Summer/Fall Option

  of the Secondary Teacher Education Program            



                              PROGRAM HANDBOOK



     Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies Department School of Education

                   University of Massachusetts, Amherst Massachusetts 01003



Features and assumptions of Summer/Fall:

Several important features and underlying assumptions characterize STEP and the Summer/Fall Option.

  • STEP requires its candidates to have or to develop a firm foundation of content knowledge in their subject area. STEP strives to develop and transform that content knowledge into effective and relevant pedagogical approaches for teaching middle and high school students.
  • STEP seeks to develop dialogue and connections among faculty and teaching candidates concerning the major issues facing schooling in the United States, including issues of equity. STEP's goal is to raise awareness of issues of equity and then work with educators to develop principles and methods to enable all students to reach their full potential.
  • STEP assumes that becoming a teacher is a process of intellectual and emotional development. STEP blends academic study in the disciplines with professional preparation in education that includes applied work in schools and clinical settings prior to student teaching.
  • STEP explores teaching and learning from a constructivist perspective, believing that people learn effectively when they can integrate new knowledge into what they already know and understand. Teacher licensure candidates in STEP work to reconstruct past experiences, construct new knowledge, and become active, responsible, and collaborative participants in a community of learners and teachers.
  • STEP, through a network of clinical year partnerships, collaborates with teachers in urban, suburban, and rural communities throughout the Pioneer Valley and Western Massachusetts. These partnerships welcome our pre-practicum and student teachers and provide them with opportunities to explore and develop as educators.



STEP’s Summer/Fall option offers a course of study for candidates who wish to prepare for Initial Licensure in the areas listed below.


Subject Area

Middle School Grade Level

High School Grade Level

General Science






Earth Science













Note: This program is designed to meet Massachusetts state regulations for Initial Licensure. The Secondary Education Program operates under the auspices of the University of Massachusetts’ Teacher Education Coordinating Council (TECC) and is accredited by the National Council of Accreditation for Teacher Education (NCATE) and by the Massachusetts Department of Education.





STEP assumes that students enter the program with a web of beliefs, assumptions, and knowledge that they have constructed about teaching, learning, and the nature of schools. Through critical examination of past experiences, we encourage beginning teachers to become aware of the assumptions with which they enter the teaching field. Through subject matter and professional course work, field experiences, and their own practice, students are asked to reassess assumptions and develop their ideas about schooling, the nature of students, and issues of curriculum and teaching in the societal context within which schools operate.



We strive, at a minimum, for students to demonstrate proficiency in all state standards. Our constructivist perspective stresses: (1) that knowledge is actively created by learners, not passively received from the environment; (2) that knowledge creations are made when learners are encouraged to critically reflect on their physical and mental actions; and (3) that learning is a social process in which learners grow into the intellectual life of those around them. (4) STEP stresses a commitment to developing an awareness within our students of a multicultural perspective and a sensitivity to diversity. We strive to contribute to the development of teachers as leaders.


To realize our goals, we collaborate with colleagues in the university and in the public schools to provide the course of study. The Teacher Education Coordinating Council (TECC) sustains collaborative relationships with teacher education faculty and subject matter specialists throughout the University. STEP is in partnership with many of the school districts in the Pioneer Valley to provide outstanding clinical sites for field experiences, pre-practica, and practica.




There are three phases toward earning the Initial License through STEP. 

STAGE 1: Subject Matter Knowledge:

All STEP candidates seeking Initial Licensure must demonstrate that they have subject matter knowledge consistent with the regulations set by the Massachusetts’ Department of Education.  We recommend that Summer/Fall students have the equivalent of a major in their subject area.  Post-BA/BS and graduate candidates may earn the equivalent of a major by demonstrating their knowledge according to the standards in the specific areas outlined in the state REGULATIONS FOR EDUCATIONAL LICENSURE (

In addition, candidates for STEP must pass both the Communication and Literacy Skills and the Subject matter portions of the MTEL.


STAGE 2: Introductory Teacher Education Course Work and Field Experiences:

Students in Summer/Fall take a common core of courses designed to meet the State Professional Standards for Teachers for middle or high school Initial Licensure. Phase 2 consists of the introductory courses that help students learn about the work of middle and high school teachers, teaching and learning in multicultural settings, and the psychology of learning. Students also enroll in a course on education and the law. This phase provides students with field and tutoring experiences in a variety of settings including middle and high schools, and rural, suburban, and urban districts.


