Conceptual Framework

The conceptual framework of STEP UP centers on providing an intensive clinically-embedded teacher preparation pathway to prospective teachers. STEP UP creates an intersection between preparation and early induction phases of teacher development supported by a university-school district collaborative partnership. Partnerships are essential for powerful clinical preparation in that they bring together the talents, expertise, and resources of both organizations to create environments that integrate theory and evidence-based practice within the context of real classrooms (AACTE, 2010).

STEP UP aligns how teachers are prepared and the needs of the schools. Clinical preparation programs can bridge the gap between preparation and the first years of teaching by creating a common language for all practitioners at a school and district (Center for Teaching Quality, 2013), preparing teachers by engaging them in habits of mind such as building a culture of inquiry to address authentic school-based needs through scaffolded critical reflective practice. This can be accomplished through the creation of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), by providing common professional development for all participants, and with new teacher induction programs.

University-based supervisors (for STEP UP, the Site Liaison or Field Supervisor), along with the scaffolding and support offered by experienced cooperating teachers, provide a critical link between the university and the school. Each play a critical role in the development of the teacher candidate. While cooperating teachers offer guidance in providing teacher candidates multiple and strategic opportunities to practice skills of effective teaching, the quality feedback and increased supervision of university supervisors may result in better outcomes for teacher candidates (Grossman, 2010).

Build collaborative partnership, Bride Preparation and practice through Clinically-Rich Experience, Develop a Culture of Iniquity