Field Placement: Observations


Students in teacher preparation programs will find important information on this page related to the completion of classroom observations. The Pennsylvania Department of Education refers to the observation stage in teacher preparation as stages 1 and 2.  These stages precede stage 3 (Practicum) and stage 4 (Student Teaching).


The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s School Code requires that students in teacher preparation programs have current background checks on file before entering a school building for observational or instructional purposes. Holy Family University contracts with American DataBank for the collection, review, and maintenance of student clearances. Students completing school-site observations as partial fulfillment of course requirements must first register their clearances with American DataBank.  When submitting reports of completed observations to course instructors, students must attach their compliance report from American DataBank to their submission. A compliance report is forwarded to students automatically once their clearance file has been opened and approved.

Teacher candidates should be aware of the following as they advance through their program of studies.

  • At the time a candidate applies for admission to the School of Education, the candidate must have his or her clearances registered with American DataBank and each clearance must be current within one calendar year of the date of application.
  • At the time a candidate begins either Practicum or Student Teaching, the candidate must have his or her clearances registered with American DataBank and each clearance must be current within one calendar year of the start of each experience.

Links for Clearances and DataBank

Professional Conduct

Holy Family University students are expected to conduct themselves in a proper and professional manner whenever visiting a school site or interacting with school personnel, students, family members and community members. Failure to meet this requirement will subject the student to University intervention up to and including the possibility of removal from the teacher preparation program. For more information on Commonwealth requirements, click below.

Code of Professional Practice and Conduct for Educators

Program Outcomes & Field Experience Competencies

School of Education (SOE) programs have specific learning outcomes embedded in their coursework. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has published competencies that are designed to inform the development of teacher preparation programs and guide the evaluation of students engaged in clinical experiences in the field. The competencies are organized under seven headings that parallel and extend the domains in Charlotte Danielson's framework for enhancing professional practice. Click below to view the SOE program outcomes and the PDE field experience competencies.

School of Education Program Outcomes
PDE Field Experience Competencies for Observations

Letter of Introduction

The below link is a sample letter of introduction that instructors can use to assist their students in securing observation placements. Students should discuss entry strategies with their classroom instructor before using this sample letter.

Letter of Introduction for Classroom Observation

Documentation of Hours

The below link is a sample document that can be used to record hours of observation in the field. Students should discuss the use of this form with their classroom instructor before adoption.

Record of Classroom Observation Hours