The School of Education at Sonoma State University successfully completed its national and state accreditation review with a stellar performance that the university president described as "hitting a home run with the bases loaded." The School of Education prepares teachers and principals for the North Bay Region.
"These are a remarkable group of faculty and students," said Gerry Giordano, a professor in education management at the University of North Florida who was the head of the 13 member review panel which said the School had exceeded both state and national standards.
This includes all of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Program Standards for all of its programs and all six National Council of Accreditation for Teacher Education (NCATE) Standards.
Giordano said that the School stood out because of "the extraordinary faculty and students that it had recruited," "highly imaginative community-based programs," and a "culture in which candidates and faculty members interacted outside as well as inside university classrooms."
The team specifically commended School programs where social justice permeated every aspect of every program as evidenced by eloquent and inspiring testimonials that local teacher candidates provided.
The re-accreditation was extensive, said Carlos Ayala, interim Dean of the School of Education.
Since the fall of 2011, the expert panel had reviewed the School's website, an exhaustive repository of documentation for all of the teacher, counseling, school administrator and masters programs, sifting through evidence from the last three years of program implementation.
In order to verify the electronic reports and evidence, the expert team then visited campus. While at Sonoma State, they interviewed nearly 473 teachers, faculty, staff, students, mentor teachers, counselors, school principals, superintendents and community members; sifted through budgets, meeting minutes and assessment results; and visited Roseland Elementary School where School of Education prepared teachers, counselors and principals work.
Signficantly, the review panel did not find any "areas of concern" nor did they identify any "areas for improvement" in any of the programs and are proposing that the maximum accreditation period of seven years be awarded.
The panel specifically gave the School of Education four commendations in the following areas: teacher candidates completing programs learn to develop highly creative learning activities, learn to assess student learning, exhibit professional dispositions, and employ pedagogy aligned with state standards.
The review panel will present its findings to their respective governing boards for those boards to take final action in April for state and in October for the national review.