The Field Placement Office assists educator candidates in identifying and securing pre-practicum experiences and practicum placements in order to complete their educational licensure program. We build and maintain partnerships with schools and educators to enable you to gain valuable classroom experience in preparation for your future profession.
If you are in a Master of Education program leading to Initial licensure, you must complete two components of student teaching: pre-practicum, consisting of 100 hours of classroom experience; and practicum, a full-time, full semester teaching experience that takes place at the end of your program of study. If you are a Reading Specialist or Instructional Technology Specialist candidate (second Initial license), you will complete only a 150-hour practicum.
In addition to successfully completing your practicum and program, you will also be assessed for teaching readiness in relation to the Professional Standards for Teachers through the Candidate Assessment of Performance (CAP). CAP is the culminating assessment required for program completion in the Commonwealth, creating an intentional bridge from training to practice by aligning expectations with the Massachusetts Educator Evaluation Framework. Please visit the Candidate Assessment of Performance page.
What You Need to Know
Planning for Your Pre-Practicum
In your initial licensure program, you’ll participate in a 100-hour pre-practicum field experience to become familiar with the classroom environment. Observing and participating in the classroom will give you exposure to the routines, curriculum, and activities that are part of the school day. It also prepares you for your practicum. It is a requirement that, along with several others, must be fulfilled before you begin your student teaching practicum at the end of the program.
The Field Placement office will work with you to find a placement in an urban or suburban Massachusetts school. You can use the Pre-Practicum Application to begin the process, which you should start the semester before you intend to complete your pre-practicum hours. Please note you cannot complete this experience as the same time as your practicum.
You will be required to attend a pre-practicum orientation at the beginning of your pre-practicum semester. Pre-practicum is supported by a non-credit workshop that will be held remotely throughout the semester. Materials will be available through the workshop on MyLesley, and you will be asked to submit completed documents via LiveText at the end of the semester.
Pre-Practicum Application Deadlines
Fall: April 1
Spring: November 1
The pre-practicum experience requires completion of the following documentation: Gateway Assessments Rubrics; Pre-Practicum Self-Assessment; Final Assessment.
Your program supervisor and supervising practitioner will complete the gateway assessment rubrics, which will then be automatically submitted to the Field Placement office.
Gateway Observation Rubric
Gateway Assessment Rubric on Qualtrics
You will be responsible for uploading all other completed documents to your LiveText pre-practicum workshop. Below are the links to the pre-practicum paperwork. You can download each form and put into your own google folder to share with your program supervisors and supervising practitioner.
Prior to beginning your pre-practicum experience, you should develop an established weekly schedule with support from your supervising practitioner. The experience consists of 100 total hours over the entire 14 week semester, with an average of 7-8 hours a week (we suggest a full day or two half days), supported by a pre-practicum workshop. You should remain in one classroom and work with the same supervising practitioner throughout. See the Pre-Practicum Semester Timeline for more details.
Handbooks and Forms
Planning for Your Practicum
All placements must be approved by the Field Placement Office. Contact us to begin planning your practicum the semester prior to your practicum to ensure a suitable placement.
1. Meet with your academic advisor to discuss your readiness for your intended practicum semester. You'll need to meet the following to be eligible for the practicum:
- Complete all required prerequisite coursework for their program
- Complete Communication and Literacy MTELs according to MTEL policy (below)
- Complete and document your pre-practicum experience
- Hold a GPA of 3.0 or higher
- Have no incomplete or failing grades
2. Attend an information session the semester prior to your intended practicum. We hold mandatory virtual practicum planning sessions at the beginning of each semester. Please contact us if you are not able to attend. You must also attend a mandatory virtual orientation, which will be held during the first week of the semester. We will inform you of the dates prior to the semester start.
3. Complete the practicum application: your completed application is the first indicator to our office that you intend to complete a practicum, and will officially begin the placement process.
Practicum Application Deadlines
You must apply for your practicum by these deadlines even if you are still in your pre-practicum experience.
Fall: April 1
Spring: November 1
MTEL Score Deadlines
Fall: August 1
Spring: December 20
4. Submit the remaining documentation directly to your field placement administrator for approval:
- MTEL scores
- MTEL waiver form (see MTEL policy below)
- Current resume
- Pre-practicum experience documentation
- Supervising practitioner paperwork
- Copy of supervising practitioner's license (screenshot of ELAR profile is acceptable)
5. Register for your practicum. Once your practicum documents are reviewed and approved, your field placement administrator will notify you and give you instructions on registering for the practicum and seminar course.