STAGE 3: Clinical Phase

This Stage includes a subject-matter-specific principles and methods course, a pre-practicum, a practicum, and associated seminars.  The pre-practicum serves in part as a "lab experience" for the methods class. The practicum must be in the appropriate subject area at the middle school (5-8) or the high school (8-12) level. (Students may earn licensure at both the middle and high school levels). Students also enroll in EDUC 510, a seminar that accompanies student teaching. Satisfactory completion of STEP and passing the MTEL ensures that students meet the Subject Matter Knowledge Requirements and satisfy the Professional Standards for Teachers for Initial Licensure in their teaching fields at either the middle or high school level.



Beginning in late May, our Summer/Fall students participate in intensive coursework through most of June and all of July.  The Practicum (student-teaching or internship) and accompanying seminars take place during the Fall semester.  Students who successfully complete all phases of Summer/Fall and who have passed the applicable parts of the MTEL will then be recommended to receive Massachusetts Initial Licensure for their particular level and subject matter.

Summer Schedule 2004  (see COURSE DESCRIPTIONS for details)           

EDUC 524  Work of the Middle and High School Teacher (3 cr)    May 25-June 17

EDUC 693I  Educational Psychology (3 cr)                                     June 21-July 9                                    

EDUC 511/512  Math/Science Methods (3 cr)                                 June 28-July 16                                      

EDUC 592S  On-Site Pre-Practicum (2 cr)                                      July 6-July 30                                    

EDUC 615F  Inclusive Pedagogy (3 cr)                                           July 12-July 30

Fall Courses  (Registration Day 2004 is September 7th)                                                                                     

EDUC 510  The Teacher in the Middle and High School Classroom (2 cr)               

EDUC 615J  Education and the Law (1 cr)                                                             

EDUC 500M/S  Practicum for the Middle/High School (12 cr) or Internship I (3 cr)

Spring Coursework for Summer/Fall students doing an Internship:                         

EDUC 698  Internship II (3 cr)                                                                                     

EDUC 695B  Issues and Challenges of Being a New Teacher (3 cr)



STEP is approved by the Interstate Certification Compact (ICC) and accredited by the Massachusetts Department of Education. Graduates of the program who become licensed in Massachusetts are eligible by reciprocal agreement for licensure in 46 other states with comparable licenses including all of those in the northeastern United States.



The Summer/Fall option is designed for juniors, seniors, and post-BA/BS students who want to teach science or math at the middle or high school level, and who want to begin a licensure program in the summer and finish in the fall.  Students interested in the program should have completed most or all of a major in science, math, or the equivalent.


Admission to Summer/Fall is competitive and is based on the following criteria:



This usually means having an excellent academic record as a major in the proposed field of certification, however, committed candidates who are changing fields may also meet this requirement by demonstrating substantive academic work in the new field and developing a plan of study that meets Subject Matter Knowledge Requirements.



Evidence of having met this criterion usually consists of a student's grade point average. Applicants for certification in the sciences must present a grade point average of at least 3.0. Applicants in mathematics must present a grade point average of at least 2.75 (in accordance with NCATE standards). Students who do not have these grade point averages may submit other compelling evidence that they wish the admissions committee to consider.



Evidence of having met this criterion often consists of successful work or related educational experiences with children or adolescents undertaken before applying to STEP.



Evidence of having met this criterion is often demonstrated by courses students have taken, extracurricular activities, volunteer and paid employment, and scholarly or creative work.



Evidence of having met this criterion includes examples of positions of leadership held, examples of situations in which one has taken initiative and responsibility for processes or outcomes, or participation in organized activities in which one has taken a special role.



Evidence of having met this criterion includes the consistency of evidence presented in the personal statement, references, resume, transcripts, and interviews, which demonstrates that the candidate understands the nature of the program, has a commitment to its sense of mission as described earlier in this handbook, and has a commitment to and capability of becoming an outstanding teacher in the public schools.



With your application, you must submit copies of your passing MTEL score reports.



Candidates considering applying for admission may seek information and an application from the STEP Information Office in room 121B Furcolo Hall.  Advisors' hours are posted on the office door and are available on voice mail. Step advisors can be contacted by telephone at (413) 545-4397 or by email at:

You can also print an application from this website, by clicking on the APPLICATION link.


