Amy Sara Lim remembers the first time she stepped into an OUSD classroom. Lim, who graduated from Chapman with a BA in English and a minor in Secondary Education last spring and is now a fifth-year MA in Curriculum and Instruction (MACI) graduate student, was in the first cohort to pilot a new fieldwork model with the Orange Unified School District.

As part of the immersive experience, Chapman faculty and OUSD administrators narrated the teacher’s instruction and activities, helping the teacher candidates better understand complicated but essential teaching concepts and strategies.

“It was an eye-opening trip because we had the chance to witness what was being talked about in the lectures in real life,” said Lim.

The Chapman MACI students, who are part of the Attallah College of Educational Studies’ accelerated teacher education program, earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees and qualify for credentials in both general and special education in five years. The new OUSD program includes guided observations led by an OUSD instructional coach during the students’ undergraduate years, helping them identify high-quality education practices even before beginning their yearlong teaching residency.

Kristi Dorf, an OUSD instructional coach specializing in career readiness and inclusive practices, designed the OUSD Teacher Candidate Fieldwork Model with Chapman’s MACI student in mind. She says the model was established to allow the MACI students to observe firsthand how the theories and concepts they are learning in their Chapman classes translate to a real-world classroom.

“I love this partnership we have established between Chapman and OUSD,” said Dorf. “The fieldwork experiences allow the Chapman students to ask questions, dig deeper into their understanding, and connect to what they want their future classrooms to look like. We’re exposing future teachers to current, best practices so they can support all students.”

Kimberly Cameron, a senior MACI undergraduate student, is grateful for the opportunity to explore so many learning environments as part of the second MACI cohort to participate.

“I am grateful that even during such uncertain times, we can still observe teachers through recorded lectures and discussions,” said Cameron. “I look forward to the next few years in the program, and it only makes me excited for what my future holds.”