Placement Policy


Please review the following policy carefully before applying for your placement. Failure to adhere to our policy may put your placement in jeopardy.

The Office of Field Experiences (OFE) works diligently to develop and maintain relationships with a wide variety of schools and districts. As a result, we work within well-defined placement procedures. These policies allow us to ensure fair and consistent placement processes for hundreds of CWU teaching candidates each quarter.

Placement Map
  • Your Role During the Placement Process

    Teaching candidates are prohibited from attempting to arrange their placement in any manner and may not contact teachers or district personnel about possible placements. Students may not act on their own behalf or have anyone other than the OFE placement team act on their behalf regarding placements. If you seek your own placement, or one is sought for you by parties other than the CWU placement team, your placement will be put in jeopardy.

    To best support the success of your placement request:

    • Submit your application by the posted deadline.
    • Answer all application questions thoroughly and completely.
    • List any specific schools or mentor teacher preferences in your application only IF they have indicated an interest in hosting you during an earlier practicum.  (Most candidates will NOT list anyone here.)
    • Update your placement coordinator immediately if your preference requests change after you submit your application.
    • Respond promptly to communication sent to your CWU account by the Teacher Certification Program and OFE placement team.

    MUSIC STUDENTS: It is your responsibility to coordinate with Drs. James Reddan and Kirsten Boldt-Nuerohr before you submit your placement preferences for Student Teaching (EFC 480) and Field Experience (EFC 330). Drs. Reddan and Boldt-Nuerohr sometimes provide recommendations for music students to be placed with specific districts or teachers. You can include these recommendations in your application. The placement team will submit requests based on the preferences you list.

    CWU Field Placement Map
  • Application Appeals

    You will need to submit a placement Request Appeal If:

    • You did not submit your placement request application by the deadline posted on the OFE website.
    • You want to defer your placement request to a future quarter, and that quarter’s application deadline has already passed.
    • Your application was denied, because Teacher Certification did not receive pre-requisite or clearance documentation by the requested date.
    • You are requesting a placement area or district that is not listed on our placement map.

    Your appeal is more likely to be approved if all pre-requisites and clearance documentation have been received by the time your appeal is submitted. 

    If your appeal is approved, the late application date may still reduce the chances of placement in your first preference area. You will be unlikely to receive placement in areas designated in the application as having reduced placement availability (Northwest Region, Seattle, and Kittitas Valley). Depending on when a decision is made about your appeal, the OFE may still not have enough time to secure your placement.

    Even if your appeal is accepted, create a backup plan in case you need to defer to a future quarter. 

    Submit an Appeal
  • Placement Restrictions

    Placement Availability

    Extenuating personal, professional, and family circumstances for areas with limited placement will not be considered. There are no guaranteed placements with particular school districts, school buildings, or mentor teachers. Not all areas of geographic preferences are available each quarter. 

    The OFE placement team will attempt to find a placement that fits your request as closely as possible based on that quarter’s availability. Be prepared to accept a placement in your second or third request area - especially if you select one or more geographical areas designated as having limited availability in the placement application. In areas where placement options are limited, students may be assigned via a random lottery system.

    Field placements are dependent upon the feasibility of University-approved supervision. Placements will be sought only in areas where field supervisors are available. Placement districts are primarily located in the areas surrounding the Ellensburg campus and the CWU Centers in Yakima, Wenatchee, Des Moines and Pierce County.

    Requests for districts outside our designated map areas will be considered on a case-by-case basis and only when staff capacity permits. Special geographical requests will be reviewed by our Placement Appeals Committee. See the Application Appeals section above for more information.

    School districts will accept or deny placements based on the merits of your application, the availability of qualified mentor teachers, and district or school priorities.

    If you ask to change your geographical preferences after a placement request has been submitted to a school or district, your placement coordinator will not retract that request. If that submitted request is denied, your coordinator will update your next request to include your updated preferences.

    Housing and Transportation

    You are responsible for arranging your own housing and transportation. These factors cannot be determining factors for placement.

    You will not be placed for Student Teaching (EFC 480) in a school where you:

    • Attended high school
    • Have relatives who are employed or have been employed within the last two years
    • Have relatives or children who are attending or have attended within the last two years

    These restrictions may be waived on a case-by-case basis for Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) candidates, Teacher Academies graduates, and Seattle Academy for Rising Educators (ARE) graduates, or to support candidates who are in other district-specific Grow Your Own programs, at the request of our district partners. Placement decisions and waivers will be made at the Office of Field Experiences' discretion.

