Assumption’s Educator Preparation Programs Granted “Approval with Distinction” by State

Mar 09, 2020

Upon completing its 2019-20 formal review of Assumption’s educator preparation programs, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has granted Assumption “Approval with Distinction.” This is the highest level of approval awarded by the Department, and Assumption is just one of three schools in Massachusetts to receive this prestigious designation.

According to DESE, this distinction signifies that Assumption “has exceeded the already high bar set for approval, demonstrating exemplary performance.”  The Department also noted that Assumption’s education programs in elementary, middle, secondary, and special education, as well as school counseling, are operating at such a high level that they can serve as a model for other institutions throughout the state and nation. DESE noted that throughout their comprehensive review process, Assumption demonstrated strength in all domains, leading to approval with distinction on the organization level. 

“We are pleased that the state of Massachusetts has recognized the high quality and value of Assumption’s education programs,” said Francesco C. Cesareo, Ph.D., president of Assumption. “We are fortunate to have an exceptional and dedicated faculty in the Education Department who work tirelessly to impart upon our students the necessary knowledge, skills, and service mindset needed for them to not only succeed in their careers, but make a difference in the lives of children in their communities.”

According to its report, DESE was particularly impressed with the organization of Assumption’s teacher education programs and its commitment to student success. The report states, “leadership, faculty and staff make intentional decisions to support candidate success in the program, is responsive to candidates’ needs and provides individualized support where needed.” 

“I am most pleased that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has acknowledged the high level of excellence in the quality and execution of our teacher education curriculum, particularly in our commitment to preparing effective pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade educators,” said Jessica de la Cruz, Ph.D., associate professor of education and chair of Assumption’s Department of Education. “We are proud of the success of our alumni and their ability to share with their students the lessons they learned from and the ideals of the Assumption mission.”

In conducting extensive onsite and offsite reviews that included collecting data from current students, graduates, and their supervisors, DESE found that Assumption’s education programs have yielded overwhelmingly positive outcomes across the board.  Ninety-six percent of current students and graduates agreed that Assumption’s programs have prepared them to be effective educators, and 94 percent of supervisors agreed that Assumption prepares its students to be effective educators. Additionally, institutional partners overwhelmingly agreed that new hires from Assumption have a positive impact on student learning, growth, and development, with 100 percent of PK-12 partners agreeing that they would hire Assumption graduates.    

Assumption offers initial licensure through baccalaureate programs in elementary, middle, and secondary education, as well as post-baccalaureate programs in special education and school counseling. Assumption’s education programs emphasize liberal arts and science study, an array of pre-professional courses, as well as guided field experience and supervised teaching practice in area schools with the goal of preparing teachers who are knowledgeable, competent, and reflective.    

This approval by DESE authorizes Assumption to endorse candidates for licensure through August 31, 2027.  The review processes is extensive and rigorous, setting a high standard for educator preparation in the state.  It is intended to ensure that preparation in Massachusetts results in effective educators who are able and ready to support the success of all students.