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School of Education Undergraduate Programs

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Teacher Education | Special Education | Field Experiences | Manuals and Resources

Photo of Virginia Padia

Virginia Padilla-Vigil, Ph.D.
Interim Dean

Victoria D. de Sanchez Teacher Education Center,
Phone: 505-454-3146
FAX: 505-454-3384




School of Education Undergraduate Departments

Teacher Education

Special Education

Field Experiences

Contact us

Mission Statement

The NMHU School of Education prepares teachers, counselors, and administrators for diverse and inclusive environments through excellence in teaching, research, and service.

New Mexico Highlands University Mission

New Mexico Highlands University is a public comprehensive university serving our local and global communities. Our mission is to provide opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to attain an exceptional education by fostering creativity, critical thinking and research in the liberal arts, sciences, and professions within a diverse community. For more information about our mission, click here.

Resources and Facilities

The Victoria D. de Sanchez Teaching Education Center (TEC) is a modern, three-level building housing classrooms, two interactive television rooms, smart classrooms, faculty offices and an instructional materials evaluation center.

The TEC building also serves as a home for the Northeast Regional Education Cooperative, the Center for the Education & Study of Diverse Populations, Advanced Placement-New Mexico, the Highlands Counselor Training Center and MESA-Northern New Mexico.

Established by the School of Education, the Center for the Education and Study of Diverse Populations studies diverse populations whose needs are unmet and who encounter barriers to services and opportunities, and develops strategies for removing those barriers.

The School of Education houses a regional Instructional Materials Evaluation Center that contains publisher-supplied samples of state-approved texts and materials for review by school district administrators, teachers, parents, and education faculty and students. The center also functions as an institutional curriculum library, providing selected samples of resources for short-term loan.

The Literacy Council of Northeastern New Mexico staffs an adult literacy center and provides services within the Instructional Materials Evaluation Center.

Finally, the School of Education offers selected undergraduate and graduate programs at the Centers in Santa Fe / Española, Rio Rancho and Farmington with the cooperation of the Educational Outreach Services Program.

Purpose of the School of Education

The purpose of the School of Education is to provide highly qualified, entry-level teachers in early childhood, elementary, secondary, special education, and other professional personnel such as, educational leaders and counselors, to serve New Mexico and/or national PK-grade 12 school districts.

The School of Education offers selected undergraduate and graduate programs at the Centers in Santa Fe, Rio Rancho and Farmington with the cooperation of the Educational Outreach Services Program.

Conceptual Framework

The School of Education believes in democratic access to an education, both theoretical and authentic, that allows the reflective learner to continue to develop cultural schemas and diverse cognitive processing skills to construct a knowledge base, practice the skills and develop professional dispositions in authentic settings needed to excel in education, leadership, counseling or other self-determined endeavors.


There are eight themes that guide the School of Education’s practices and decision-making processes:

  • Diversity
  • Reflective Practitioner
  • Cultural Inclusion
  • Authentic Settings
  • Practice
  • Knowledge
  • Professionalism
  • Leadership


Teacher Preparation and Licensure Programs
Entrance to undergraduate teacher preparation programs is evaluated through advisement and assessment of students’ skills and motivation for entering the teaching profession. Preparation for the profession requires an academic course of study through majors in early childhood, elementary, special education, or a minor in secondary education together with a major in an appropriate content field.

Candidates plan their academic programs in careful consideration of the subjects or grade levels they may wish to teach. Education students receive support and guidance from faculty advisers throughout the period of their studies and also in seeking their first jobs.

Initial Licensure Programs
Initial programs leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree and making candidates eligible for a New Mexico teaching license include early childhood education, elementary education, special education, and secondary education, a program minor which must be combined with a content-area major.
The following describe three gateways that assess and guide students through the School of Education and teacher licensure. This process will initiate an in-school file for students as they matriculate in the School of Education.

Gateway Alpha (Program Entry into the School of Education)

Key assessments determine candidate eligibility for admission to the School of Education initial licensure programs. Those assessments and their criteria are:

National Evaluation Series Essential Academic Skills (Subtests, I, II, III) score of at least 220;

Overall GPA of at least 2.50 (based on a minimum of 24 credit hours);

A C-grade or better in GNED 201 (Introduction to Teaching), GNED 251 (Field Base I) SPED 214 (Introduction to Special Education), or ECME 300;

A score of at least 3 out of 4 on a designated writing assignment in GNED 201 or ECME 300;

A C-grade or better in English 112 (Composition); and

An application to the School of Education on the Chalk and Wire software.

Gateway Beta (Admission to Clinical Practice: Student Teaching)

Key assessments determine candidate eligibility for admission to clinical practice / student teaching (Field Base III). Those assessments and their criteria are:

National Evaluation Series Elementary Content Knowledge score of at least 220, Special Education Content Knowledge, Secondary Major Content Knowledge;

National Evaluation Series (NES) Essential Components of Reading- Elementary Education majors only;

Overall GPA of at least 2.75;

All major course requirements;

All teacher licensure requirements;

Criminal records background check and finger prints;

Submit verification of liability insurance;

Submit application for student teaching on Chalk and Wire

Gateway Gamma (Program Completion)

Key assessments determine candidate eligibility to become a program completer. Those assessments and their criteria are:

Successful development of a student teaching portfolio during Field III Student Teaching experience;

Field Base III university supervisor rating of at least three of four points possible by the final classroom observation;

Field Base III rating by cooperating teacher of at least three of four points possible by the final classroom observation; and

Field Base III dispositions rating of at least three of four points possible.

