JUNE 17, 2009

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OPSU School of Education Earns Accreditation

How do parents know that the teachers in their child’s public school classroom are well-qualified and trained to educate students? Professional accreditation helps assure those parents that schools of education are graduating competent educators prepared for today’s classrooms. Oklahoma Panhandle State University’s School of Education has proven its commitment to producing quality teachers for our nation’s children by earning accreditation. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) recently granted OPSU continuing accreditation for the next seven years.

NCATE is the organization responsible for professional accreditation of teacher education, and NCATE-accredited schools meet rigorous criteria set by the profession and members of the public. OPSU professionals work hard to assure those high standards are met. They assess teacher candidates and ensure they possess in-depth knowledge of the subject matter they plan to teach as well as the necessary skills to convey that knowledge to students before they are allowed to graduate. OPSU must also maintain partnerships with area public schools to enable candidates to develop skills inside the classroom. In addition, future teachers must be prepared to work within diverse populations. University faculty must model effective teaching practices and also must acquire and maintain all of the resources, such as information technology, necessary to prepare candidates to meet the standards.

NCATE revises its standards every five years to incorporate best practice and research in order to ensure that the standards reflect what is important in teacher preparation. Meeting NCATE accreditation standards helps OPSU prepare prospective teachers for new, more demanding licensing requirements in many states. The U. S. Department of Education recognizes NCATE as a specialized accrediting body for schools, colleges, and departments of education. Founded in 1954, it continues its mission today: the profession and states working together for excellence in teacher preparation and development.

Dr. Wayne Stewart, OPSU’s dean of education, said, “I am extremely pleased with the OPSU teacher education faculty, the teacher education council, our staff, teacher candidates, and public school teachers and administrators that have all worked together to ensure the quality of our program. This accreditation review further supports what local administrators have been telling us for years — we are producing quality teachers — and that makes the hard work and long hours to prepare for the visit all worth it. I also want to thank Dr. Bryant and Dr. Manning for their continued support of teacher education at OSPU.”

OPSU President Dave Bryant added, “Achieving NCATE accreditation is a bold statement about the continuing excellence of the teacher education program at OPSU. We are all very proud of this significant accomplishment by our faculty, staff, students, Teacher’s Education Council, and especially Dr. Stewart.”

For more information about OPSU’s teacher education program, visit www.opsu.edu, choose the Academics link, and then Education or contact Dr. Wayne Stewart at 580-349-1408.