    If a placement cannot be found in your major and/or certification areas in the quarter for which you apply, your field placement may have to be postponed.

  • Placement Confirmations and Registration

    When your placement is secured, an email will be sent to your CWU email. Please check your CWU email daily! Upon receiving your confirmation email, please get in touch with your mentor teacher right away to say thank you for the placement and to introduce yourself.

    After all placements have been finalized, you will be registered for your course by your department staff.  It is your responsibility to take care of any holds you may have prior to the add/drop date. You are responsible for any penalties associated with late registration if you have not taken care of your hold.

    If you withdraw from a course, you are responsible for dropping the course and any financial consequences. 

    If you decide to withdraw, notify your placement coordinator or placements@cwu.edu immediately.

    If you decline a confirmed placement that fulfills your certification requirements, you will need to re-apply for a future quarter.

  • Inadequate Performance and Termination of a Field Experience

    Performance in a Field Experience will be graded as Satisfactory (S) or Unsatisfactory (U) based on course assessments as well as attendance at the field experience and seminars. Candidates may receive a score of U for a variety of reasons such as lack of classroom management skills, inappropriate lesson planning and preparation, inadequate subject matter knowledge, or poor interpersonal skills. Unprofessional or unethical conduct will be cause of immediate removal from student teaching and assignment of a grade of U. See "Inadequate Performance and Termination” for more detailed information.

    The candidate may be reassigned to a different mentor teacher, voluntarily terminate their field experience, be removed by the district and/or university, or continue in their placement and receive a grade of Unsatisfactory (U) at the end.  Each situation is unique and will be governed as follows:

    REASSIGNMENT TO A DIFFERENT MENTOR TEACHER:

    The candidate may be reassigned to a different mentor teacher for various reasons.  Most frequently, reassignment is necessary because the mentor teacher becomes ill or changes job positions.  The university supervisor will determine that a reassignment is necessary and coordinate a new placement in consultation with the field director.  The reassignment may need to occur the next quarter. In the case in which a candidate is demonstrating adequate performance for the course but cannot be reassigned until the next quarter, the candidate may withdraw (W) or take an incomplete (I) grade for the course following university guidelines (University policy CWUP 5-90-010(25). 

    INADEQUATE PERFORMANCE AND TERMINATION:

    Inadequate performance is defined as candidate knowledge, skills, or attributes that would score as “Needs Significant Improvement” on the Teacher Candidate Attributes Scale or below the minimum score required for adequate performance as defined on course specific assessments.

    Washington State law defines a Student Conduct Code (WAC 106-125) and Acts of Unprofessional Conduct (WAC 181-87) for educational practitioners. Behaviors that violate these codes are considered more severe than inadequate performance and may result in immediate termination of the field experience and removal from the Teacher Certification Program. In this case, the field experience will be suspended while the behavior is investigated and addressed through CWU’s Student Conduct and Candidate Review Committee’s processes.

    If the mentor teacher, district personnel, and/or the university supervisor have evidence from informal or formal observations or regularly scheduled course evaluations that the candidate demonstrates inadequate performance, the following policies and procedures apply:

    1. If the first instance of inadequate performance occurs prior to the mid-term scheduled evaluation, the university supervisor will consult with the mentor teacher to identify specific areas from the course assessments for candidate improvement, provide specific strategies for improvement, and communicate this feedback to the candidate in writing.
    2. If the same areas of inadequate performance are documented by school district representatives or the university supervisor, or if any areas of the Teacher Candidate Attributes Scale show inadequate performance at the scheduled mid-term evaluation, the university supervisor will develop, in consultation with the mentor teacher, field director, and SOE Candidate Review Committee (CRC), a written Plan of Improvement delineating specific expectations, supports, consequences, and a timeline for the candidate related to the specific course objectives utilizing the SOE Plan of Improvement form.
    3. Based upon the timeline laid out in the Plan of Improvement, the performance on the Plan of Improvement expectations will be assessed and the outcome will be reported on the SOE Plan of Improvement Progress Report by the university supervisor in consultation with the mentor teacher. If the university supervisor and mentor teacher determine that the candidate has improved to at least the level of adequate performance in all areas of the Teacher Candidate Attributes Scale and has met all other course requirements, the student can proceed in their field experience and will receive a grade of Satisfactory (S) in the course.
    4. If the candidate has not demonstrated adequate performance within the Plan of Improvement timeline, the candidate will receive a grade of Unsatisfactory (U) in the field experience course. A referral will be made to the CRC to determine the next course of action.
    5. When areas of inadequate performance emerge after the mid-quarter scheduled evaluation, as documented on the Teacher Candidate Attributes Scale, a candidate will be assigned a grade of Unsatisfactory (U) for the field experience course, and a referral will be made to the CRC to determine next steps even if a Plan of Improvement has not been initiated.

