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Student Teaching Process

Student Teaching Application and Placement Process

The Clinical Practice II (CPII) application process begins during the Clinical Practice I (CPI) course. The entire CPII process is electronic and does not require the collection of hard copies. Students should carefully follow the instructions below to apply for their placement.

Students planning to participate in CPII must either attend a student teaching orientation held by their department or view the TCNJ Student Teaching Orientation Video (30 min). The video provides methodical instructions on how to complete the STEP online application and how to upload your placement and clearance documents on LiveText. Students unable to attend the orientation sessions, or looking to refresh their memory on what was shared in the session can review the video or refer to our FAQ and Clearance pages for answers

  1. There are two student teaching applications that students must complete:
    1. The STEP Online Application: this system is antiquated, but necessary until we are able to phase it out (refer to FAQ#8 for issues submitting application) This is the database from which the placement letter is generated. Students will be able to apply for a placement for multiple semesters, and Global Student Teaching in the STEP system. Note: Students will be able to make changes in their profile, however, they will not be able to make any changes to the semester or residency location during student teaching once the application is submitted. There is no need to apply multiple times, if you make a mistake, email step@tcnj.edu with the details and we will make the corrections for you. (for details refer to FAQ #7).
    2. The Qualtrics Application: FAQ#7 this application was created to collect more information that is accurate from students. It was also created as a more efficient way for Program Coordinators to approve student teaching applications. There will be separate links for each semester of student teaching.  Please be sure to carefully complete the application for the correct semester. The link to this application will be updated every year. Please do not complete more than one application. If you make a mistake, email step@tcnj.edu with the details and we will make the corrections for you.

Students needing to complete multiple full semester placements (in more than one area), must complete an application for each placement separately. For example, students in the ECE-SPED, ECE-DFHH, and DFHH programs will complete a STEP and a Qualtrics application for each semester they will need a placement. Typically, ECE-SPED/DFHH students will complete their ECE application for the spring semester, and their SPED/DFHH application for the fall. DFHH students will follow these same application procedures when applying for their ELEM and DFHH placements. (for details refer to FAQ #7)

  1. LiveText Data Management System: The faculty and staff of the School of Education use the LiveText system to manage student teacher evaluations, as well as clearance documents needed for securing placements. All education majors are assigned a LiveText account within their first or second year in the program. If you do not receive your account by your Clinical Placement I (CPI/ACB), reach out to Mr. Corey Drake, Program Coordinator & LiveText Coordinator for the School of Education: drakec1@tcnj.edu

CPII students are required to put their clearance documents in the system. The placement officer will download documents from this system when preparing a placement request. For LiveText Instructions  or a list of clearance documents to post for CPII, refer to FAQ #3.

Students are encouraged to complete the process in this order: 1) STEP Online application, 2) Post Documents in Livetext, 3) Qualtrics application-FAQ#7. Once the Qualtrics application is completed, an email will be sent to your STEP Program Coordinators. The email will provide the coordinator with copies of your resume and transcript, and proof of taking the Praxis Core and Content Tests. The coordinator will review this information and approve your application, deny it, or request additional information from you. Take your time completing this application. Your application will go to the wrong coordinator if you click on the incorrect course number.

If the two applications are completed accurately and your documents are visible to the placement officer, an approved placement request will be generated and sent out on your behalf. Failure to meet application priority deadlines will impact when and where your request is sent.

The list of required clearance documents needed in LiveText includes: educational resume, unofficial transcript (from PAWS), negative Mantoux (TB), criminal history form (fingerprints), and a copy of your substitute certificate. This is a list of minimal requirements for placements. Some districts require additional paperwork for students to complete. The additional documents can include a Child Abuse Check, Confidentiality Agreements, Physical/Health Forms, Technology/Multimedia (IT) agreements, and/or district internship forms.

While the placement officer typically sends out placement requests, some districts also require students to complete an online application. In cases like this, the placement officer will provide the student with a copy of the placement request generated by the College.  These students may request an appointment with the placement officer to receive assistance with completing their application. In some cases, the student may need to reach out to their academic department or Program Coordinator for more information.

Once your application is approved by the Program Coordinator, the Placement Officer will:

  1. Verify all the information on the application. We check for correct semester of application, residency during student teaching address, county, GST applicant, special circumstances for placement, and the visibility of clearance documents on LiveText.
  2. The placement officer will generate a request letter using the information in the STEP Online Database. Students MUST have a minimum of a resume, transcript, and their most current criminal history and TB test on file in order for a placement request to be sent on their behalf.
  3. Students can use the STEP Database to track the districts where requests were sent for them. We regularly follow up with our district contacts. Students not placed in one district will be sent to additional districts until a placement is found. Notifications in the system will reflect:
    1. Approved (meaning we found a placement). It does not mean the student has been cleared by the district to start.Please keep this in mind.
    2. Rejected (meaning, we were not able to secure you a placement in that district). Reasons may include: the district is not accepting student teachers for that semester, there was not a teacher willing or approved to work with a student teacher. Some districts limit the number of times a teacher can host a student.
  4. Once the placement officer receives notification from a district, students will be immediately notified of an approved placement, request for more clearance documentation, and/or a placement pending a successful interview. In some cases, the student will be asked to reach out to make their own interview appointment, while in other cases, the district rep will reach out to schedule this interview. It is imperative that you:
  5. Thoroughly read your emails from STEP. You are responsible for providing missing or additional paperwork to the STEP Office. Put additional and updated documents on Livetext. You do not need to create a new folder. Either delete the old file, or add the words updated to the title. We will send out the information on your behalf.
  6. Carefully review your voicemail greeting for appropriateness. Change any inappropriate or unprofessional voicemail messages on your phone from application through the completion of the student teaching semester. Students should also make room in their voicemail to receive messages, OR make sure to answer the phone, even if it is an unusual number.

Note: Most districts require students to wait for the official board of education approval before reaching out to their mentor teacher. If this is not the rule for a district, students will be given this information.

Additional notes for fully approved student teachers:

  1. Teachers are not required to answer emails on their breaks (i.e., summer vacation). If you introduce yourself to your principal and mentor teacher, and don’t get a response within 48-72 hours, or one week. Try again/follow up with a call or another email.
  2. Contact information not provide by the office can be researched and found online. You are welcome to reach out for more information, if nothing can be found on the website, or through a phone call to the school’s main office.
  3. All student teachers are encouraged to participate in any districtwide or school wide training once their student teaching semester begins.
  4. The first day of school at TCNJ is not the same as any given district. You will start when the district starts, follow their instructional method (in person, hybrid, remote), and follow their holiday and other break schedule.
  5. Any questions or concerns about the placement pertaining to the academic component should be directed to your field supervisor or program coordinator.
  6. Any questions or concerns about logistics, i.e., email access, change of school or mentor teacher, extended leave for illness (student or teacher), or mid-semester and final teaching assessments can be directed to the placement officer through step@tcnj.edu.

If you have any questions or difficulties in processing your application refer to instructions on Student Teaching FAQ‘s.  Feel free to contact the STEP office at 609-771-2408 or step@tcnj.edu if you do not find the answer to your question online.

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The College is open with very limited on-campus staffing. For assistance and all questions, please contact us via email step@tcnj.edu.