STEP UP Program


Call for Applications for STEP UP
Spring 2020 at Brownsville ISD, McAllen ISD

The UTRGV College of Education and P-16 Integration, in partnership with Brownsville and McAllen school districts, invites you to apply for its Spring 2020 cohort for STEP-UP (Student Teacher Educator Preparation—University Partnership), an exciting and dynamic teacher preparation experience. The Spring 2020 cohort will be selected from applicants in the elementary teacher program.


STEP UP offers undergraduate teacher education candidates a year-long, clinically-rich, K-12 school-based experience through a collaborative preparation approach. Preparing highly effective new teachers to enter the classroom requires narrowing the transition gap between pre-service and induction to the first years of teaching. The goal of the partnership is to prepare new teachers to enter the classroom with the knowledge, skills, and experience of a second-year teacher.

STEP UP teacher candidates receive opportunities of guided sustained supervision and mentorship from an experienced teacher and university faculty liaison as they spend an entire school year in the classroom.


School District Partnerships

With the success of the original partnership and design with Harlingen Consolidated School District, STEP UP Program has now expanded to two new districts for Spring cohorts: Brownsville ISD and McAllen ISD.



Program Benefits

The STEP-UP program provides an immersive and intensive teaching experience designed and implemented by university faculty and district educators. Under the structured guidance of educators from UTRGV and district partner, teacher candidates develop their knowledge and skills of effective teaching in the authentic setting of a classroom. They receive support from professionals able to provide developmental feedback and guide candidates as they develop into self-reflective practitioners.

University faculty collaborate with teacher candidates and cooperating (mentor) teachers in classroom action research. District cooperating teachers model effective practices for candidates and provide mentoring and coaching support. All partners in the collaboration are continuously engaged in the discourse of highly effective teaching. Participation in the program results in candidates being highly prepared for their first year of teaching.

This program offers teacher candidates a variety of benefits, including:

  • The opportunity to experience school activities across the span of an entire year, participating in all aspects of school life, including in-service training, faculty meetings, and ARD meetings;
  • Co-teaching opportunities with district cooperating teachers throughout the year-long experience;
  • Engagement in professional learning communities with peers, cooperating teachers, and university faculty to discuss topics central to highly effective teaching;
  • Participation alongside university faculty in data-based decision-making utilizing evidence-based practices;
  • Integrated developmentally designed activities that increase in complexity over time;
  • Flexibility to practice teaching skills in different settings within the school;
  • Learn about the policies and procedures of the district and campus; and
  • Opportunities for mock job interviews and possibility for early hire in a district.



Program requirements

Candidates for the Spring 2020 cohort at Brownsville ISD and McAllen ISD must be:

  • Admitted into the UTRGV Teacher Preparation program
  • Eligible to student teach in Fall 2020
  • In the elementary teacher program
  • Selected through an application and interview process



The following outlines essential roles and responsibilities in STEP UP for teacher candidates.



Roles and Responsibilities for Teacher Candidate

  • Fall Semester

    • Commit to complete a 2-semester program.
    • Adhere to all district and university policies.
    • Demonstrate high level of professionalism.
    • Attend one assigned full day every week of the semester at their respective school.
    • Attend the entire first week of class at their respective school.
    • Attend Professional Learning Community (PLC) meetings with other teacher candidates and their cooperating teachers.
    • Participate in co-planning, co-teaching, and feedback conferences with cooperating teacher and university supervisor. Co-teaching roles will vary over the course of the semester, with the candidate taking on greater responsibility as the semester progresses.
    • Participate in professional development, faculty meetings, and other district sponsored events.
    • Actively participate in their own professional development in the authentic setting of a real classroom by setting goals and focusing on continuous improvement.
    • Be receptive to engage in other activities contributing to professional development.
    • Have the opportunity to substitute teach.
  • Spring Semester

    • Adhere to district and university policies.
    • Continue to demonstrate high level of professionalism and participate in the school/district meetings and events teachers are expected to attend
    • Attend the equivalent of 14 5-day weeks over the spring semester and fulfill responsibilities of student teacher.
    • By starting on the district start day, students may periodically substitute teach throughout the semester one day a week—optional but recommended.
    • Continue to attend PLC meetings and Group Seminar meetings.
    • Participate in planning and post-teaching conferences with cooperating teacher.
    • Take on more planning, teaching, and administrative responsibility in the classroom as the semester progresses.
    • Participate in parent meetings.
    • Participate in mock interview process with district personnel.
    • Actively participate in a seamless transition from student to professional.


How to Apply

To apply to STEP UP for Spring 2020, please use the button below to complete an application on Tk20. This exciting program has limited space, so don’t miss out on this great opportunity!

For more information

Contact Information
Name Email Campus
Dr. Steve Chamberlain
Program Coordinator
steve.chamberlain@utrgv.edu Brownsville
BMAIN 2.216