and pathways for educator licensure include:

  • The Field Experience Specialist collaborates with school districts and UMass participants as well as oversees unit procedures for field experiences;
  • The Data Specialist who manages the TK20 online system, assessment data and licensure data reporting;
  • The University Licensure Officer and Chief Undergraduate Advisor who oversees the Educator Licensure Office (ELO) and Educator Information Office (EIO);
  • The Assistant Dean for P12 Educator Preparation who ensures that all our programs meet the national, state and institutional regulations and accreditation requirements.

Please see the Educator Licensure Office contact list for current contact information.