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St. John’s Recognized for Clinically Based Teacher Education

Friday, May 5, 2017

A new St. John’s University teacher-preparation initiative that bridges the gap between course and field work is one of the top-four clinically based undergraduate programs in the nation, according to the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

RISE (Residency Internship for St. John’s Educators) won praise in the May 2 issue of AACTE’s blog, Ed Prep Matters, a source of news and insights on teacher preparation in the United States. In the blog, Rodrick S. Lucero, Ph.D., AACTE’s Vice President for Member Engagement and Support, identified the program as one of the country’s “exemplary models of clinical practice.”

The blog is part of AACTE’s 2017 “Research-to-Practice Spotlight” series. Only four education colleges—and their Pre-K through 12 partners—are highlighted for effective clinical practice programs.

“We are very pleased to be recognized by AACTE as one of the top clinically enriched teacher education programs in the nation,” said Michael Sampson, Ph.D., Dean of The School of Education at St. John's. “Along with our recent U.S. News & World Report top-100 ranking of our graduate programs, our School of Education has now been nationally recognized for both our undergraduate and graduate programs.”

Referring to the University’s four strategic priorities, Dr. Sampson added, “I’m particularly proud of this RISE recognition as it demonstrates our commitment to community partnerships with our New York City and Long Island schools.”

“This is the best combination of theory and practice that we can offer to prepare the pre-service teachers studying in The School of Education,” said Liz Chase, Ed.D., Director of RISE and Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at St. John’s. “We think very strategically about how to transfer everything students learn in University-based education directly into the field. This program is the key bridge to make that happen.”

Launched by The School of Education in September 2015, RISE is an extended clinical-practice program for undergraduates at the University's Queens and Staten Island campuses. Students spend their entire senior year teaching at partnering schools in those boroughs and on Long Island. The initiative differs from most field-based undergraduate education programs, which are typically offered in a single semester.

Teachers at participating schools serve as mentors to RISE students. In addition, the program provides an integrated clinical experience by “embedding” St. John’s education faculty at the varied sites, where they hold classes for the student teachers.

RISE began in 2015 with a single partner site. In 2016, five schools joined the initiative. This fall, 10 local schools are scheduled to participate: in Queens, P.S. 60, P.S. 99, the Queens Gateway to Health Sciences Secondary School, and the United Nations International School; on Staten Island, P.S. 30, P.S. 1, I.S. 34, and the St. Joseph/St. Thomas Elementary School. The two Long Island schools are North Side Elementary and the Wheatley School, in East Williston. 

In addition to St. John’s students and faculty, teachers at partner schools also value participating in RISE. “I jumped at the opportunity,” said Tracey Kasschau, a teacher at North Side Elementary School. “This is the first experience with student teachers where I felt that I had a direct impact on helping to develop them as teachers.”