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Student Teaching FAQ’s

1. I don’t have a LiveText Account! How do I get one?

If you do not have a LiveText Account, please email Mr. Corey Drake at drakec1@tcnj.edu. He will provide you wilth your login credentials

2. How do I Transfer my Prints to a District?

Click here if you need to transfer your prints to a district. Here is the list of District and County codes that you will need to complete the transfer request. It generally takes 3-7 business days for your prints to be transferred. You will not receive a notification when they are completed. To download a copy of your criminal hisotry form, go to the Office of Student Protection Status. 

You will not be able to transfer your prints if you were not fingerprinted as a substitute teacher. 

This is a picture of the correct document to download and save as a pdf document. Please attach a copy in LiveText.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. How do I load my documents into LiveText?

Click the link for step by step instruction on how to post your documents to LiveText. Take your time and follow the directions exactly as written. Documents that are not properly named and shared cannot be viewed by the office. Documents, not receipts need to be posted (i.e criminal history form. TB results, Sub Certs, District Applications, Health/Physical Form, Child Abuse).

4. I do not have a placement yet. May I call districts to inquire about them hosting me?

No. Please do not contact districts on your own. Each district has very clear policies and procedures that the college must follow in placing students. Circumventing these procedures may endanger the college’s relationship with that district. Please send information to the office. We would be happy to reach out on your behalf.

5, Where do I go to download a copy of my fingerprints (criminal history) results?

Approximately two weeks (or 14 days) after you are fingerprinted, you can go to the Criminal History Review Status website to get your results. https://homeroom5.doe.state.nj.us/chrs18/?app-emp-history You will need to put in your social security number and your birth date and year. You can download and save the pdf document. Please attach a copy in LiveText.

6. How is COVID-19 impacting placements?

As a result of COVID-19 there have been a number of changes that are impacting placements.

  • Students who are no longer residing on campus or in Mercer County during student teaching will need to notify the STEP Office of the change of residency, ASAP.
  • The Global Student Teaching Program for the Spring 2021 has been cancelled.
  • Students are now required to obtain a substitute certification. Information on obtaining a Substitute Certificate and taking Praxis exams can be found on the Certification Office website.
  • Districts are now asking that TB tests be no older than 6-months prior to the start of the placement

7. How do I apply for student teaching? 

If you were not able to make the orientation session for your department, try to attend another session. Available dates will be listed at the bottom of our homepage. You can attend any session, but special instructions by major are given in a session. See your STEP Program Coordinators for those details. If you still aren’t able to attend a session or none is being offered, then review the PowerPoint and Handout for instructions that are posted on the bottom of our homepage. You can click here for the Orientation PowerPoint with voiceover

Please submit a hardcopy of your application to your STEP Program Coordinators (NOT the STEP Office), as they will review and send us the approved application. Please speak with your program coordinator before meeting with the STEP Office. Applications are always being accepted. However, applications that are received late can result in a late placement.

However, you want to be expeditious in submitting your online application and documentation (Resume, Transcript, TB results, Fingerprinting and Criminal Background Check, subcert (if you have one) in LiveText at the same time you submit to your department.

If you still have questions after reviewing the PowerPoint, handout and these FAQs, you can send an email to the STEP Office

8. I am having trouble completing my application because I haven’t taken the courses listed yet (or my program is not on the list).

The current STEP database is antiquated and no longer able to do all the things we need it to do. You will need to select a major closest to the one your in or course on the list to move the application forward. When you print it off, cross or black out the wrong information and provide appropriate information. When attempting to place you, we work from the information listed on your resume. Make sure your CPI placement informaiton is on the resume you submit. It is important that you also use your TCNJ email address and not your personal email for this process.

9. My residency during student teaching changed from what I originally put on my application. What do I do?

Student teaching applications are solicited a year in advance of the student’s placement. If you move please remember to email us the change as soon as you can. We depend on the kindness of the school district to host you. We do not want to remove you after you have been placed. This can jeopardize our relationship with the district and future placements by removing you after a placement has been made.

10. I have special circumstances that need to be considered.

If you have a special circumstance that need to be taken under consideration, please let us know on your application, or as soon as feasibly possible. Some students have health concerns, financial hardship, clubs/organizations responsibilities or transportation needs that must be considered before a placement. Students should make a note on the application that is submitted to their STEP Program Coordinators or email the STEP Office with any changes. We have a greater opportunity to make this accommodation work when notified in advance.

My GPA is under 3.00. Can I still student teach?

If your GPA is between 2.750 and 2.999, you can participate in student teaching. You will need to get permission from your academic department and sign a waiver that you cannot and will not be recommended for teacher certification until you raise your GPA to the state minimum of 3.00. Students with GPA under 2.750 will not be allowed to student teach. However, some districts will not accept students with a GPA below a 3.0 as student teachers. We will find you a placement, but it may take longer.

