The Montclair State University Network for Educational Renewal (MSUNER)is a school-university partnership dedicated to the simultaneous renewal of schools and teacher education through collaboration among Montclair State University and its partner school districts. In partner districts, teachers and administrators gain the opportunity to work with Montclair State University faculty at school sites and at the University. It is a model of partnership that effectively links all aspects of teacher preparation and development resulting in a continuous cycle of school, university, and teacher renewal.
What Does It Mean to Be a Member of the MSUNER?
When a district joins the MSUNER, and pays membership dues, it makes a commitment to work toward achieving the mission and goals of the Network. This also means accepting (and giving priority to) Montclair State University pre-service teachers for field placements and student teaching, and working with colleagues from Montclair State University and other member districts to effect change and renewal in schools and in teacher education. (See the New District Process.doc for more information on the protocol for membership.)
What Does Membership in the MSUNER Mean for Teachers?
Teachers in partner districts can apply to the University for appointment as Clinical Faculty members. We seek experienced, highly effective teachers who see themselves as learners as well as teachers, who are eager to serve as role models and mentors for teacher education students, and who value culturally responsive teaching and teaching for critical thinking as central to their work with students.
Once appointed, Clinical Faculty members may serve as cooperating teachers, on-site education mentors, co-facilitators of mini-courses, co-teachers of student teaching seminars, and adjunct faculty for other courses at the University. They may also apply for a Campus-Wide ID AND Net ID, which grants them campus privileges including general parking and a Montclair State University ID card that allows access to Sprague Library and the ADP Center for Teacher Preparation and Learning Technologies.
Each partner district appoints a district coordinator (usually a teacher) who receives an honorarium from the Network to serve as a liaison between the district and the Network. The district coordinator also represents the district on an Operations Committee that helps plan Network events. The policy-making body of the Network is the Executive Committee which consists of central office representatives from each district, representatives from the University, and the Network director.
How Does the Network Contribute to School Renewal?
The MSUNER is a registered provider for the New Jersey 100 hour requirement and it offers an extensive array of professional development opportunities for Clinical Faculty. These include two semesters per year of after-school mini-courses, a Conference/Summer Institute at the end of June, a Leadership Associates Program during the summer, and funding for Teacher Study Groups and Teacher Incentive Grants in each member district. In addition, other grant funded professional development programs, such as Action Research Teams and Teachers as Scholars, are available.
All Clinical Faculty members must take three required mini-courses on Coaching and Mentoring, Teaching for Critical Thinking, and Culturally Responsive Teaching. For many Clinical Faculty members, the opportunity to meet, work, and study with colleagues from other districts who share their professionalism and commitment is a major benefit of membership in the MSUNER.
Each member district is entitled to ten (10) hours of Montclair State University faculty consultation. Many districts use this benefit to offer professional development workshops in the schools. Another benefit of MSUNER membership is the opportunity for teachers, administrators, and supervisors to network with other educators who are working toward renewal, by sharing ideas and expertise.
Finally, because the MSUNER is a member of the foremost national school and teacher educational renewal organization, the National Network for Educational Renewal, MSUNER partners have the opportunity to participate in national conferences and forums devoted to school and teacher education renewal.
How Do Member Districts and Clinical Faculty Contribute to Teacher Education Renewal?
The importance of field-based teacher education is of critical importance to the overall quality and success of teacher education. Our expectation is that all students will have their student teaching experiences in Network schools with Clinical Faculty members. This means our student teachers can learn from experienced, highly effective teachers who understand and exemplify teaching for critical thinking. This also enables us to place our student teachers in schools where teachers collaborate with one another, take reflection seriously, understand the moral dimensions of teaching, and see themselves as learners as well as teachers.
We promote a co-teaching model for the student teaching experience. This allows the cooperating and student teacher to share the classroom responsibilities and give more individual attention to the students.
In addition, Clinical Faculty from member schools serve on committees and task forces at the University, thus adding their valuable input into the renewal and development of the teacher education program at Montclair State.
Membership Responsibilities for Member Districts
1. Agree to actively participate in the MSUNER for a minimum period of two years by formal ratification of the district Board of Education or the Superintendent.
2. Provide active representation to the MSUNER Executive and Operations Committees.
3. Select a District Coordinator.
4. Demonstrate commitment to the mission of the Network.
5. Agree to give priority to students from Montclair State University for placement in clinical assignments.
6. Contribute annual dues as specified by the MSUNER Executive Committee.
7. Agree to implement the established criteria and procedures for the selection and retention of Clinical Faculty.
8. Agree to promote, support, and acknowledge the participation and leadership activities of Clinical Faculty in MSUNER activities including those related to professional development and teacher education.
9. Participate in dissemination and evaluation activities of the MSUNER.
Membership Responsibilities for Montclair State University
1. Provides director for the MSUNER.
2. Provides office space, clerical support, and mail, telephone, and electronic communication service for the MSUNER.
3. Grants appointment as Clinical Faculty to qualified personnel from member districts.
4. Provides representation on the Executive and Operations Committees.
5. Finances and manages the budget of the MSUNER.
6. Provides space and funding for MSUNER professional development programs and events.
7. Compiles a database of faculty members willing to consult in MSUNER schools at special rates.
8. Enables faculty members to do work in MSUNER schools through the Faculty Scholarship Incentive Program.
9. Facilitates grant writing and information about external funding sources for the MSUNER.