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Contact: Rene Abadie or Christina Chapple
Date: 4/8/04
 
SOUTHEASTERN TEACHER PREP PROGRAM GETS "STRAIGHT A'S" ON STATE REPORT CARD
      HAMMOND -- Southeastern Louisiana University's teacher preparation program
has been given "straight As" on the annual institutional report cards released today (April 8) by the Louisiana Board of Regents.
      Earning an overall performance label of "exemplary," the university received an "A" for institutional performance, which is based on the passage rate on the PRAXIS examination required for teacher licensure and on a survey of graduates' satisfaction with their teacher preparation program. The university also earned an "A+" on the “Quantity Index,” which is comprised of both the raw number of program completers and additional recognition for producing teachers in critical shortage categories such as special education, mathematics and science teaching, and minority graduates in all areas of certification.
      Southeastern was one of a dozen institutions rated as "exemplary," the highest performance label. Last year the university was judged as "high performing," the second highest of five general classifications for rating teacher preparation.
      Southeastern's PRAXIS passage rate was 97.2 percent, just short of the 98 percent required for an "A+" grade. A total of 278 of the 286 students who completed the program in 2002-2003 passed the PRAXIS. The figure includes 232 completers in the regular teacher preparation program and 46 in the alternative certification program.
      Overall, Southeastern graduates judged the university's program as "excellent" in their responses to 33 questions about factors such as planning, instruction, management and school
improvement.
      "The report reflects what has always been a major mission at Southeastern, namely the preparation of quality teachers to serve our area's schools," said Southeastern President Randy Moffett. "The credit for this success is directly due to the efforts of the administrators and faculty of our College of Education and Human Development and the College of Arts and Sciences. Preparation of teachers at Southeastern is a coordinated effort designed to ensure that graduates have excellent academic content knowledge as well as a strong basis in teaching methods."
      “I am especially pleased that Southeastern scored well in terms of both quality and quantity,” said Martha Thornhill, interim dean of the College of Education and Human Development. “Not only are we preparing a large number of teachers to meet the critical shortage of certified teachers in Louisiana, but we also have clear, objective evidence that those teachers are highly skilled in their craft. Certainly, they will have direct positive impact on the future learning of Louisiana's children.”
      Thornhill said since fall 2003, Southeastern students are now required to pass all parts of the PRAXIS examination before student teaching.
      Moffett said he was especially pleased to see high scores from Southeastern graduates who are now engaged in classroom teaching. Graduates graded their preparation programs in the areas of planning, instruction, classroom management and school improvement.
      "This is a strong indication that we are appropriately preparing new teachers for their profession," he said. "They know what to expect in the classroom and how to apply the knowledge and skills they have learned."
      Southeastern is one of Louisiana's largest producers of teacher candidates with approximately 300 graduates per year. The total number of students admitted to the program in 2002-03 was 856, with 285 students participating in supervised student teaching or internship programs. The university employs a total of 65 full and part time faculty in professional education, maintaining a student to faculty ratio of about four to one in student teaching supervision.
      Southeastern was the first teacher preparation program in the state to actually guarantee the performance of  its graduates in area school systems. In 2000, the university promised that its graduates will have strong knowledge of their subject, can teach to a diverse student population and know how to infuse technology into the curriculum. If teachers fail to meet specified standards, Southeastern will re-train them at its expense and provide them with an experienced mentor.
      The teacher preparation program was also the first in Louisiana to be reaccredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education in 2002 under NCATE's revised stringent standards. NCATE is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the primary accrediting body for teacher preparation programs.
      Other highlights about Southeastern's program noted in the report card included:
     – the opening of a new $8 million annex to the Cate Teacher Education Center in 2003. The annex features 10 new general classrooms, a 200-seat lecture hall, technology classroom and technology laboratory classroom, and three conference rooms.
     – replacement of its non-degree alternative certification program with a Master of Arts in Teaching degree, a program available completely on-line to non-certified teachers who are currently involved in classroom instruction. More than 800 students were accepted into the program since summer 2002, with over 400 students participating each semester.
     – strong success in keeping teacher graduates in the classroom through the Teacher Scholars Program, an accelerated master's degree program that provides intensive mentoring for first year teachers. After six years, 97 percent of teacher participants are still in the classroom.
     – receipt in 2002-2003 of a $1.3 million federal grant to provide quality professional development to teachers of limited English proficient students in four neighboring parish school systems: East Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Livingston and Tangipahoa parishes.