    VOLUNTARY TERMINATION

    Voluntary termination is when the candidate terminates the field experience.

    1. Candidates who want to voluntarily terminate their field experience should first meet with the university supervisor to discuss issues that necessitate the termination. Some common reasons for voluntary terminations are personal illness, family commitments, or the determination that teaching is no longer the candidate’s desired profession.
    2. If the decision is made to terminate the field experience, the candidate must notify the mentor teacher, university supervisor and the candidate’s academic program coordinator or department chair of their decision in writing.
    3. If the candidate is demonstrating adequate performance on all course assessments at the time of voluntary termination and the candidate desires to continue in the Teacher Certification Program, the candidate may withdraw (W) or take an incomplete (I) grade for the course following university guidelines.
    4. If the candidate is not demonstrating adequate performance in the field course at the time of voluntary termination, the candidate will receive an Unsatisfactory (U) grade for the course. If the candidate decides at a later date to apply to retake the course, the Second Chance Field Experience policies apply (see below).
    5. If the candidate decides that they will no longer pursue the teaching profession, they should consult with the field director to discuss alternative degree options such as the Instructional Foundations major, the non-certificate STEM minor, the non-certificate ECE major, etc.

    INVOLUNTARY TERMINATION

    Involuntary termination is when the university or school district terminates the field experience.

    CWU maintains placement agreements with all school districts for field experiences. That agreement states that “The District shall have the right to immediately limit or withdraw the use of its facilities by an individual candidate whenever in the judgment of the District, use of the facility by that particular candidate endanger the operations of the District…the District reserves the right to terminate the use of its facilities by a particular candidate where necessary in District’s reasonable judgement to maintain its operations free of disruption.”  

    The placement agreement also states that “The University will assign to a partner school only candidates who, in the judgement of the University, have the required academic background and basic skills to be trained in the district.”

    1. If the school district’s representative (e.g., building administrator or human resources) determines that it is necessary to terminate the candidate’s field experience due to operational concerns or inadequate performance, then the field experience will be terminated immediately and the candidate will receive a grade of Unsatisfactory (U) for the course, the above-mentioned policies/processes notwithstanding.
    2. A field experience will be terminated by the University if the candidate does not successfully complete their Plan of Improvement outcomes or if areas of inadequate performance emerge after the mid-term scheduled evaluation, or if the problematic behavior has ethical or legal ramifications for the program and department, such as safety concerns.
    3. When a field experience has been involuntarily terminated, a referral will be made to the CRC for review and to determine the next course of action.

    SECOND CHANCE FIELD EXPERIENCE

    Student Teaching (EFC 480, EDU 574)

    1. Candidates who are not demonstrating adequate performance and leave student teaching through voluntary or involuntary termination cannot retake student teaching or continue in the Teacher Certification Program, except when:
      1. The Candidate Review Committee (CRC) reviews the evidence and determines that the candidate’s performance was due to lack of mentorship by the mentor teacher and/or university supervisor.
      2. The CRC reviews the evidence and determines that the candidate’s performance was due to unforeseen circumstances.
      3. The CRC reviews the evidence and determines that even though the candidate did not move to adequate performance in all sections of their Plan of Improvement, they improved in the majority of identified areas, and the areas remaining could be improved through targeted remediation.
    2. In situations when the CRC recommends remediation, the candidate would be offered the opportunity to complete an additional quarter of individually mentored experience on a Plan of Improvement. If that quarter is successfully completed, then the candidate would be offered the opportunity to repeat student teaching starting on a Plan of Improvement.

