Elementary Education Major
Department of Education
The Department of Education is composed of the Stillman Teacher Education Program (STEP). The major function of the Department is the preparation of individuals committed to excellence and to becoming competent teachers. The mandate is to provide students with the knowledge, skills, dispositions, curriculum, technology, methods of teaching, assessing and evaluating, field experiences, and personal guidance to foster student interest and ability in educational settings. The primary focus of the department is to prepare teacher candidates to teach in elementary and/or secondary schools. This focus is aligned with the College’s mission to render quality leadership and service to society.
Student Learning Outcomes:
Upon the completion of a major in Elementary Education, students will be able to:
- Question and analyze concepts theories, structures, and models in the field while acquiring the requisite knowledge, skills, and dispositions to help all students learn. (Critical Thinking).
- Translate instructional plans into active and meaningful learning for all students (Content).
- Engage in reflection to refine and improve his or her on practice (Communication).
As a result of successful completion of the Elementary Education program, graduates will:
- At the end of this program, the students will be able to demonstrate higher order thinking in the classroom and in student settings for which certification is sought.
- At the end of this program, the students will be able to communicate orally and in writing, as well as appropriately and effectively in the classroom and in student settings in which certification in sought.
- At the end of this program, the students will be able to describe/discuss best teaching practices for the age, grade, and developmental level of students in the classroom and in students’ settings for which certification is sought.
The Stillman Teacher Education Program (STEP), administered through the School of Education, offers preparation for candidates who wish to become teachers at the elementary, special education, human performance, secondary, and other P-12 areas. The unit offers teacher preparation at the initial program level, Class B. Degrees awarded are the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science. Ten teacher education certification programs are offered in the School of Education:
Areas of Grades K-6
Elementary Education (Grades K-6)
Collaborative Teacher (Grades K-6)
Areas of Secondary Grades 6-12
Biology/General Science (Grades 6-12)
English/Language Arts (Grades 6-12)
History/Social Science (Grades 6-12)
Mathematics (Grades 6-12)
Areas of Grades P-12
Physical Education (Grades P-12)
Instrumental Music (Grades P-12)
Visual Arts Education (Grades P-12)
Vocal/Choral Music (Grades P-12)
STEP emphasizes practical hands-on experience in P-12 classrooms as well as educational theory and methods classes on campus. Field experiences are a required component of the designated classes and culminate with a full semester of internship in the candidate's content specific discipline. Students and candidates must be fingerprinted prior to beginning any field placement. Students should collaborate with the Director of field Experiences to ensure that the background check process is completed and the student is suitable for placement. Failure to complete all field requirements as scheduled will result in a failing grade for the course(s), including internship. Students who are not successful in completing any component of the program – classes, field experiences, or behavioral expectations – may be dismissed from the program.
STEP is widely recognized for the success of its teacher education program, which is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)/Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Along with NCATE/CAEP, the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) reviews and approves each program area. Stillman College complies with requirements and rules issued by the Alabama State Department of Education for teacher certification. Published admission and curriculum requirements are modified when necessary to reflect changes in state requirements and to maintain its superior rating for its teacher education programs. The College guarantees that anyone who successfully completes the rigorous STEP will meet the requirements for certification and employment, and when appropriate, graduate school. In addition, Stillman College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to award the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science degrees.
STEP begins with selective recruitment, gives careful attention to each phase of the preparation program, and assists in the proper placement and adjustment of teachers and other educational personnel. Follow-up studies of graduates are made in an effort to assist them, to gain knowledge of their effectiveness on the job, and to secure data vital to future planning and development. All programs for the preparation of teachers are built on a liberal arts foundation. Those preparing for teaching positions in the secondary schools pursue a composite teaching specialization in the School of Education and a content area in the College of Arts and Sciences. Those preparing to teach in elementary school concentrate on subject matter relevant to the elementary school curriculum while completing general requirements in the liberal arts. Those preparing to teach special education and for a teaching specialization which extends from nursery through twelfth grade pursue a broad program appropriate to elementary and secondary schools. All groups complete their undergraduate programs with suitable professional preparation.
