Skip Navigation

Using a PDS to Implement a Yearlong Clinical Experience Model

After five years of implementing a one-semester placement for clinical practice teacher candidates, PDS partners at Holly Glen Elementary School identified the need for a better process in selecting and placing candidates at their school. Together with their university liaison, Dr. Stacey Leftwich, a yearlong internship model was implemented during the 2011-2012 school year. As a PDS, Holly Glen hosted clinical practice candidates every semester. They also allowed students to conduct their junior practicum at the school. In fall 2011 the liaison taught the course Differentiated Literacy Instruction onsite at Holly Glen. This onsite course allowed students to first learn literacy concepts and strategies in the course then immediately enter a Holly Glen classroom to observe and/or implement the learned ideas in the elementary classroom setting. Holly Glen members began to view the school as a teaching hospital, which required restructuring the experience for the university students. It was decided that the interns (university student) would be systematically matched with a mentor (classroom teacher), in which both the interns and potential mentors would have input. To begin this process, prior to the official start of the practicum, interns were invited into Holly Glen classrooms to observe mentors. Students' observations were twofold. First, they were observing how the mentors were implementing differentiated literacy instruction. Second, interns were observing the mentors to determine if his or her classroom was a place that the interns would like to conduct their practicum experience. Once observations were completed a Mix and Mingle luncheon was hosted by the Holly Glen Home and School Association. During this luncheon mentors and interns were given the opportunity to hold in-depth conversations with each other. Interns clarified questions and determined which mentor they were interested in working with. Interns were to identify a first, second or third mentor choice. Mentors were asked to do the same. In all incidences, choices were identical for both the interns and mentors. Once interns and mentors were matched, interns worked in pairs in the classroom. Each intern tutored a struggling child in literacy twice a week for 12 weeks. During this placement the interns developed a relationship with the mentors and the elementary students in the classroom. The interns observed the mentor's classroom routines and instruction in order to differentiate instruction during the intern's tutoring sessions. By midterm, interns were given the opportunity to extend their stay at Holly Glen. Interns were invited to apply to conduct their final clinical practice experience in the school. If accepted, students would return in the spring and work with the same mentor and elementary students. Seven out of the ten students applied. However, only three positions were available. It was decided that interns who would return to conduct their final experience would work in the same core. The first grade core had six interns and four of them had applied to return to Holly Glen. After a thorough review of the interns' applications, the three final candidates were selected and returned to Holly Glen in spring 2012 to successfully conduct their final clinical experience.  

A Differenciated Literacy Instruction Student Assessing a Holly Glen 2nd Grader
A Differenciated Literacy Instruction Student Assessing a Holly Glen 2nd Grader