Teaching Academy
The Teaching Academy Practicum is an elective course offered to Teaching Academy Seniors who have two years of teaching experience in classrooms working with elementary school children. These talented Seniors can write lesson plans, deliver instruction, and work with students in groups and individually. Most are trained in Reciprocal Teaching and may be placed in Independence High School classes to work with students who are in the lower two quintiles of the SAT9.

The Practicum was originally designed for the student who absolutely wanted to become a teacher. This meant being placed in an elementary or high school class for at least one period, four days a week. One day a week they met in a classroom with a Teaching Practicum teacher to do a mini teacher training class. We had students teaching everything from Kindergarten to high school adaptive PE. One of our students several years ago practically taught the entire Safety Ed class for a year.

The requirements of this class have varied over the years. They included creating and maintaining a portfolio with lesson plans, samples of student work, and reflections. Students were also required to do some readings in the field of education.

Problems with the Practicum have been going on for years. The grades in the Practicum were low because the Practicum teacher was quite strict about the portfolio and teaching assignments. For this and other reasons, enrollment in the Practicum fell from one full class to fewer than a dozen students.

Over the last two years we have used two periods during the Senior year as the Practicum: the English 4 and Government/Econ teachers only taught four days a week and the students went to their Practicum during these two periods every Friday. Unfortunately, not all students were interested in doing a Practicum this way, and these students were still required to create a portfolio.

One of the biggest problems was accountability. The Teaching Academy teacher had no consistent system for tracking the attendance of the Practicum students and many just ditched their teaching assignments much of the time.

Last year we created, for the first time, a flexible and practical Practicum that appealed to many students, not just those who wanted to be a classroom teacher. We will continue to include options, all dealing with education-related issues, that will make a Practicum that will work.
Attend class five days a week, whether in the Teaching Academy classroom with Mr. Baird, or at your teaching or research assignment.

Assist your resident teacher in planning and instruction

Create a portfolio of the classroom experience (including Lesson Plans, Rubrics, Handouts, Student Work, Class Notes, Overheads, Field Trip Notes, Literature Circle Reports, Tests, etc

Have a conference with your resident teacher every six weeks to evaluate your work in their class.

Be observed every six weeks by a member of the Teaching Academy staff.

Evaluate your own performance in the Practicum every six weeks.
Attendance 20%

Portfolio 50%

Resident Teacher Evaluations 10%

Teaching Academy Staff Evaluations 10%

Self Evaluations 10%

TOTAL 100%
Photos of Teaching Academy Senior Field Trip, Southern California Schools Tour March 2002
On the bus again!
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Dinner out at
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Swinging from the trees in the Ropes Course!
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