HYBRID Program Delivery
The Stillman Teacher Education Program, including Elementary Education, Collaborative Education, and the Childhood Education and Instructional Development programs are also offered in a Hybrid format with many of the General Education Core, the subject matter content, and some of the Professional courses available in fully online instructional modes. Students interested in the Hybrid delivery option will still need to complete the Methods and Field courses in traditional classroom modes. Students interested in the Hybrid option should contact the Dean of the School of Education to discuss how to enroll.
Stillman Teacher Education Program (STEP) Requirements
Students must be formally admitted to STEP. Applications are available through the Office of the Director of Teacher Education. Criteria for admission include:
- Successful completion of at least 60 credit hours, including at least 48 hours in General Education.
- Minimum institutional GPA of 2.75 as well as 2.75 in all applicable teaching-field courses, and 2.75 in all professional education courses.
- Minimum grade of C in all general-studies courses.
- Passing score on admissions interview. Oral Communication, skills and knowledge, and abilities based on previous coursework will be among the attributes assessed in the interview. Students have a maximum of three attempts to pass the interview. Guidelines for interviews are in the Teacher Education Program Handbook, STEP Governance Policies, STEP Pre-Entry Brief, and can be obtained from the Office of Teacher Education.
- Passing score on the basic skills (applied math, reading, and writing) all portions of the Praxis Core
- Documentation of clear fingerprint and criminal background check conducted through the Alabama State Department of Education
- The Teacher Education Program Handbook, published annually by the Office of Teacher Education, describes more specifically the process.
Minimum Professional Studies Requirements
Because professional studies requirements vary from program to program, the student is referred to the appropriate departmental section in this catalog. However, a candidate may not enroll in more than five professional studies courses before the candidate has met all criteria for unconditional admission to a teacher education program. The candidate may repeat any of the five courses in which he or she received a grade of “C” or below. A student who changes from non-teacher certification to a teacher certification program must comply with this standard. A student who violates this standard is in jeopardy of losing academic credit.
Application for Admission to STEP
During or after students have completed general studies courses and pre-approved professional studies courses, each prospective candidate must complete an application for admission to the Teacher Education Program (STEP). Teacher candidates must exhibit and maintain at least a 2.75 GPA in general studies, professional studies, and the teaching field. Prior to completing and submitting the application, each prospective teacher education candidate is required to pass all sections of the Praxis Core.
All prospective teacher candidates interested in STEP must register and pass Praxis Core in EDU 232, Foundations of Education. The test is a requirement for certification in Alabama, directed by the Alabama State Department of Education. The assessment includes Mathematics, Reading for Information, and Writing. It is designed to determine a prospective candidate’s basic knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for effective teaching. All three components must be passed prior to entry into the STEP program.
Once prospective candidates have completed the required coursework and other program requirements they are eligible to make application to STEP. When submitting the application, prospective candidates will note that the STEP program will evaluate several items as their academic progress indicators, grade point average; recommendation forms from previous instructors in general studies; and an autobiographical statement. These items are evaluated to determine the pre-candidate’s knowledge, skills, and disposition at a pre-entry level. An interview with the Teacher Education Screening and Admission Committee is also a part of the process.
Upon admittance to STEP, students transition from a prospective candidate, to-candidate status. Once considered a STEP candidate, additional assessments are required to ensure that proper progress is made during the remaining portions of the program. These assessment measures occur during field experiences and remaining courses. Other steps include:
- Completion of The Dispositions Survey and satisfactory completion of a departmental interview designed to provide information on the applicant's personality, dispositions, interests, and aptitudes consistent with the requirements for the successful teaching.
- Proof of: Clear (ALSDE) background check and professional liability insurance.
- Sufficient physical ability and emotional stability to perform successfully as a teacher. (Note: These factors might be covered in the departmental interview.)
- Recommendation of advisor and department chair.
