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Site coordinators - During 2007-08, site coordinators were established in the four pilot schools of Cedar Falls High School Central Middle School, Edison, Elementary School, and Hansen Elementary School. The site coordinators have proved to be a valuable aid in communication and coordination between UNI and the four pilot schools. In 2007-08, the use of site coordinators will be extended to seven additional schools: Peet Junior High, Orchard Hill Elementary, and Cedar Heights Elementary in Cedar Falls and East High School, Logan Middle School, Poyner Elementary, and Lowell Elementary in Waterloo.

Supervision - A major initiative in the first year of the pilot was to add university supervision for early field experiences. The experiences we have gained and the discussion that surrounded them has helped us to better define and clarify the role of supervisors during this part of our program. A milestone in this effort was the recent orientation for new supervisors on August 22, 2008. The event was led by Becky Hawbaker, field experience coordinator and PLS teacher, with the assistance of Lori Smith, lead supervisor for the PDS pilot and PLS teacher. Level I professors Dr. Melissa Heston, Dr. Katheryn East, and Dr. Kerri Clopton also presented information about the Level I coursework and associated field experiences.

Governance - During the first year of the pilot considerable effort was expended in establishing a governance structure for the PDS pilot study. A governance committee consisting of leaders from Waterloo, Cedar Falls, and UNI was established to provide overall direction. The Learning Community Committee consisting primarily of university faculty at this time was established to foster inquiry-based learning, research-based practice, and an extended learning community. Plans for this year include developing committees that are active in addressing diversity, assessment, and research.

Professional Development - In the spring of 2008, a one credit graduate course entitled “Mentoring Preservice Teachers” was initiated for teachers in the pilot study. The course provided inexpensive graduate credit as a giveback for teachers willing to host UNI field experience students. A primary purpose of the course was to discuss ways that UNI field experience students could be used to enhance student achievement in participating schools. This discussion-based course addressed topics such as coaching field experience students, increasing the interactions between field experience students and K-12 students, and collecting classroom data for the purpose of improving instruction. In addition, teachers were very interested in learning more about UNI’s field experiences and related coursework so they could provide better support for preservice students. In 2008-09, two follow up courses entitled “Mentoring Preservice Teachers II” and “Mentoring Preservice Teachers III” will also be offered. In addition to building on the topics addressed in the first mentoring course, they will also engage in teaching other teachers how to mentor preservice teachers.

Research - During the fall and spring of 2007-08, UNI students were surveyed and interviewed regarding their participation in their Level I, II, and III field experiences. Mentoring teachers were surveyed in the spring, and focus groups were conducted at the four pilot schools of Cedar Falls H.S., Central Middle School, Edison Elementary, and Hansen Elementary schools. These initial efforts will be extended through further studies intended to more closely examine our field experiences.