The teacher-education program at Hope College continues to hold national accreditation, receiving the designation for the next seven years, the maximum possible, from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Announced earlier this month and continuing through 2026, the newest recognition seamlessly succeeds the program’s previous accreditation, which was by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC).  CAEP was created through the consolidation of TEAC and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and is now the sole nationally recognized accrediting body for educator preparation in the country.

Founded in 1866, Hope has been training future teachers for more than 150 years.  The college’s Department of Education prepares teacher candidates to teach in all types of schools, including private, public and charter schools, and has consistently been among the top programs in the state’s Educator Preparation Institution Performance Scores reports (ranked first in the most recent, 2018, report among colleges and universities that offer full programming—elementary, secondary and special education).  The department has nine full-time faculty, all of whom have prior experience as K-12 educators, and annually enrolls approximately 300 students.

The program was one of 59 nationally to earn accreditation from CAEP this fall.  Fully operational since 2013, CAEP has accredited a total of 281 programs from 44 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

“These providers meet high standards so that their students receive an education that prepares them to succeed in a diverse range of classrooms after they graduate,” CAEP’s president, Dr. Christopher A. Koch, said in the announcement that CAEP made on Nov. 20 about this year’s additions.  “Seeking CAEP Accreditation is a significant commitment on the part of an educator preparation provider.”

CAEP bases accreditation on two principles:  solid evidence that the teacher-education program’s graduates are competent and caring educators, and solid evidence that the college’s or university’s educator staff have the capacity to create a culture of evidence and use it to maintain and enhance the quality of the professional programs they offer.  CAEP evaluates programs based on five standards:  content and pedagogical knowledge; clinical partnerships and practice; candidate quality, recruitment and selectivity; program impact; and provider quality assurance and continuous improvement.

In addition to preparing students for teaching certificates for K-6-level schools, or for middle and high schools, Hope’s teacher-education program includes a Spanish K-12 major; special-education majors in the area of K-12 emotional impairments and K-12 learning disabilities; a K-12 endorsement to teach dance, music, kinesiology/physical education or visual arts; and a K-12 endorsement in teaching English as a second language.  Teacher candidates can also concentrate on early-childhood education.

The program provides prospective teachers with a blend of classroom instruction and field experience. Teacher candidates participate in field placements beginning with their first course in the program, Educational Psychology.  The model continues through each teacher candidate’s culminating semester of student teaching. The student-teaching placements are available not only locally but also through off-campus programs including in Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia and the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota.  An on-going relationship with Interaction International has also provided student-teaching opportunities abroad.

Student-led chapters of two national professional organizations, the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), offer professional development and service opportunities for teacher-education candidates. Teacher candidates also have the chance to gain additional experience through activities by volunteering with local organizations that work with children, such as the Children’s After School Achievement (CASA), Step Up, Upward Bound and PATH (Program for the Academically Talented at Hope) programs based at the college.

Graduates of Hope’s education program teach in public and private K-12 schools around the country, and abroad. Hope education alumni also serve as Peace Corps volunteers, counselors in elementary and secondary schools, curriculum coordinators and supervisors, school administrators and college professors.