We understand you will need to navigate practicum situations on a case-by-case basis depending on your unique context. As you know, all state-approved educator preparation programs have the authority to extend waivers when appropriate for a specific candidate, based on program needs and a specific candidate's experiences (see Program Approval Guidelines, p. 21). As always, in each decision to issue a waiver, organizations must carefully consider the benefits of waiving requirements and the impact it will have on the candidates' preparation experience and ultimately, their effectiveness with and impact on kids. Given the current statewide extenuating circumstances, in order to allow organizations to approach this situation with more flexibility while also monitoring the impact of wide-spread use of waivers, through the end of the 2019-20 school year we expanded waiver guidance to include the following:
This extended waiver policy requires accompanying data collection, due to DESE by August 20, 2020. Through this data collection, we seek to understand the extent and depth of impact on candidates who were ultimately endorsed despite deviations from the approved program of study. Below is additional clarity regarding this data collection requirement:
As you continue to make plans to address the 2020-21 school year and reimagine what it looks like to prepare educators in this pandemic/post-pandemic world, please review this advisory outlining DESE expectations and temporary flexibilities offered in 2020-21. We appreciate your extensive input via recent Zoom meetings and survey, and we are grateful for your patience as we worked through all the components you see outlined in the advisory.
We are encouraging schools and districts to see educator preparation candidates (e.g., prospective teachers, administrators, school counselors) as an extension of their workforce, who ca provide added capacity to meeting students' needs. We encourage districts to view candidates as essential to the return-to-school effort and to leverage the variety of ways they can support the needs of their school community (see one-pager, "Leveraging Student Teachers ," for additional context). Not only will this be critical to prevent educator shortages in the future, but candidates can serve as a key component to supporting in-service teachers and students to effectively engage in teaching and learning this year through any approach (i.e., in person, hybrid, remote) a school takes. We encourage districts to identify ways to allow candidates access to virtual platforms that will be used by your school/district, for example by providing them with a district-specific email address, and to work with ed prep partners on the flexibilities regarding practicum that we've granted them this year. You may consider sharing this language and/or the one-pager with your school and district partners as you work to secure practicum placements this fall.
In order to continue providing an open communication channel with Educator Preparation Providers, we have been and will continue hosting weekly hour-long Zoom meetings on Tuesdays from 10:00am-11:00am. During these conversations, we will provide any updated guidance we have at that point; this will also serve as a platform for organizations to collaborate, brainstorm, and troubleshoot the ways in which you are navigating through this situation. Please use this link to log into the weekly meeting, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for call-in information.
Last Updated: July 20, 2020
Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH): Information on the Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for schools
Parents and guardians questions can be directed to COVID19K12ParentInfo@mass.gov
District and school staff's questions can be directed to: Reopeningk12@mass.gov
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906
Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370
Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.