Department Chair: Dr. Stephanie Ivory
The Education Department provides the learning environment in which prospective early childhood, middle childhood, special education, and secondary teacher candidates develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values that will enable them to become reflective decision-makers. Through active participation, the department’s educational program emphasizes connections between theory and research-based practice. Successful completion of the Saint Francis University program is accomplished when teacher candidates complete all college, program, and certification requirements, and demonstrate their ability and competence to carry out the roles for which they have been prepared according to standards, including the following:
- teachers are committed to all students and their learning;
- teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to diverse learners;
- teachers are facilitators of learning who are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning;
- teachers are reflective decision-makers who think analytically about their practice, learn from their experiences, and adjust their instruction appropriately;
- teachers are members of learning communities.
Education Department Mission Statement
The mission of the Education Department of Saint Francis University is to provide a curriculum for pre-service and in-service educators that will develop and reinforce reflective practices. We will strive to instill in teachers the belief that teaching and learning comprise a holistic process that connects ideas and disciplines to each other and to the personal experiences, environments, and communities of students.
The Education Department has programs for undergraduates to be certified in Early Childhood Education, B.S. , Early Childhood/Special Education, B.S. , Middle Childhood Education, B.S. with a core specialty, Middle Childhood/Special Education, B.S. , Secondary Education, and Secondary Education/Special Education, B.S.
An Education minor is offered by the department. The Education minor is designed to provide a minor for students who wish to study the theoretical and practical aspects of education. Students pursuing the minor will complete 15 credits in education.
Education minor options are:
All Saint Francis University teacher preparation programs are in compliance with the requirements of the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Secondary Education or Secondary Education/Special Education Concentration Program
The Secondary Education or Secondary Education/Special Education Concentration Programs at Saint Francis University is a collaborative effort between the Education Department and other academic departments to provide a major in a specific discipline along with a teacher preparation program that imparts the knowledge, understandings, and skills needed to enable secondary students in Pennsylvania to achieve academic success. Secondary Education concentration students wishing to complete the dual certification program with Special Education will complete the additional required Special Education coursework.
Secondary Education or Secondary Education/Special Education Concentration Program are options for students majoring in the following areas:
- Biology, B.S., Secondary Education or Biology, B.S., Secondary Education/Special Education Concentration
- Chemistry, Secondary Education Chemistry Concentration, B.S. or Chemistry, Secondary Education/Special Education Chemistry Concentration, B.S.
- English, Secondary Education Concentration, B.A. or English, Secondary Education/Special Education Concentration, B.A.
- History, Secondary Education, Social Studies Concentration, B.A. or History, Secondary Education/Special Education, Social Studies Concentration, B.A.
- Mathematics, Secondary Education or Mathematics, Secondary Education/Special Education Concentration, B.S.
- Spanish, Secondary Education Concentration, B.A. or Spanish, Secondary Education/Special Education Concentration, B.A.
Courses and field experiences in educational settings are included in each program of study that meet the Pennsylvania Department of Education requirements for certification in secondary education (Grades 7-12) in Biology, Chemistry, English, Mathematics, Social Studies, or Spanish and (grades 7-12) Special Education.
Education courses required for secondary teaching certification (grades 7-12) include:
* Required for foreign language education students only.
An applicant for a teaching certificate must complete, in addition to all legal requirements, a program of teacher preparation approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Certification programs offered by Saint Francis University are in compliance with the requirements of the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Teacher Certification Licensing Exams
The Pennsylvania Department of Education requires that individuals seeking an Instructional I certificate pass a series of licensing exams, known as the PAPA (Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment), PECT, and Praxis Series. The Education Department publishes a recommended timeline for taking PAPA, PECT, and Praxis Exams. Students must have taken all PAPA and Praxis exams in order to receive a student teaching placement. Students are responsible for all examination costs. Students who completed SFU’s teacher education program have a high pass rate on all examinations. Students can take the PAPA and PECT on campus at the Center for Academic Success.
Field experiences are off-campus activities that provide teacher education candidates with opportunities to apply theories and concepts studied in coursework. These experiences are directed by University faculty, facilitated by teacher mentors, and are an integral part of all education courses leading up to student teaching. Activities include, but are not limited to, observing, tutoring, mini-lesson teaching, lesson planning, and developing instructional materials. Field experiences may take place in public or non-public schools, or in community agencies or educational settings approved by University faculty. Students must find transportation to field experience sites.
Clearances must be obtained by the student at his/her own expense prior to field experience observations. These requirements include:
- ACT 24: Arrest/Conviction Report and Certification Form
- ACT 34: Pennsylvania State Criminal History
- ACT 126: Mandated Reporter Training
- ACT 151: Pennsylvania Child Abuse History
- FBI Federal Criminal History Fingerprint Clearance
- Saint Francis University Sexual Misconduct/Shine A Light Course
- The Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown Youth Protection Course
- Tuberculin - TB Test with Negative Results
Clearances must be updated every 3 years and copies secured in the Education office.
The student teaching semester is a significant period in the teacher preparation program. It is the culmination of undergraduate professional education and the beginning of a potential career of teaching. It is a requirement for certification and an opportunity for the student to demonstrate his/her ability and commitment to the teaching profession.
Student teaching applications are carefully screened by the student teaching supervisor to ensure that all candidates are properly qualified. To be eligible for student teaching, candidates must have a QPA of no less than a 3.0, have attained a passing score on the PAPA, have taken the Praxis II or PECT, have completed all education courses with no grade less than a C, and received a C or above in any collateral courses taken. Clearances for Act 34 Criminal Record, Act 151 Child Abuse, Federal Criminal History, and a negative tuberculin test must be submitted to the Education Department. Failure to meet departmental requirements and/ or district expectations can result in exclusion from or withdrawal from placements.
Student teaching is a full-time responsibility, and candidates are encouraged to set aside other pursuits, including jobs and activities, during the student teaching semester. The Education Department will not permit candidates to be enrolled in other coursework while student teaching, with the exception of CORE 407 . Transportation for student teaching is the responsibility of each student.
Saint Francis University teacher candidates will be required to develop a portfolio, a purposeful collection of materials that documents a pre-service teacher’s knowledge and skills. The key concepts in portfolio development revolve around collection, organization, reflection, and culminate with the development of a presentation portfolio.
Students may declare their intent to major in Early Childhood or Middle Childhood Education or to seek a degree in a content area with secondary education concentration when they apply to Saint Francis University. Standards have been established for admission to and retention in the Professional Teacher Education Program.
Program Admission Status
Students may apply for admission to the Professional Teacher Certification program after having completed at least 48 credits. For most students this application process will occur during the sophomore year. In addition, each candidate must have:
- achieved at least a 3.0 QPA
- achieved no grade lower than C in major and collateral courses
- demonstrated mastery of basic skills in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics (as required by PDE)
- obtained a passing score on the PAPA
- completed at least three semester hours in college level English composition and three semester hours in English/ American literature
- completed Educational Psychology and Pedagogy (Early Childhood and Middle Level Education majors only)
In addition, the candidate must attach to this application:
- a letter of recommendation from a faculty member (Students must have a letter endorsed by a faculty member in their academic area.)
- a brief essay (“Why I Want to Pursue Teaching as a Career”)
The criteria stated above must be met and the student accepted into the professional teacher preparation program prior to registration in Education 300- and 400-level courses.
In order to be retained in the Professional Teacher Education Program, Early Childhood and Middle Childhood Education majors and students in secondary education content area concentrations (those having at least 96 credits) must maintain a QPA no less than a 3.0 with no grade lower than a C in professional courses or clinical experiences.