Handbooks and Forms
Planning for Your Reading Specialist or Instructional Technology Specialist Practicum
As a candidate in either the Specialist Teacher of Reading or Instructional Technology Specialist program, you'll complete a 150-hour practicum experience that focuses on the various aspects of the role of the reading or technology specialist in today’s school setting. (You are not required to complete a pre-practicum experience.) If needed, the faculty and staff of the program will assist you in identifying and securing practicum placements with an appropriate supervising practitioner. All practicum placements must be approved by the Field Placement office.
1. Meet with your assistant director for field placement (Erin Fitzgerald, email@example.com) one semester before you plan to complete your practicum.
2. Check in with your academic advisor to ensure all prerequisite coursework has been met and that transcript is in good standing (i.e. no failing or incomplete grades)
3. Fill out the practicum application.
Deadline for spring: November 1
Deadline for fall: April 1
4. Verify that your MEPID number has been entered into LOIS. This identifies you as a licensure candidate at Lesley, and is the only way we will communicate with the state when endorsing your transcript for licensure.
5. Submit copies of the following to Erin Fitzgerald (via the online application)
- Your valid initial license or ELAR screenshot
- Proof you have passed the Communication and Literacy MTELs
- Proof you have at least taken the Reading Specialist MTEL (reading specialist candidates only)
- Out of state license holders: Submit proof that you have successfully passed all the MTELs required to transfer your license into Massachusetts.
6. If you work in a setting with a supervising practitioner approved by Lesley University, submit the following to Erin Fitzgerald:
- Supervising Practitioner Paperwork and Supervisor Agreement
- Your supervising practitioner’s valid license or ELAR screenshot
- Your supervising practitioner’s resume
7. If you have not yet passed your Reading Specialist MTEL, fill out the MTEL Exception Form.
Once all items are checked off, the Field Placement Office will give you permission to register for the practicum and provide instructions on how to officially sign up for the practicum/seminar.
Specialist Teacher of Reading Practicum Handbook
Instructional Technology Specialist Practicum Handbook
Preparing Practicum Placement Questions
Modified Candidate Assessment of Performance (CAP) Form
Can I Use My Current Job?
Lesley University does make allowances for students to do their field placement experiences at their place of employment if that place of employment is deemed appropriate by DESE licensure and program specific standards.
If you wish to use a paid teaching job as a field placement site, you must have it approved by the Field Placement Office and be actively working in the role by November 1 for a spring practicum or April 1 for a fall practicum. If you are not working in the role by those dates, you may request that the office help you search for an unpaid student teaching placement, or you should plan to postpone your practicum by an entire semester until you’re able to secure a paying job. The office reserves the right to approve or deny sites on a case-by-case basis. All jobs/field placement sites must be approved by the office and meet all the following requirements:
- Have I been actively working in the job I would like to use as my field placement site since November 1 (for spring applicants) or April 1 (for fall applicants)?
- Does my school use the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and a *fully inclusive classroom model? (*exception substantially separate special education classroom)
- In my position, do I work full time (6 hours a day) in classroom(s) that match my content/licensure area?
- In my role, can I complete all 400 practicum hours in the 14-week semester?
- Cumulatively over the course of the semester, can I get a minimum of 100 hours of lead teaching time, which includes 1-2 take-over weeks where I have full responsibility for the classroom?
- In my role, do I provide direct classroom instruction to students the majority of the time? (as opposed to “teaching other teachers” in roles like coaching, administration or teacher preparation/professional development roles)
- In my role, do I provide “whole class” instruction, considered 10 or more children? (exception for Severe Disabilities and some substantially separate classrooms)
- Will I work with the same class(es) or student case load for the entire time of the practicum?
- Have I approved my practicum with my district’s HR department, superintendent, and principal?
Supervising Practitioner/Mentor Teacher Requirements
- Does my supervising practitioner (mentor teacher) meet the requirements to be eligible to take on the role of Supervising Practitioner?
- Holds a license and works in the same content area to the license you are seeking.
- Holds that matching license at the Professional Level or the Initial Level with at least 3 years of experience teaching on that initial license, and has received a summative evaluation rating of proficient or higher on their last evaluation.
- Is on site and available to meet with and provide the student teacher frequent feedback.
- Has been approved by district standards as eligible to act as a Supervising Practitioner to a graduate level practicum student.
Massachusetts Practicum Requirements by Program Area
Moderate Disabilities PreK-8 or 5-12
Observe and participate in an inclusive classroom setting (with at least 5 students on IEPs) during the practicum.