The application consists of a personal statement, copies of the candidate's transcript(s), and two letters of recommendation. Applicants are required to submit a copy of their MTEL score reports, confirming that they have passed the Communication and Literacy and Subject matter portions of the MTEL.  We encourage you to submit a resume and any other material which demonstrate your potential as a middle or high school teacher. 

Post-BA applications require a processing fee and a resume (Checks for $15 should be made out to the Division of Continuing Education). 


Applications should be submitted to LICENSURE OFFICER, Office of Teacher Education, 125 Furcolo Hall, telephone: 413-545-2701. 

Students applying to the Summer/Fall licensure program are advised to sign up for the earliest administration of the MTEL, as passing scores on the Literacy portion are required for admission, and passing Subject matter scores are required before you can begin your student-teaching!


The Summer/Fall application deadline date is March 1. (Late applications are considered on a space-available basis.)


The Student Teaching Practicum

The culminating experience of STEP and the Summer/Fall program is the full student-teaching practicum, which consists of full-time work in a school for one semester.  Candidates who seek dual licensing (at both the middle and high school levels) must complete a full practicum at one level and a second full practicum at the second licensure level.


Candidates who have (a) passed both the CLS portion and the subject matter portion of the MTEL; (b) fulfilled the Subject Matter Knowledge Requirements; (c)completed all pre-practicum requirements; (d) maintained a grade point average of 2.75-mathematics/ 3.0-sciences; (e)successfully completed the appropriate performance assessment; and (f) secured the approval of the appropriate subject matter advisor, may continue with the Practicum. 

STEP expects that candidates will student-teach in their pre-practicum school district, department, or classroom.  In a few cases, candidates will student-teach in a different school district (within a 40-mile radius of campus).  All STEP candidates are strongly encouraged to student-teach in one of the schools in our Clinical Partnership Network.  In rare cases, candidates need to student-teach beyond the 40-mile radius of campus.  In these cases, candidates must formally petition the subject matter advisor and the Director of STEP Clinical Year for permission to teach beyond this range.  Out-of-area student-teachers will register through the Division of Continuing Education in order to pay for the additional cost of long-distance supervision.  In some cases, the Continuing Education course credit may not count toward the final degree.  Students who are contemplating student-teaching out of area should consult with the appropriate subject matter advisor early on.


The subject matter advisors and the Director of Step Clinical Year act as resources and counsel student-teacher applicants in the placement process, but the prospective student-teacher is responsible for applying to and securing their own student-teaching position.  Final placement in a student-teaching position is a negotiation between the prospective student-teacher and potential cooperating teacher, approved by the appropriate department head, principal, subject matter advisor, and the Director of STEP Clinical Year.





Perhaps the strongest aspect of STEP is the cooperation extended by school districts and departments who offer sites for the Clinical experience. Teachers and administrators in these school systems make themselves available to students for the pre-practicum field experiences and work as cooperating supervising teachers for the practicum. These sites provide a unique level of instruction and support for student teachers. The sites are especially geared for post-BA/BS and master's degree students.


The following is a partial list of the Clinical Year Partnership School Districts:


Amherst-Pelham Regional School District:

Amherst-Pelham Regional Middle School

Amherst-Pelham Regional High School

Easthampton School District:

Easthampton High School

East Longmeadow School District:

Birchland Park Middle School

East Longmeadow High School

Greenfield School District:

Greenfield Middle School

Greenfield High School

Holyoke School District:

Dean Technical & Vocational High School

Holyoke High School

Lynch Middle School & Peck Middle School

Holyoke Magnet Middle School for the Arts

Longmeadow School District:

Longmeadow High School

Northampton School District:

            J.F.K. Middle School

Springfield School District:

            Central High School

Chestnut Accelerated Middle School for the Visual and Performing Arts

Van Sickle Middle School

Gill-Montague School District:

Great Falls Middle School

Turners Falls High School

Other participating schools:

Belchertown Junior-Senior High School

Frontier Regional High School --South Deerfield

Mohawk Trail Regional School District--Buckland

Northampton High School

Pioneer Valley Regional High School--Northfield




Candidates may waive courses providing they have evidence of having fulfilled the intent of the course. Candidates seeking to waive courses should first confer with the course instructor as to the policies and procedures for waiving that particular course. Guidelines for applying for waivers are posted outside of Room 103, Furcolo Hall. No credit is earned by waiving a course.