McNeese granted residency extension
School gets extra time to implement state initiative
<p class="p1">The upcoming start of the 2018-2019 school year marks the deadline set by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education requiring colleges and universities to implement a year-long residency component for its teacher preparation program candidates.
<p class="p3">The deadline is part of the state’s Believe and Prepare program which features a six-year goal, started in 2014, to give aspiring teachers the opportunity to gain a full year of practice under an expert mentor teacher before they graduate and are hired professionally. The goal also requires colleges to design and implement a competency-based curriculum preparing students for the evaluation realities of the workplace.
<p class="p3">By 2020, the state plans to have 2,500 mentor teachers trained to guide residents along the path towards graduation and professional success.
<p class="p3">McNeese State University is one of seven higher learning institutions in the state that have filed for a time extension to fully implement the residency component and curriculum changes. Only two of its 61 programs, bachelor’s of science in elementary education and post-baccalaureate certificate in elementary education, will feature the residency component in the upcoming term.
<p class="p3">According to public records from the LDOE, McNeese cited “significant changes in leadership, accreditation process, extensive internal approval process and coordination across multiple colleges/departments” as rational for the extension request.
<p class="p3">Angela Ogea, interim dean of the Burton College of Education, confirmed the rationale saying, “We didn’t want to look at it as just a redesign. We looked at it as an overhaul.”
<p class="p3">With overhaul in mind, the College of Education, recognized that with 61 different education programs there were many other “moving parts” to be consulted in the process.
<p class="p3">“It’s not just the College of Education. When you get to secondary and K-12 art, music and PE, we have to partner with those colleges across campus to gather feedback because it’s their program.”
<p class="p3">Ogea said the College has been approved for the extension and 2019 College of Education freshmen will be participating in the re-developed program featuring the year-long residency in a Calcasieu Parish classroom.
<p class="p3">Since 2015, McNeese has partnered with the Calcasieu Parish School Board to provide training and professional development to mentor teachers in a pilot program format. Terry Collins, CPSB coordinator of the office of teacher and leader support said, “It’s a wonderful partnership with McNeese.”
<p class="p3">The students who have participated in the pilot programs “overwhelmingly like the residency,” Ogea said. “They like being able to see from beginning to end of the year — student achievement, basic logistics of running a classroom and data review.”
<p class="p3">Louisiana is one of only two states, South Dakota, in the United States to implement a year-long residency, said Sydi Dunn, spokeswoman for the Louisiana Department of Education. The state and federal government have provided millions of dollars in transitional and long-term funding for the program through budget allocations and grant appropriations within the Every Student Succeeds Act.