The Department of Education embraces the Saint Leo University core values of excellence, community, respect, personal development, responsible stewardship, and integrity. Each education course incorporates one or more of these values into its curriculum.
Students in the Department of Education are expected to demonstrate dependability, good character, and acceptable academic standing. Students are therefore evaluated on their academic, professional, and ethical performance in their coursework, as well as in their field experiences. If a student demonstrates inadequate performance in any of these areas, the Professional Standards Committee may be called upon to address the issue(s). Issues regarding academic dishonesty are addressed by the Saint Leo University Academic Standards Committee.
The major in elementary education is designed for students who plan to teach in elementary school (kindergarten through sixth grade) and to qualify for Florida teacher certification. Because this is a state-approved Teacher Education Program, Saint Leo graduates are assured Florida certification for grades K-6, including ESOL and Reading Endorsements. In addition, Saint Leo graduates benefit from interstate agreements that the Florida Department of Education negotiates with many other states to make certification easily available. Students can check the Florida DOE web page for details (fldoe.org).
The elementary education major is carefully designed to meet state requirements for general education, for admission to the program, for the curriculum components in the major, and for graduation requirements. Students formally apply to the Education Department as beginning juniors.
Entrance into the program requires students to:
- meet the University Explorations (general education) requirements or transfer in with an associate of arts degree from a regionally-accredited institution
- pass the General Knowledge (GK) portion of the Florida Teacher Certification Exam prior to or during the second semester in the junior year;
- enter with and maintain a GPA of 2.5 through the program;
- Earn a grade of no less than 2.0 in every education course. A grade of C- or lower is unacceptable in an education course and would necessitate the retaking of the course.
The education coursework is planned to ensure coherence and breadth of knowledge and experience. Students are encouraged to take the major elective courses EDU 222, EDU 226, and EDU 228, or the equivalents, as sophomores. In subsequent semesters, most education courses are blocked with a minimum of 12 credits that must be taken concurrently. Each of the first three semesters includes a field experience of one full day or two half days per week in an elementary classroom (a background check and fingerprinting will be required). These placements provide opportunities for the teacher candidates to apply what they are studying to real-life classroom situations. Paraprofessional programs are also available. Summer options, as well as some online courses, are available to meet individual schedules and needs. Students will confer with an academic advisor each semester to keep on track while also allowing flexibility as needed.
During the semester prior to final internship, students must complete a formal application to intern. Final Internship is a full-time, semester-long, student-teaching experience in an elementary classroom. To qualify for final internship, students must:
- take all portions of the Florida Teacher Certification Exam
- have completed all EDU courses; however, EDU 428 may be completed concurrently with final internship;
- have a 2.5 overall GPA and a minimum of 2.0 in all education courses;
- complete a background check prior to placement;
- complete a formal application for internship by February 15 or October 15 prior to the internship semester.
To graduate with a degree in elementary education, students must
- satisfy all requirements listed above for internship
- receive a passing grade for EDU 480 - Internship and EDU 481 - Seminar: Final Internship--Synthesis;
- successfully demonstrate all of the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices in the final internship and in required education courses as documented in the Saint Leo electronic assessment system;
- satisfactorily complete all requirements for a bachelor's degree as set forth elsewhere in the catalog; and
- pass all required portions of the Florida Teacher Certification Exam.
Notation of completion of a state-approved program in elementary education K-6 with ESOL and Reading Endorsements will appear on a student's transcript when all requirements are met.
The Elementary Education Program follows the rules and regulations mandated by the state of Florida; consequently, program requirements may change as state requirements change.