National Association of Professors of Middle Level Education


The University of Vermont's Middle Level Teacher Education Program

The University of Vermont Middle Level Teacher Education Program is predicated on the belief that teacher educators have a particular responsibility to model best practice in teaching. As we prepare teacher candidates to work with young adolescents, we are attentive to a number of issues, including a) common planning as a small faculty team; b) delivering the program through interdisciplinary and collaborative means; c) illustrating the power of flexible block scheduling; and d) building a sense of community, identity and pride in the team. Because we believe teacher candidates must be exposed early and often to the real work of teachers, students and schools, the program requires four field placements for undergraduates and a year-long internship for graduate students. Students then see professional dispositions modeled and have ample opportunities to practice these skills in the real world of a middle school.

The program has developed a reputation for producing the highest quality middle school educators who understand the young adolescent and who create learning opportunities that allow those students to thrive. Since the program's inception ten years ago, the quality of these teacher candidates can be seen in its 95-100% placement rate for program completers who choose to pursue middle school teaching upon graduation. Particular statewide initiatives which the program leads include the Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education (, the Middle Grades Institute ( and Middle School is Not a Building (pdf).



Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University (ASU) was the first institution of higher education in North Carolina and one of the first in the nation to offer specialized professional preparation for middle grades teachers and has a long-standing commitment to excellence in middle level teacher preparation. When middle level teacher preparation programs were created at ASU in 1975, successful candidates received degrees in Elementary Education with a specialization in Middle/Junior High School Education and licensure in grades 4-9. In 1996, ASU decided to adopt a performance-based, standards-guided teacher preparation model. All degree candidates must successfully present comprehensive graduation portfolios that exemplify their mastery of all program standards. Beginning with the 2004-2005 academic year these portfolios have been created and shared in electronic formats.

On-campus undergraduate degree candidates are organized into a cohort plan. A new cohort begins once per year at the beginning of the spring semester. Middle grades teacher candidates take 21 credit hours of courses in the middle grades major as well as 24 credit hours in each of two concentration areas (English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies). In addition to the on-campus programs, the middle grades program offers part-time evening graduate and undergraduate programs at off-campus locations. At any given time, there are three Bachelor of Science in Middle Grades Education off-campus cohorts and two or three Master of Arts in Middle Grades Education cohorts. Programs of study for the off-campus undergraduate students are the same; however, the pacing of their courses is a bit slower since.