     Practicums (ELEM 494, ELEM 495, EDU 572, EDU 573, EFC 330)

    1. Candidates who are not demonstrating adequate performance and leave practicums through voluntary or involuntary termination will be referred to the Candidate Review Committee (CRC) to determine if they can retake the practicum and continue in the Teacher Certification Program.
    2. Second chance field experiences for practicums will not be offered when:
      1. The candidate does not acknowledge, understand, or address the problem(s) when identified.
      2. The problem is not merely a skill deficit that can be rectified by academic or didactic training.
      3. The problem is not restricted to one area of academic/professional functioning.
      4. The candidate’s behavior does not change as a function of feedback, remedial efforts, and/or time.
      5. The problematic behavior has ethical or legal ramifications for the program and department, such as safety concerns.
    3. In situations when the CRC recommends targeted remediation, the candidate would be offered the opportunity to complete an additional quarter of individually mentored experience on a Plan of Improvement. If that quarter is successfully completed, then the candidate would be able to repeat student teaching starting on a Plan of Improvement.

     Additional Second Chance Field Experience Policies/Procedures

    1. If it is determined by the CRC that the candidate will be offered a second chance field experience, they will be required to reapply for that field experience by the deadlines established for the quarter in which that additional experience is sought.
    2. A second chance placement will not occur within the same quarter or the quarter immediately following the first field experience attempt in order to provide time for a new field placement to be sought and for any recommended remedial work to be carried out.
    3. When the Office of Field Experiences seeks a placement for a student on a Plan of Improvement, the new placement personnel (mentor teacher and district administration) must be informed of the Plan of Improvement.
    4. Significant effort will be made to find a Second Chance Field Experience placement for a candidate who is on a Plan of Improvement, but a placement cannot be guaranteed. The second chance placement may not be geographically convenient.
    5. If, after two quarters, the Office of Field Experiences is unable to secure a second placement for a candidate on a Plan of Improvement, the placement request will be cancelled, and the candidate will be referred to the appropriate department chair or program lead to discuss non-certificated options for degree completion.
    6. If the candidate does not successfully receive a satisfactory (S) grade in their field experience course on the second attempt, a third attempt will not be provided, and the candidate will be removed from their program. A referral will be made to the appropriate chair or program lead to discuss non-certificated options for degree completion.
  • Field Experience/Clinical Hour Requirements

    CWU teacher candidates in programs that lead to initial certification with Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction are required to log a minimum of 450 hours (650 hours for Alternative Route candidates) across all approved field experience courses (WAC 181-78A-236). Students may log any hours spent planning, assessing, and instructing as part of the teacher role in their mentor teacher’s classroom or at home.

    Additional activities outside the school day considered part of the teacher role, include active participation in staff meetings, IEP meetings, parent teacher conferences, and performances associated with the mentor teacher’s contract, may be logged for certification.

    Non instructional activities outside of the school day, such as extracurricular clubs, attending or coaching sporting events, or assisting with study halls, will not count as hours toward certification as they are not activities associated with the role of a typical teacher contract.

    Students will use the Field Experience Log in MyCWU to log hours in courses. Instructions can be found on the Office of Field Experiences website.

  • Commencement Policy

    Fall student teachers may participate in the previous academic year’s spring commencement without any academic regalia they might earn. This is a Registrar policy. Candidates should work to time their program so that they complete Student Teaching in a quarter that is advantageous to participation. If a candidate could finish in the fall but does not want to wait until the following spring to participate in commencement, they should rearrange their completion quarter to better accommodate their wishes.

  • Intern Substitute Certificate

    The Intern Substitute certificate enables a teacher candidate to substitute, only in the classroom to which the student is assigned for EFC 480 or EDU 574, in the absence of the mentor teacher. CWU supports that teacher candidates may be issued an Intern Substitute Certificate after consultation and approval from their assigned Field Supervisor, mentor teacher, and the support of the host School District.

    The ability for EFC 480 Student Teachers to be recommended for the Intern Substitute Certificate is contingent on two successful observations by the assigned Field Supervisor, and the support of the Mentor Teacher, Field Supervisor and School District in obtaining this certificate. The ability for MAT candidates to be recommended for an Intern Substitute Certificate starting in EDU 574 is contingent on successful completion of EDU 573, and the support of the Field Supervisor, Mentor Teacher, and School District in obtaining this certificate; or Director’s approval.

CWU News

Spring edition of Crimson & Black magazine is now available

June 17, 2024

by

Ellensburg newspaper highlights first-gen College of Business graduate

June 17, 2024

by

More News