First, I trust that all are doing well and are taking care socially, emotionally and physically. For Brock University this is an unusual circumstance. Second, there are many questions about grades, spring 2020 convocation, how individuals will complete their practicum, how we enable teacher candidates to meet their minimum Ontario College of Teachers requirements for practicum experiences, access to Additional Qualifications
(AQ) courses for graduating teacher candidates, and how the requirement for successful completion of the Math Proficiency Test (MPT) will have an impact on licensure requirements. Let me address these and related issues, briefly.
The face-to-face spring 2020 convocation will be replaced by a virtual convocation (format to be determined). All individuals who qualify and have applied to graduate in spring 2020 will be awarded their degree on the regularly scheduled convocation day. For final semester teacher candidates, this will mean that the University will be confirming with the Ontario College of teachers that you have met the requirements for your degree or certificate. We look forward to “seeing” you all at Convocation in June.
Our communications officer is seeking, as always, news about your transitions from our teacher education program to the workforce, whether that transitions includes full-time or part-time teaching in Ontario, Canada or internationally, whether you enroll in graduate studies, or if you work in other professions or create your own company. Please keep us informed about what you are doing. We want to celebrate all of your successes!
As you are aware, Senate passed a motion to allow, for the winter term 2020 only, students to select from among three options for their final grade on specific courses. Students should consider carefully the potential impacts of a non-traditional grade. You should consult with your academic advisor if the course has a minimum threshold to maintain status in a program and whether the selection of a non-traditional grade will have any impact on your status.
The Brock teacher education programs have requirements for practicum that may exceed the Ontario College of Teachers minimum requirements for certification. These program requirements are the practicum blocks and the number of days in each block. Teacher candidates are required, for graduation purposes, to complete all the required practicum blocks.
2020 graduating teacher candidates: For graduating teacher candidates, the Dean has some discretion to recommend candidates to the OCT who have not met, strictly speaking, the program requirements but who met the OCT minimum requirements. As discussed in my previous message, we are assessing how best to support final semester candidates who have met the OCT requirements to be deemed as meeting our program practicum requirements. In addition, the Ontario Association of Deans of Education (OADE) has been advocating on your behalf to identify pathways whereby they are able to meet out program and OCT minimum requirements.
Second semester Teacher Candidates: Unfortunately, due to COVID19, the closure of schools and limited re-opening of schools to online instruction only, we had to defer the practicum block scheduled for March-April 2020. The teacher education program committee is assessing how we may will schedule this postponed practicum block into the 2020-21 academic year. As you know, much depends on the ability of school districts to accommodate the additional days that teacher candidates will require and the availability of Associate Teachers. Our placement office is working hard to ensure that all teacher candidates will meet their program requirements.
Tech Education: For Technical Education students in their final semester who are short of the OCT required minimum number of practicum days, the Placement Office has been working diligently to identify Associate Teachers who are able to supervise you in a virtual format. The Placement Office will communicate with you about potential opportunities.
Additional Qualification (AQ) courses
In the last semester, Randy Hill of Continuing Teacher Education (CTE) visited many classes to promote our AQ/ABQ courses. With the addition of the Math Proficiency Test as a requirement for licensure, not graduation, the CTE has consulted with the Ontario College of Teachers to clarify when an individual may take an AQ/ABQ and have the course considered as part of your official OCT record. Please note, Aspiring teachers who complete their application for a certificate of qualification and registration on or after March 31, 2020, which includes the receipt of all required documentation and fees by the College, must pass a Mathematics Proficiency Test in order to become certified. If you did not pass the MPT, at this time, you cannot take an AQ without OCT certification that requires successful completion of the MPT. Please consult with Continuing Teacher Education if you have any questions and watch for further updates.
Math Proficiency Test
It is important to note that the Math Proficiency Test (MPT) is not a Brock Teacher Education program requirement. The MPT is a requirement for licensure. The Ontario Deans of Education continue to advocate on behalf of teacher candidates to adjust this requirement for 2020. Any modification requires a change to the regulations by the Ontario Ministry of Education. Teacher candidates should monitor the EQAO website. Please note, the EQAO website is incorrect around the administration of the test. Ontario faculties of education are not involved in any test administration. As more information becomes available, I will have this posted on the FOE web site as well as through various social media streams.
For our Hamilton campus teacher candidates, I wish to reassure you that the university is committed to maintaining the Hamilton campus through the 2020-21 academic year. I will be asking for a student volunteer(s) to serve on a committee to advise the university on the space requirements for the new Hamilton-Burlington-Oakville campus. We will reach out to all students for advice about what is required for a campus that will serve both teacher candidates and undergraduate, graduate and adult/continuing studies students from all Faculties.
Spring and Summer
COVID19 has disrupted our normal sequence of events and plans for the spring and summer, including employment opportunities. Please take care of yourself as you pass through this unusual transition period.