Heidelberg University’s School of Education proudly announces the receipt of professional accreditation at the undergraduate and graduate educator preparation programs from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the organization responsible for professional accreditation of teacher education. NCATE-accredited schools must meet rigorous standards set by the profession and members of the public, and this accreditation is evidence that the university’s programs have proven its commitment to preparing quality teachers.

The accreditation is based on a fall 2010 site visit, and a rigorous review of data supporting program quality and continuous improvement. NCATE requires institutions to provide evidence that prospective educators possess the requisite knowledge, skills, and dispositions to positively affect the learning and development of diverse students. The university must to have an assessment system in place in order to ensure continuous improvement, as well as evidence of appropriate field experiences, diversity, quality faculty and resources. The institution must have partnerships with P-12 schools that enable candidates to develop the skills necessary to help students learn. University faculty must model effective teaching practices, and the department must have the resources (including information technology) necessary to prepare candidates to meet the rigorous standards set forth by the professional education community.

As part of the accreditation process, the individual licensure programs were reviewed according to the standards developed by the appropriate professional education associations, providing evidence that candidates are prepared to teach in the fields in which they are licensed. The following programs at Heidelberg have fully met the professional standards and are nationally recognized: Early Childhood Education (by the National Association for the Education of Young Children), Middle Childhood Education (National Middle School Association), AYA Social Studies (National Council for the Social Studies), Multi-Age Health (American Association of Health Education).

Prior to the visit, the Heidelberg submitted a preconditions report to the NCATE office. The preconditions were to ensure that our education programs have met fundamental requirements that undergird NCATE’s standards for accreditation. The eight preconditions include information such as shared vision for a unit’s efforts in preparing teachers; the policies and procedures for the unit’s operations (including admission and retention of its candidates); and a description of the system for evaluating its operations, the quality of its offerings. This included assessment of the performance of candidates on proficiencies aligned with the expectations in professional, state, and institutional standards.

NCATE, founded in 1954, is the education profession’s mechanism to help establish high quality teacher preparation. The U. S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognize NCATE as a professional accrediting body for teacher preparation. NCATE’s performance-based system of accreditation fosters competent classroom teachers and other educators who work to improve the education of all P-12 students.