Which option do I choose when getting fingerprinted? How do I transfer or archive my prints?

Students who have been fingerprinted as anything except a Substitute Teacher will not be able to archive or transfer their fingerprints. Students should only be choosing the substitute teacher option for CE, CP1 or CP2 experiences. Students do not have to send fingerprinting results until they have been placed in a district as a student teacher. Once placed, students may be asked to archive or transfer their prints to that district. Choosing the Substitute Teacher option allows you to send your fingerprinting results to a school/district faster. Here is a list of District and County codes to help you.

If you were paid as a substitute teacher, you will need to transfer your fingerprints to the district (https://www.state.nj.us/education/crimhist/transfer.htm) for $6. Otherwise, you will need to archive your prints to the district for $29 before you can start your placement. In some cases before your application will be considered complete. For more information, you can go to the Department of Education website for directions on how to archive your prints, Click here for information on transferring your prints. To check for the update and to download a copy of your fingerprints, go to the Office of Student Protection Status. Updates are made every Friday Morning.

Contact NICUSA at 1-866-418-8798 for refunds

I need a Universal Fingerprint Form and don’t know where to find that form. Can you help me?

You have to complete a criminal background check form with the State of New Jersey to get the Universal Fingerprinting Form. It will be emailed to you after completing your criminal background application. You can go to the Clearances Required page of our website and follow the directions under Criminal Background and Fingerprinting. You can also see step by step instructions on the TCNJ Certification Office webpage under Clearances.

I thought we would be placed 35 miles from our home address, not 35 miles from TCNJ!

Actually, we must place you within 35 miles of TCNJ. All students must be accessible to the field supervisors who must travel to their site to evaluate them. If this is an issue and you need to live at home, you are encouraged to meet with your STEP Program Coordinators to see if they can provide a supervisor near your home. If they can, we will be able to place you closer to home. If they are not able to find a supervisor to visit, you will have to be placed in a district that may be further from your home. The Hardship Waiver Form is online under forms.

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Who do I talk to for questions concerning student teaching and certification?

There are many people here to help answer your question. However, to get your question answered quicker, use this guide:

1. If this is a question about your substitute certificate, fingerprinting or criminal background, visit their website or contact the Certification Office for clarity at certification@tcnj.edu

2. Questions about the student teaching process, requirements, or questions on student teaching timeline or placement for Clinical Practice 2 (full time student teaching) questions, view this website, the Handbook, or send an email to STEP@tcnj.edu or Dr. Cynthia Fulford at fulfordc@tcnj.edu.

3. Questions about the student teaching process, requirements, or questions on student teaching timeline or placement for Clinical Practice 1 (Part-time) and Clinical Experience (observation) questions, view this website, the Handbook, or send an email to STEP@tcnj.edu or Ms. Eileen Heddy at heddy@tcnj.edu

4. If your question concerns stipend payments to cooperating or mentor teachers, you can contact the main office at 609-771-2408, STEP@tcnj.edu or Ms. Carla Varlese at Varlese@tcnj.edu.

5. Questions on the academic component of your practicum experiences and practices should be directed to your STEP Program Coordinators

Please note: due to FERPA’s confidentiality regulations, college administrators are not allowed to speak with parents about student matters if the student is over 18 years of age.

Why haven’t I heard anything about my placement?

After student teacher placement requests are sent to school districts, we have to wait for a response. Some districts are able to place students quicker than others. At the end of every school year, teachers and principals may be moved to different grade levels or schools. In those cases, we have to wait until everyone knows where they will be placed the following year. This means that we may not be notified of who is willing to host students until that process is complete.

Additionally, most boards of education only meet once a month. Therefore, once a school accepts your placement, it may take several more weeks for board approval.

You can also go into the STEP database to view the school district where the office has sent your placement request. It will read pending until you are placed. It may change if a district is unable to accommodate you.

Will I be able to work in a variety of diverse settings?

Our goal is to provide students with a variety of placements so that they can experience various grade levels and schools and learn from a number of in-service teachers. We believe that teachers trained in working with students of diverse backgrounds including, race, gender, ability, socioeconomic status, are better equipped to teach in our increasingly diverse society. Students in TCNJ Teacher Education programs will complete one of their clinical placements (CP1 or CP2) in an urban district and one in a suburban/rural district.

How often do I need to get a TB test done?

It depends on the district. Some districts require you to submit negative TB results no older than one year, while others may require them to be no older than 3 or 6 months. Once the student is placed in a district, a request for additional clearances will be made, if needed. The Health Center at TCNJ holds a TB clinic every semester. The cost to students is $10.

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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.