Elementary and secondary Licensure Program

The Arbor Center for Teaching, in collaboration with Pacific University, offers a full-time, two-year Teacher Residency guided by experienced mentor teachers to complement formal graduate study of educational ideas and practice. This program results in a Master of Arts in Teacher (MAT) degree and Oregon teacher licensure.

Whitman College alumna and teacher residency graduate Elizabeth Thompson. Elizabeth explains that she was drawn to the ACT for her Master’s in Teaching and Oregon teacher license because the residency approach meant that she could be a teacher from the outset of her two years of graduate study.

Teacher Residents spend forty-hour weeks learning the art of teaching. For two years, they remain with the same master teachers and their mixed-age classes, deepening their ties to students, parents, and colleagues and thereby understanding that quintessential element of good teaching: relationship. They are considered members of the faculty at Arbor School (their practicum site) and participate fully in all aspects of school life. In turn, they bring ideas and fresh energy to their classrooms and to the community at large.

During their first year, Teacher Residents take increasing responsibility for planning, instructing, and assessing children's progress in their classrooms. By the spring of this first year, Teacher Residents are developing, implementing, and assessing lesson arcs in mathematics, literacy, and science.

Teacher Residents’ second year takes a somewhat different shape. During the fall and winter terms, they leave Arbor one day each week to teach in public school settings, and then complete a month-long public school practicum over the winter. This opportunity to teach in another school context broadens teaching practices and encourages collaboration among teachers across school settings. Teacher Residents return to Arbor for the spring term, "solo" teaching within their original classroom placements.

Throughout each school year and during summer term, Teacher Residents attend Pacific University courses delivered at Arbor School and at Pacific University's Forest Grove campus. This coursework spans requirements established by the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) and Pacific, focusing on such areas as child development, assessment, social justice, methodology (including ESOL), and educational philosophy. Strong emphasis on literacy and reading underpins their preparation for work with young children from many backgrounds and cultures.

This combination of extensive classroom experience and coursework anticipating the growing multilingual and multicultural demands of school settings throughout Oregon mirrors current thinking about the best practices for teacher education. Graduates of the ACT/Pacific program leave their training well prepared to consider the needs of individual children within a variety of school contexts. After completing the MAT and finding a teaching position, graduates continue to receive ACT mentorship and coaching throughout their first year of teaching.