School of Education and Human Services New Collaboration with Region 4 is a Winner
University of St. Thomas-Houston’s School of Education and Human Services (SEHS) re-established its partnership with Region 4 accrediting body in October to offer a robust teacher education program and graduate programs. The SEHS was part of Region 4 for many years before moving to Texas Education Agency.
Advantages of Region 4
Collaborating with Region 4 allows SEHS to streamline its process for field-based experiences and certification, all aligned with highly stringent state parameters. Region 4 will provide the following:
- The testing approval
- Supervised field-based experiences
- Admissions for graduate programs
- Standard certification
UST will continue to offer quality coursework and degree conferrals.
“With this re-established partnership, the School of Education will continue to offer a newly aligned curriculum with the same student-centered and application-driven approach, plus a streamlined process that leads to certification through Region 4,” Dr. Ana-Lisa Gonzalez, dean of SEHS, said. “The Region 4 team has an automated system and more staff members who can offer a seamless transition to certification. This additional staffing will allow us to do what we do best – teach!”
Collaboration Opens New Certifications & a Residency Option
Gonzalez said that SEHS now has the potential to offer more certification areas than it has in the past. We have a lot of potential for new initiatives because of the partnerships Region 4 has already solidified.
“Region 4 has partnerships with several entities that allows us a further reach into additional certification areas and programs that are in high demand by school districts,” Gonzalez said. “For example, instead of the 14-week clinical teaching model that we have always followed, Region 4 will allow us to offer a residency model where students complete a residency instead of clinical teaching. The students continue taking coursework for two semesters while working part-time as residents on a school campus for compensation while attaining the clock hours necessary for standard certification.”
SEHS Degree Programs Making the Transition to Region 4
“Our undergraduate teacher education degrees were continuously offered during this transition,” Gonzalez said. “We welcomed a new group of students in fall 2022. This spring, we will phase in the M.Ed degrees in Education Leadership and School Counseling. Our Ed.D program also operated continuously throughout the process.
“Region 4 does not offer an education diagnostician degree pathway, so we are working with them to apply as a certification provider for this degree. We will deliver the degree and courses if approved. It is a true collaboration,” she said.
“SEHS is committed to strictly adhering to Texas Administrative Code (TAC) policy. To that end, we did a curriculum crosswalk with their team and found that our programs align with their programs and TEA standards.”
Student Success in Transitioning
“In addition, SEHS transferred most existing students over to Region 4 per its agreed order, while working closely with students to ensure they are transitioning well,” Gonzalez said. “All new students will have an advisor to walk them through the entire process, including an introduction to the Region 4 staff who will work with them on their behalf.”
Developing New Pipelines for College Graduates to Become Teachers
Finally, Gonzalez says, “We are exploring ways to develop pipelines that include discounts for our students to enter Region 4’s Alternative Certification Programs upon graduation with a non-teaching degree. We are also discussing incentives to encourage UST graduates who graduate with a non-education degree to become teachers.”