Effective teachers are vitally important to the future of our communities and nation.
What is elementary education?
Simply put – an opportunity to touch the future!
Completing the basic program in early childhood/elementary education or what we refer to as our PK-4 program qualifies you for a variety of professional employment possibilities working with young children. Candidates who successfully complete all requirements of this program will be qualified to apply for a PK-4 teacher certificate which will make you eligible for employment in classrooms ranging from pre-school through fourth grade. This particular program integrates the general education curriculum required of all students with a large number of credits in educational foundations and pedagogical areas allowing students to be prepared to teach in developmentally appropriate ways and meet the needs of young students.
Why study elementary education at Shippensburg?
Founded in 1871 as a teachers college, Shippensburg University has a rich heritage of preparing some of the finest teachers in the region. Our outstanding faculty is devoted to designing and teaching a demanding, relevant, philosophical and clinical curriculum. Our graduates have one of the highest pass rates on the Praxis teacher certification exams among the fourteen Pennsylvania state universities. Our program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) which verifies our programs meet high national standards of excellence.
What is the curriculum at Shippensburg University?
The Teacher Education Program is an expression of a body of collaborative decision-makers who perform within a conceptual framework of assessing, planning and reflecting. As such, faculty and candidates are committed to the following institutional standards:
- Promotes supportive educational environments that are respectful of and responsive to individual differences.
- Reflect continuously upon one’s own performance and demonstrate progress in the development of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions required for effective professional performance.
- Demonstrate the use of best practices and technologies in order to positively impact the achievement of all learners.
- Demonstrate the use of appropriate authentic assessments and analytical data to make informed decisions that impact learner achievement.
- Collaborate with critical others in making informed decisions within educational contexts.
Our Early Childhood/Elementary PK-4 curriculum is threefold:
- General education requirements, including courses in the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences;
- Professional early childhood, elementary and reading courses that were designed to meet the required competencies outlined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for preparation as a teacher of young children; and
- Clinical field experiences which include observation and participation in teaching in a variety of PK-4 school settings.
What is clinical field experience?
In collaboration with and as part of the coursework required, our students have substantial field experience opportunities. Each student is required to complete at least 180 hours of clinical field experience, which is interwoven into their program courses. Each set of field experience hours places students in formal classroom situations in which students have increasing responsibility for children, providing instruction, using educational strategies and techniques, taking on leadership roles within the school environment, and working with dedicated professionals in the field.
Student teaching is the culminating field experience and occurs for one semester during the senior year. It involves a sixteen week assignment at a PK-4 grade level in a school in south central Pennsylvania.
What are program requirements?
To insure a consistently high quality of instruction in the public schools of the Commonwealth, all teachers are required by law to have a teaching certificate. This legal permit to teach is issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to an individual who has completed certain specific course requirements in the area or areas of instruction indicated. Specific undergraduate curricula of the university prepare students to be sponsored for initial teacher certification as a PK-4 educator.
Students admitted to all education programs are expected to maintain an adjusted quality point average of at least a 3.0. Faculty periodically review students’ social and academic progress and make recommendations for appropriate supportive actions if needed. These reviews consist of periodic checkpoints throughout the program to determine if this GPA is being met and if necessary students may be counseled about increasing their GPA or may be asked to leave the program should the GPA not be maintained. In conjunction with the approved QPA, the department requires that a grade of C or higher must be obtained in each course listed on the approved planning sheet. Students are also required to complete a series of state mandated Praxis tests. The cost of the testing program is paid by the individual student.
A student transferring into the program from another program on campus must have a 3.0 quality point average. A student transferring into the program from another institution of higher education must have a 3.0 quality point average. Please note that some programs have limited availability due to course offerings. Student applications will be evaluated and ranked for consideration. It is possible that even if a student meets the requirements, they may not be able to enter a desired program due to limited space.
How is Grace B. Luhrs University Elementary School used?
Grace B. Luhrs University Elementary School is an alternative elementary school operated on the SU campus through cooperation between the university and the Shippensburg Area School District. It includes kindergarten through fifth grade and is taught by Shippensburg University College of Education faculty and Shippensburg Area School District teachers. The curriculum is designed to reflect sound developmental and educational practices to meet the unique needs of the children and families served. Demonstration lessons are regularly taught which focus on the application and implementation of current research-based educational techniques. Our students have frequent opportunities to observe and to participate in the teaching process at Grace B. Luhrs University Elementary School.