New partnerships expand North Central College tradition of teacher-preparation excellence

Jun 18, 2013

North Central College is building upon its tradition of excellence in preparing future teachers and principals by forging new partnerships with two additional school districts.

Since its founding in 1861, North Central College has been a leader in preparing generations of future educators who are able to impact student learning. With continuing national attention on the quality of educator-preparation programs, North Central College remains at the forefront of excellence in teacher training by expanding its emphasis on teacher assessment and accountability.

New district-level partnerships with Schaumburg School District 54 and Bloomingdale-based Community Consolidated School District 93 ensure the quality of experienced teachers and principals who serve as mentors to candidates in North Central’s education program, says Maureen Kincaid, chair of the College’s Education Department.

“In these partnerships the College and districts work together to attain excellence in education through the development of future and practicing teachers, teacher leaders and school administrators to positively impact student achievement,” Kincaid says.

“District 93 is excited to have the opportunity to partner with North Central College,” says William R. Shields, superintendent of the district that serves nearly 4,000 children from Carol Stream, Bloomingdale, Hanover Park and other communities. “North Central College’s tradition of excellence and commitment to continuous improvement make this partnership a perfect fit for students and staff of District 93.”

The new partnerships increase to five the number of district-level memoranda of understanding approved by school districts and North Central College. Existing partnerships were previously approved between the College and Naperville Community Unit School District 203, Indian Prairie School District 204 and East Aurora School District 131.

The partnerships are important to ensure the quality of mentors who will help evaluate the progress of future teachers as they complete North Central College’s rigorous 20-week student teaching field experiences. The variety of partnerships expose North Central students to a wide range of K-12 classroom experiences, from schools populated with high-need students to those with reputations for high-performing students.

"District 54 values the partnership with North Central College and looks forward to continuing to collaborate in support of future teachers," Superintendent Andy DuRoss said.

North Central College’s coursework and continuous placements for field experiences are designed to prepare candidates to attain state licensure or certification as educators.

“Our student teaching field experiences are comparable to a residency for a medical student,” Kincaid says. “A student may spend up to 30 weeks in the same school setting. Fieldwork begins during a student’s freshman year and continues throughout all four years.”

North Central College’s rigorous admission standards and introductory education courses help maintain a high caliber of scholars in its education program. A candidate’s progress is continuously measured through competency assessments.

“Student learning is central to our teacher-preparation program,” Kincaid says. “Our coursework is closely aligned with the Common Core standards in mathematics and English language arts.”

North Central College’s education curriculum also is aligned with the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards and the Danielson Framework for Teaching. During every step of their education at North Central, candidates are assessed using the Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) guidelines developed by Stanford University.

Alumni of North Central College’s teacher- and principal-preparation programs have recently earned accolades for excellence, including the Illinois State Board of Education 2012 Teacher of the Year, the Illinois Education Association 2012 Teacher of the Year, the Illinois Principals Association 2012-2013 Elementary School Principal of the Year, a 2012 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Illinois Art Education Association 2012 Illinois Art Educator of the Year and a 2013 Milken Educator Award. Principals regularly inquire about the availability of educators who have completed North Central College’s teacher-preparation program.

North Central College offers several opportunities for students interested in education, including undergraduate degrees in elementary education and secondary education, with options to earn minors in reading and English language learning and an endorsement in special education. Undergraduate majors also are offered in art education, music education and physical education, as well as a minor in health education. The College offers a master of arts degree in education, with emphasis in curriculum and instruction or educational leadership and administration. Master of arts in education is among seven graduate degrees offered at North Central College.