Field Placement Agreements

WAC 181-78A-125 requires that all educator preparation programs approved or authorized by the professional educator standards board or programs approved in other states operating field experiences in Washington state shall establish and maintain field placement agreements with all Washington school districts in which candidates are placed for field experiences leading to certification or endorsement.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is meant by “field experiences”?

The state has not established an official definition of field experiences, but in this context it would include anyone who is formally enrolled in an educator preparation program and who is engaged in school-based activities in order to meet program requirements (particularly if the activity involves interacting with P-12 students on a regular basis).

What is a field placement agreement?

The field placement agreement is a written memorandum of understanding between a Washington school district and an educator preparation program that wishes to place certification and endorsement candidates in the district for purposes of field experience.The agreement outlines the mutual expectations and conditions for conducting the field experiences.

These agreements are designed to identify and clearly communicate mutual expectations for field placements. The PESB believes that when districts and preparation programs engage in focused discussion on these expectations, the result is a more productive experience for candidates and for Washington students.

Why are field placement agreements required?

WAC 181-78A-125
states: "Beginning September 1, 2010, all educator preparation programs approved or authorized by the professional educator standards board or programs approved in other states operating field experiences in Washington state shall establish and maintain field placement agreements with all Washington school districts in which candidates are placed for field experiences leading to certification or endorsement."

Are there specific procedures that must be contained in the agreement?

No. The guidelines only identify the kinds of issues or projects to be addressed. Districts and preparation programs are encouraged to discuss expectations that mutually benefit the district’s students and the program’s candidates when preparing these agreements and include any additional provisions that are seen as mutually beneficial.

Can field placements and agreements vary?

Yes. Partnerships and agreements reflect the needs and capacity of the entities. See Self-assessment of a WA Partnership for descriptions and links to models and Examples of Partnerships in Washington for a sample. The agreement should clearly articulate the vision as well as the requirements below.

What should be the duration of agreements with school districts?

Washington administrative rules do not specify a particular duration, which is at the mutual discretion of the program and district. Multi-year agreements may be approved by the parties, as long as field experiences remain within terms of the agreement.

Definitions 

For the purposes of the agreement, the following definitions will be used.

District: A Washington public school district.
Field experience: Any program-sanctioned experiences that involve educator candidates interacting with P-12 students in a school setting or at school-sponsored activities.
Program: The agency responsible for instructing, evaluating, and recommending candidates in a state-approved program leading to certification or endorsement.
Supervisor: The individual employed by the university to oversee and evaluate field experiences.
Mentor: The classroom teacher or other educator in the district assigned to work with a candidate during student teaching or internship.
Parties: The preparation program and a Washington school or district

Guidelines

The PESB recognizes that Field Placement Agreement may be formatted differently and/or contain additional information depending upon the needs of each school district and institution partnership. PESB rules (WAC 181-78A-125) require that field placement agreements must clearly identify the information outlined in each section below.

WAC 181-78A-264 (C) Standard 4 Clinical Practice defines the length of placement and the mentor role. The Standard 4 Program Review Rubric establishes levels of quality for clinical practice (4)(C).

Contents of an Agreement 

     1.  Intent of the Field Placement Agreement
  • identify the program personnel who are authorized to request a placement,
  • identify the district personnel to whom those requests should be made, and
  • specify that candidates will not be placed in situations in which personal relationships or previous experiences could interfere with objective evaluation.
     2. Assurances of Fingerprinting and Character Clearance

District and program personnel clearly understand that prior to the beginning of all field experiences that:
  • the program will verify that candidates have cleared fingerprint and character clearance conducted through the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and
  • the program is responsible for assuring that the appropriate clearance remains in effect throughout the completion of any assigned field experience. 
     3. Specific Field Experiences Covered by the Agreement

Describe the field experience(s) being requested and covered by the agreement, including time and length of experience(s).

     4. Supervisor and Mentor Qualifications
  • the minimum qualifications to be held by program supervisors and
  • the minimum qualifications to be held by district mentors.
     5. Roles, Responsibilities, and Expectations - Describe the roles, responsibilities, and expectations for:
  • candidates
  • clinical faculty
  • supervisors
  • mentors, including how mentors are trained 
     6. Communication
  • contact protocol
  • problem-solving processes
  • mentor training
In cases where programs have developed handbooks or other materials containing this information, the agreement may include the relevant sections of those materials with verification that these materials have been reviewed by the program and the district,

     7. Other mutually agreed-upon collaboration (optional)

The PESB does not regulate the unique partnership agreements, though articulation of these as related to field agreements is advised.

     8. Signatories to Agreement

This section should include the signatures of all parties necessary to implement the agreement, but must at the very minimum include the following for both the preparation program and the district/school:

Name (printed)
Signature
Position / Title
Date

Return to Request for Authorization for Field Placement status