Chalk and Wire

The School of Education has adopted the electronic assessment system, Chalk and Wire, as a platform to create candidate electronic portfolios. Chalk and Wire is required of all School of Education candidates and of those who seek admission. Chalk and Wire tracks candidates’ progress as they address the competencies of their licensure areas. It is used as a vehicle to assess programmatic strength, weaknesses and areas in need of modification. As candidates continue to meet these competencies and professional standards the quality of teaching, counseling and administration will continue to improve in northern New Mexico and wherever our candidates decide to practice their chosen profession.

Requirements for Admission to Teacher Preparation and Licensure Programs

Admission to the School of Education is a separate and independent process from admission to the university. Candidates need to purchase a Chalk and Wire license through the university bookstore. All applications for admission into the School of Education are only accepted through Chalk and Wire. Candidates must complete all requirements listed in Gateway Alpha before they are admitted. If a candidate is deficient in any one of the Gateway Alpha requirements, admission will be denied, until all requirements are met. Students should contact the School of Education early in their freshman year to receive guidance in the process. Early advisement is essential to avoid delays in meeting all requirements. Consultation with an education adviser is essential to establish a program of courses. An overall grade point average of at least 2.5 is required.

  1. Complete the following c ourses with a grade of C or better:

GNED 201 Introduction to Teaching (3)

GNED 251 Field-Base 1 Teacher Prep Experience (1)

SPED 214 Introduction to Special Education (3)

ECME 300 Professionalism (2) (ECME students only)

  1. Complete and submit an application through Chalk and Wire for admission into the School of Education.

Complete the appropriate freshman and sophomore courses in the university’s core curriculum together with additional extended core courses required for education majors and minors by the New Mexico Public Education Department. The choices to be made will reflect the requirements for licensing that have been set by the New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) and SB329 as of July 1, 2016. These courses include:

9 hours in communication

8 hours in science

12 hours in history

9 hours in humanities and fine arts

9 hours in social/behavioral science

6 -9 hours in mathematics*

Extended Core/ NMHU requirements

2 hours PE

8 hours modern language

3 hours computer science

54-57 hours of core requirements

* ECME and elementary education majors need nine hours; special education majors and secondary education minors need six hours.

  1. Take the New Mexico Teacher Assessment (NMTA) exams to be eligible for student teaching.

Students must have passed the Basic Skills and Content Knowledge exams of the NMTA to be approved for student teaching. Students must pass the Assessment of Teacher Competency Exam of the NMTA in the areas of early childhood, elementary, or secondary education to receive NMPED licensure. Students have no more than two opportunities to complete successfully any of the field-based experiences. With the submission of the School of Education application, the candidate must have established an electronic portfolio, completed the disclosure form via Chalk and Wire, submitted disposition assessments from designated classes and field-based experiences, and appropriate artifacts from GNED 201 and ECME 300. Students will also be asked to submit other artifacts from other education classes. Details of this process and the required minimum scores are available from the School of Education.

Students seeking a bilingual endorsement are required to pass the Prueba de Español para la Certifición Bilingües exam. Students must maintain close communication with Academic Support Services and the School of Education regarding these important examinations.

Requirements for Admission to Clinical Practice and for Placement in Student Teaching (Field-Base III Teacher Preparation or Internship in Teaching)

Students must submit, through their adviser, a formal application for admission to the Office of Field Experiences. The application form is available on Chalk and Wire. Adverse decisions concerning admittance can be appealed first to the program’s admission committee and then to the school dean.

For admission to clinical practice, a 2.75 overall grade point average is required. Students must complete a degree audit with the Office of the Registrar and meet periodically with their education advisers for a check on their advancement through the Gateways, academic progress, and verification of successful completion of the appropriate sections of the NMTA exam. Prospective candidates should discuss this requirement with their education advisers.

Candidates for placement in student teaching will file a formal application on Chalk and Wire prior to midterm of the preceding semester before they can be considered to begin student teaching.

Prerequisites for advancement to student teaching (Field-Based III) are:

A 2.75 overall grade point average;

Required major courses, up to those for the final semester (SB329, effective July 1, 2016);

Secondary education minors: 24 credits in the academic major and 20 credits in the academic minor (if applicable), with an overall minimum GPA of 2.75;

A passing score on all required National Evaluation Systems Assessment of Academic Skills; and

The application for Student Teaching on Chalk and Wire, with these additional requirements:

A degree audit signed by the program advisers; and

Appropriate reference letters with documented dispositions.

Each teaching discipline’s program committee and the director of student teaching will review the applications for approval, and those students whose applications are denied may appeal to the Office of the Dean.

Student teaching is a full-time assignment during the period of the placement and requires the candidate to participate fully in the life and work of the school. The student teacher follows the daily schedule of the school, assumes regular faculty and out-of-classroom duties, and participates in faculty meetings, PTA/PTO meetings, school plays, and other school-related activities as appropriate. Because this constitutes a full-time commitment, no additional coursework may be taken without special permission from the field-base coordinator. In all cases, the school’s cooperating teacher and principal, in consultation with the university supervisor, make the determination of the student teacher’s involvement, duties, and course loads.

Final placement of a student teacher in a school is decided by the School of Education and is contingent upon the student being accepted by the school.

To receive a degree in education, the student must submit summative supervisor and cooperating teacher ratings that indicate the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) standards have been met, submit the student teaching electronic portfolio, and designated class and field disposition assessments.