75 hours minimum for PreK-8; 150 hours minimum for 5-1275 hours minimum for Severe; split placement: 200 hours each in two of the three major grade levels (i.e. Prek-6, 5-8, 9-12)
Early Childhood PreK-2 Split placement: minimum 100 hours at the PK or K grade level; minimum of 200 hours in first or second grade level, totaling 400 hours Middle School 5-8
High School 8-12
A minimum of 80% of the total (400) practicum hours must be spent teaching in the specific content area classroom matching the license being sought.
Please Note: These requirements are subject to change according to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) practicum requirements for initial licensure.
Students enrolled in a teacher residency program still need to complete field placement requirements by particular deadlines in order to be approved for their practicums. It is your responsibility to ensure the submission of your field placement materials and your readiness for registering for their practicum seminar course. You will not be able to register for the practicum seminar until approved by the Field Placement office.
Field Placement Teacher Residency Checklist
Pre-practicum documentation: due by the end of the Fall semester or uploaded to the practicum application
To submit, upload the documents in the pre-practicum workshop via LiveText, email it directly to the Field Placement Office, or upload the documents to your practicum application.
Practicum Application: Due by November 1
MTEL Exception Form: Due by January 4
Complete this form if you are moving into your practicum without having completed your MTELs. You can update as you move toward completing your exams.
Supervising Practitioner Paperwork: Due by January 4
This paperwork is a two-step process: you, the candidate, will start it and your supervising practitioner will complete it.
- You will still need to submit a Practicum Application even though you may not have your placement (the classroom you may be in) confirmed for the spring.
- You will be notified by the Field Placement office once you have been cleared to register for the seminar course. This won’t be until late December or early January, pending posting of grades for the fall semester. You will need to register on your own through Self-Serve, and will be given instructions on that process at that time.
- We will be holding a separate practicum orientation for you to to review the documents, Candidate Assessment of Performance, and the expectations of your experience. This will be held in early January. More information and meeting link will be sent in the coming weeks. Please visit the Candidate Assessment of Performance page for more information.
Please refer to these documents for the practicum preparation process:
Alternative to a Semester-Based Practicum
If you'd like to consider an alternative to a traditional fall or spring practicum semester, we have the year-long internship, which is accompanied by a Lesley-based seminar. You must have met all practicum prerequisites prior to entering your practicum semester. This experience is for Early Childhood and Elementary licensure candidates.
Year-Long Paid Internship
Spend a full academic year working as an intern in a public school, completing all required field experiences while earning a stipend and gaining valuable learning experience. You will have an official practicum semester and will take a accompanying seminar.
Interns begin working in their schools before the children arrive in September, and remain until the last day in June, working collaboratively with highly skilled mentor teachers. You'll complete your pre-practicum in the fall and your practicum in the spring semester. Though the Field Placement Office tries to ensure that all student and school needs are met, we cannot guarantee a school will be able to accommodate every student situation. Please contact our office if you are interested in an internship position.
Graduate School of Education MTEL Policy for Initial Licensure Programs
The Graduate School of Education supports teacher candidates to plan their MTEL exams and successfully pass the exams prior to their final practicum. Teacher candidates should work closely with their academic advisor to identify the best time to take their exams and to identify any additional supports needed for successfully completing the exams. We recommend that all candidates start taking MTELs early in their program.
As of Fall 2022, teacher candidates who have not passed all required MTELs by the Field Placement Office deadlines (August 1 for fall practicum and December 20 for spring practicum) may be eligible to waive some MTEL requirements and proceed with practicum. To register for the practicum seminar, candidates must first meet the following requirements regarding MTELs:
- Pass the Communications & Literacy Reading and Writing MTELs by the Field Placement Office deadlines: (August 1 for fall practicum and December 20 for spring practicum)
- Have taken, but not necessarily passed, all required MTELs for their licensure
- If all MTELs are not passed, complete the MTEL Waiver Form and submit an updated MTEL score report to the Field Placement office.
Waiver considerations include academic progress, number of tests requirements remaining, performance on previous attempts, as well as plans to complete remaining MTEL requirements. The Field Placement office with review waiver requests in consultation with program directors.
Please Note: Candidates will not be eligible for Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education licensure until all MTEL requirements are completed for their licensure area. Please visit General Information: Subject Matter Test Requirements - Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL)
School District Requirements
School districts have a variety of requirements for student teachers, which may include immunization records and criminal background checks (CORIs) and fingerprinting. Please inquire about these when you meet with the teacher or principal, and find out where requested information should be sent.