- A minimum overall grade-point average of 2.75 on all work attempted at Stillman College and a minimum program grade-point average of 2.75. (including transfer work).
- A minimum grade point average of 2.75 in professional studies (including transfer work), no grade below "C" is acceptable.
- A minimum grade-point average of 2.75 in area(s) of teaching specialization(s) (including transfer work).
- Pass field experiences and internship with a B or better. A grade of C will involve remediation.
- Pass the edTPA Assessment during internship, which is required for graduation.
Prior to internship placement, each candidate must complete the Application for Internship. The application process evaluates the candidates’ progress since their admittance to STEP and prior to placement for internship. Teacher candidates ust exhibit and maintain at least a 2.75 GPA in general studies, professional studies, and the teaching field. Prior to completing and submitting the Application for Internship, candidates must pass all the required Praxis II Examinations. Praxis II is a product of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) that focuses on testing content knowledge in subject areas, such as elementary, social science, mathematics, English, and science. Passing scores are established by the Alabama State Department of Education for each certification area. All scores and application must be officially submitted to the Director of Field Experiences for consideration. The unit and its school partners design, implement, and evaluate field experiences and clinical practice so that teacher candidates and other school personnel develop and demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to help all students learn. Students will complete a portfolio during the internship.
Consistent with the policies of the Alabama State Department of Education, School of Education at the Stillman College warranties its graduates (State Approved Program Competencies) under the following conditions: Warranties will be provided to Stillman graduates who receive their initial professional certification through the College and are employed by a public-school district in Alabama in their area of specialization. The School of Education shall provide assistance at no cost to such individuals who were recommended for certification by the unit and are deemed to be unsatisfactory based on performance evaluations established/approved by the Alabama State Board of Education and recommended by the Local Education Agency within two years after program completion.
To remain in the teacher education program, each student shall make satisfactory progress as determined by continuous evaluation. A student shall be removed from candidacy when any of the minimum required program GPA's drop below 2.75, or the transcript GPA drops below 2.75. Violations of the Alabama Educators Code of Ethics are grounds for dismissal from the program or delay in advancing through the program. Failure to receive or maintain a clear background check is grounds for dismissal from the program.
Advising is essential for successful completion of STEP. Variation from the planned program of study created with an advisor could result in failure to be recommended for certification. Regular consultation with an adviser is needed so that students can be apprised of program revisions that result from mandated changes in state certification requirements. Study in STEP is limited to four years. Requests for extensions of this time limit must be approved by the dean of the school and could necessitate completion of additional coursework or other requirements. A minimum overall grade point average (GPA) of 2.75 as well as 2.75 in all applicable teaching field courses, and 2.75 in all professional education courses must be maintained while studying in STEP. The school, in cooperation with area school systems, has developed a comprehensive program of field experiences in a variety of school settings. These experiences require extensive involvement in schools outside of class. Transportation is the responsibility of the students.
Available Program Checklists
Students should maintain their personal advising folder that contains a program of study checklist, transcript, and advisor’s comments. An academic audit is required each semester as teacher candidates make appointments with their advisors. The program checklist can be obtained from the advisor. Ultimately, students are responsible for their own academic success.
Acceptance is contingent upon the recommendation of the Teacher Education Admissions and Screening Committee, which meets twice yearly. Applicants will be notified in writing of their acceptance or rejection. Transfer students follow the same admission policies. Education courses may not be transferred into STEP without permission from the dean. Courses and requirements are subject to change based on Alabama State Department of Education guidelines.
Included below is a sample semester-by-semester plan for a major in Elementary Education.
Students can take no more than the five professional studies courses listed below prior to being admitted to the Stillman Teacher Education Program (STEP).
- EDU 334 and 325 are General Methods Courses for K-6 and P-12.
Secondary Education Courses
General Studies Courses (as indicated on the program checklist)
Professional Studies Courses (as indicated on the program checklist)
Content Specific-Teaching Field Courses (as listed in the content teaching field courses in arts and sciences)