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Student Teaching Modifications Pursuant to Act 13 of 2020

Is Pennsylvania waiving any portion of the 12-week minimum student teaching requirement mandated in 22 Pa. Code §354.25 (f) for educator preparation programs for the spring term 2020?

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting interruption of primary, secondary, and postsecondary schools across Pennsylvania have created significant obstacles for emerging educators slated to complete student teaching experiences during the 2019-20 spring semester. 

Specifically, K-12 school closures may have cut short the 12-week student teaching requirement for educator preparation programs mandated in 22 Pa. Code §354.25 (f). These closures are estimated to impact at least 4,000 educator candidates—exacerbating an existing shortage in the education profession and presenting a particular risk for adequate staffing levels for the start of the 2020-21 school year. Notwithstanding these emergency conditions, the Department has an obligation to maintain quality in preparation program standards.

Act 13 of 2020 grants the Secretary of Education waiver authority for the 12-week student teaching requirement in 22 Pa. Code §354.25 (f) for the 2019-20 school year. The Secretary has exercised the waiver authority for those educator preparation programs that:

  • Implement a research- and competency-based evaluation system for candidates impacted by COVID-19-related school closures; and
  • Commit to providing targeted technical assistance during the 2020-21 school year to Pennsylvania local education agencies that hire educators impacted by these program modifications.

How should approved teacher preparation programs modify their student teaching experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic to align them with the Department's recommendations?

Teacher preparation programs seeking to implement the state approved modifications for student teachers graduating by the end of the 2019-20 academic year (August 31, 2020) should do the following:

  1. Utilize the PDE-430 form (Pennsylvania Statewide Evaluation Form for Student Professional Knowledge and Practice) to document student teachers' progress to-date. Evaluation should be based on the first half of student teaching, which has been accomplished at all IHEs. The modified Danielson assessment or an approved alternative will be used to help determine specific areas for growth and support.
  2. Implement a wide array of engagement activities to approximate activities that would normally be associated with the second half of student teaching experiences. Activities will be designed by individual educator preparation programs to afford student teachers the opportunity to master competencies in each of the major domains represented by the PDE-430 form. Activities may include, but are not limited, to the following:
  • Online collaboration with mentors
  • Planning and preparing portfolio projects
  • Continued online instruction of students
  • Completion of projects related to classroom teaching and learning
  • Observation and simulation experiences
  • Other assignments designed, implemented, and evaluated by IHE faculty
  1. Complete summative evaluations for each candidate using the final PDE-430 form based on (a) progress from the mid-term PDE-430; and (b) satisfactory completion of additional activities assigned by the educator program provider. Preparation programs must keep a copy of this completed evaluation in the student's education record as proof of satisfying the approved alternative to the traditional in-class student teaching assignment.

    Teacher preparation programs that complete the process described above may: a) indicate that a candidate who demonstrates a satisfactory level of performance or higher has completed the student teaching requirement in the TIMS certification application and; b) recommend the student for certification. Certification applicants must satisfy all other requirements for certification.