Fall 2012 Student Letter

August 17, 2012

Dear Education Students,

Welcome back to a new academic year! 

The purpose of this letter is to share with you some important information and about the Education Department’s procedures. Please read the letter carefully and make note of those that pertain to you this year.

Departmental Fees

The department requires two professional fees annually for all sophomores, juniors, and seniors, as well as any freshmen students engaged in field work. 

1. Professional Liability Insurance through ISTA MembershipThe ISTA (Indiana State Teachers Association) membership fee includes Professional Liability Insurance through the NEA (National Education Association), a necessity in today’s world. This is done on-line annually through the service engaged by the education department.  Freshman taking ED 203 and M.Ed. Initial Licensure students need to pick up forms in the Department of Education Office in Miller Hall. New this year!  We are switching to on-line registration. All you need to do is to log on to their web site and follow the instructions printed on the blue sheet enclosed with this letter. You will need to pay for the ISTA/NEA Membership with a credit card $29.00. Remember to bring your letter from NEA to Mrs. Angela Coleman by Aug. 30 at 2:00 pm.

2. Criminal Background CheckThis fee is used to conduct a Criminal Background Check on all education students who are doing field work in area K-12 schools. You will not be permitted to work in K-12 schools unless you can demonstrate a clear background check. All Education students pay for this annual check with a credit card through the service engaged by the department (see below for details).

Complete the ISTA Membership form and Criminal Background Check online today and bring them to the Education Office in Miller Hall. All forms must be in by August 30 at 2:00 pm.   You will not be cleared for field work until at least 48 hours after you submit the forms.

Criminal Background Check

Our school partners are increasingly requiring a more complete criminal background check of all their employees and volunteers, so we now have to require you to do the same. Because of the national scope of the background checks that are now required by our school partners, the cost to you is $40 for the first report and $24.50 thereafter.   We will continue to use a new service that performs national background checks, CertifiedBackground.com. All you need to do is to log on to their web site and follow the instructions printed on the yellow sheet enclosed with this letter. You will need to pay for the Criminal Background Check with a credit card. Remember to bring your Report from CertifiedBackground to Mrs. Angela Coleman by Aug. 30 at 2:00 pm.

Freshmen taking ED 203

If you are taking ED 203 as a freshman, stop by the Department of Education Office in Miller Hall to pick up your ISTA Membership and Criminal Background Check information sheet.

Checkpoint Due Dates

Applications for all Checkpoints are supported through the Seminars (ED 350 for Checkpoint 1, ED 450 for Checkpoint 2, and ED 451 for Checkpoint 3). Make sure you are registered for the Seminar in each Block of Education courses you take. Your Department calendar will inform you of the Checkpoint Due Dates - mark the relevant dates on your personal calendar and be sure to have your application completed and turned in on time. Failure to meet the Checkpoint due dates and/or the standards of each Checkpoint may delay your registration for the following semester and/or postpone your student teaching by a semester.

Important Checkpoint 1 Requirement – the PPST (Pre-Professional Skills Test)

Passing scores on all sections of the PPST must be produced by students along with the Checkpoint 1 application. We encourage you to take the PPST during the spring semester of your freshman year.  As of May 1, 2011 the following additional assessments/routes are acceptable to document basic skills competency at the time of admission to a teacher preparation program.  

Praxis 1 Alternatives:

ACT with a score of at least 24 based on Math, Reading, Grammar, and Science. 

SAT with a score of at least 1100 based on Critical Reading and Math 

GRE with a score of at least 1100 based on Verbal and Quantitative 

Anyone with a Master’s Degree from a regionally accredited institution is exempt 

Praxis 1 composite score of 527 based on Reading, Writing and Math


Checkpoint 2 as Requirement for Student Teaching 

No student may do student teaching unless he/she has passed Checkpoint 2. Having a placement for student teaching does not supersede the Checkpoint 2 requirement as the Placement Office needs to work 6-12 months ahead to ensure appropriate placements are secured for students who later qualify for student teaching.

Meeting Professional Standards through the Checkpoint System

Teaching is a profession, just like nursing, medicine, and law, and professions have commonly accepted standards of performance to which its members are held. In the teacher pre-professional program you are enrolled in at VU, the faculty evaluates your performance at three Checkpoints on a variety of measures – GPA, dispositions, teaching performance, etc. 

As we continue to adjust our program’s requirements to meet the standards of the teaching profession, we have established a clear set of standards and a process to determine if all teacher education students are meeting those standards. We will therefore be more strictly evaluating all students according to the criteria for each checkpoint (see the VU catalogs or the department web site for specific information); if you do not meet the full set of standards, you will not be allowed to proceed to the next Block of courses until you do. The policy for these decisions is included with this mailing. If you have any questions, please see your advisor.

Required Education Classes

All required Education classes (those with an ED prefix in the VU Undergraduate Course Catalog) must be completed prior to the student teaching semester with the exception of ED 485 – Senior Seminar which is taken during the student teaching semester.

CPR First Aid with AED Training is Required for Indiana Licensure 

As of July 2007 Indiana licensure rules require all applicants for new licenses to show current, valid certification in CPR First Aid with AED training. If you are planning to graduate this academic year and apply for licensure, be sure to complete this new state requirement before you finish classes. Information on courses offered in the Valparaiso area is available on posters in Meier Hall and from Mrs. Angela Coleman in the Placement Office.

A Reminder about Finishing in Four Years

While it is common and possible for VU undergraduate students to complete their degree, education, and licensing requirements within four years, students must plan ahead and continually meet performance standards (GPAs, grades, tests, checkpoint requirements, etc. as outlined in the VU Undergraduate Course Catalog) to achieve the goal of graduating within this time frame.


New Indiana Licensure Rules 

Indiana recently adopted new licensure rules that go into effect on August 1, 2013. If you are a sophomore, junior or senior student and you do not finish your program by this date, you will be required to meet the new licensure standards, which will likely require you to take additional coursework. 

Weekly Emails and Department Website

The Department of Education sends students a weekly email during the academic year. Please be sure to open the email each week and read all the announcements carefully – you are responsible for the information the department sends out through its web site and the weekly emails.. 

Check out and bookmark the Department’s web site: www.valpo.edu/education  with all the official, up-to-date lists of program requirements and lots of other helpful information for current and prospective students.

If you have any questions about your program, please see your adviser. We are all looking forward to working with you this year as you develop your professional knowledge and skills in teaching and learning.


Department of Education
Valparaiso University
Meier Hall
1800 Chapel Drive
Valparaiso, IN  46383