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Mansfield University... Developing Tomorrow's Leaders Teacher Education & Educational Field Experiences


Certification Standards & Clearance Policy


The Teacher Education Unit is responsible for all teacher certification programs at Mansfield University regardless of which department houses the program. The Department of Education and Special Education is the largest department with other departments across campus also housing programs in the Unit. Nationally accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) at both the undergraduate and graduate level, the Unit strives to prepare teachers who have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to meet the demands of public education in the twenty-first century. In addition to student teaching experiences in schools in Pennsylvania and New York, students also have further learning opportunities at diverse sites in Arizona, Alaska, Philadelphia, and Australia.

Statewide regulations governing teacher education in Pennsylvania require that admission and retention in teacher education programs be carefully monitored. Mansfield University teacher education programs must meet the admissions standards developed by the PDE and NCATE. Both of these organizations require teacher education programs to screen teacher education candidates to assure that only those individuals with the requisite dispositions and abilities for successful teaching are admitted to programs and advance to certification.

The Pennsylvania regulations, known as Chapter 354, require a two-tier system for teacher education programs. Students may be admitted to the university as majors within a variety of programs, but they must satisfy certain requirements to advance to upper division course work numbered 3000 and above. Further information can be found at The Pennsylvania Department of Education.

In the Education and Special Education Department, the admissions requirements begin with initial acceptance into early childhood (PK – grade 4), middle (grades 4 – 8), early childhood/special education dual, and secondary. At that time, students are designated as “teacher education majors” (TEM). Students with TEM status may only take ED, ELE, SPE, ARE, and some MU courses with prefix courses numbered below 3000. Students must achieve “teacher education certification candidate” (TECC) status to take ED, ELE, SPE, ARE, and some MU prefix courses numbered 3000 and above. Please note that upon entrance into an education program, each student must submit copies of the five required clearances in order to proceed through the program and advance through the state- implemented gate system. Please refer to the section of this handbook called Mansfield University Clearance Policy for Education Majors for specific information regarding clearances.

Chapter 354: State-implemented Gate System: Students must meet the requirements and pass through three gates in order to be eligible for Pennsylvania certification.

Gate One: Students must complete Gate One before being permitted to take upper level courses (3000 level and above). Passing from Gate One to Gate Two enables the student to move from being a Teacher Education Major (TEM) to a Teacher Education Certification Candidate (TECC). In order to become a TECC, the student must:

  •  complete a minimum of 48 hours of course work which may include transfer hours;
  •  have a Quality Point Average (QPA) of 3.0 or higher;
  • complete two college level mathematics courses; and one English literature course and one English composition before becoming a TECC (Math 0090 and English 0090 or developmental or remedial transfer courses do not meet this requirement);
  • pass ED 1110,  Foundations of Education;
  • pass the Praxis I certification test* (Students transferring into Mansfield University from another institution and who have met all other Gate One requirements may be designated a probationary TECC. They will have one semester after admission to Mansfield University to pass the Praxis I);
  • submit appropriate clearances for Act 34 (criminal), Act 151(child abuse), PA FBI, and TB Tine Test;
  • see program description or advisor for additional program specific requirements.

Designation of upper division TECC status may not be made sooner than the semester when the student will earn 48 credits or more. The achievement of TECC status is the first of three “gates” in the teacher education programs. The requirements for each gate are specified below and on the department’s website: http://www2.mansfield.edu/edspeced/

Gate Two: Students wishing to be admitted to student teaching must complete the following
requirements:

  • have a Quality Point Average (QPA) of 3.0 or higher;
  • complete all education courses except student teaching and professional seminar; students wishing to take non-education courses after student teaching must petition the appropriate
    department chair and the director of Teacher Education;
  • see program description or advisor for additional program specific requirements;
  • renew all clearances by the following deadlines to avoid a delay in student teaching;

Fall Student Teachers: Clearances must not be dated prior to February of the year that student teaching will take place. Copies of all renewed clearances must be turned into The Educational Field Experience Office in Retan Center no later than June 30th.

Spring Student Teachers: Clearances must not be dated prior to June 15th of the summer preceding student teaching. Copies of all renewed clearances must be turned into The Educational Field Experience Office in Retan Center no later than September 30th.

Gate Three: Students who desire certification must complete the following requirements before Mansfield University is able to recommend them to the state for certification:

*Praxis Information: For information on preparing for Praxis I and II exams, please review the materials on reserve in the North Hall Library, take a Praxis preparation workshop offered by graduate assistants each semester, or contact Praxis coordinator, Dr. Lynne Hammann at 570-662-4561. For registration information, please go to www.ets.org. For information on what test to take, please consult the chart at the Examinations page. For additional information, please see the Praxis section of this handbook.

Mansfield University’s Clearance Policy for Education Majors

As indicated in this handbook and Mansfield University’s undergraduate and graduate catalogues, great care is taken to ensure that all education students have acceptable clearances to be teacher education majors upon acceptance into the program. Without appropriate clearances, students will be unable to successfully complete education courses and their eventual degree as they will be blocked from registering for coursework midway through their first semester at Mansfield University.  

It is the policy of Mansfield University (MU) that all Teacher Education Majors, upon acceptance into the program, must possess a current Pennsylvania Criminal Record Check (Act 34), Child Abuse History clearance (Act 151), a negative TB tine test, a current PA- FBI, and annual professional liability insurance. The process for securing the above mentioned clearances can be found at http://mansfield.edu/teacher/, and questions can be directed to Mrs. Beth McClure at 570-662-4024. Mansfield University will not allow a student to go into the field, under any circumstances, unless copies of current clearances are on file in The Educational Field Experience Office, 202 Retan.   In addition, students are obligated to share potential changes to their clearance history throughout the course of their study.

As long as a student is continuously enrolled in an education program at Mansfield University, his/her clearances will be maintained until student teaching. If a student decides to change majors or take a semester (or more) off, then he/she will be required to submit new clearances upon entrance back into the education program. All students will have to renew their clearances prior to student teaching. The following specific requirements should be followed for student teachers renewing their clearances (Act 34, Act 151, PA FBI, TB Tine, and liability*):

Fall Student Teachers: Clearances must not be dated prior to February of the year that student teaching will take place. Copies of all renewed clearances must be turned into The Educational Field Experience Office in Retan Center no later than June 30th.

Spring Student Teachers: Clearances must not be dated prior to June 15th of the summer preceding student teaching. Copies of all renewed clearances must be turned into The Educational Field Experience Office in Retan Center no later than September 30th.

*Student teachers are required to show proof of securing a million dollars worth of liability insurance in addition to providing copies of the other required clearances.

If activity of any kind appears on a clearance, then Mansfield University requires the following process be followed:

  1. Upon acceptance into any education program, the student must meet with the field experience director to discuss his/her clearance situation and Pennsylvania law and University policy.
  2. If the student is permitted/decides to continue as an education major, then the student must be willing to sign an agreement stating that he/she understands the possible challenges that might surface as a result of continuing to pursue certification.
  3. The student must be willing to allow Mansfield University to share his/her clearances with any school providing a field experience for the student. The student may only pursue field experiences through the direction of The Educational Field Experience Office.

Graduate students must meet the same clearance requirements as undergraduate students. The only exception to this policy is reserved for graduate students who are certified, practicing teachers or professionals who have already met the state clearance requirements necessary to work with children in their current position. For these students, an official verification letter from their superintendent/ principal or direct supervisor will be acceptable as long as it verifies that (1) the student is a current employee and (2) has met all the clearance requirements necessary to work with children in his/her current position. A sample verification letter is available at Initial Clearance Instructions page.

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