Early Clinical Experiences

Early clinical experiences are included in most professional education courses. The goal of an early clinical experience is to introduce teacher education candidates to teaching in a PreK-Adult classroom. This will allow candidates to transfer their idea of teaching from a student’s perspective, to a teacher’s point of view. Ideally, candidates complete clinical experiences in schools located in Concord University’s service area. Concord University’s service area includes public schools in the following counties in WV and VA: Fayette, Greenbrier, McDowell, Mercer, Monroe, Raleigh, Wyoming, Tazewell, Bland & Giles. Candidates may be able to complete clinical experiences outside of CU’s service area, pending approval of a Memo of Understanding (MOU) with the cooperating county’s Board of Education.

Candidates must complete all required hours and assessments by the end of each semester. Each candidate will be assigned a mentor in alignment with WVDE policy, typically at the school or county of their choice, which will serve as a classroom guide throughout their early clinical experience.

Concord University has established multiple levels of clinical experiences, with specific expectations at each level. All evaluations follow InTASC standards, which will allow for analysis of growth as students progress through the various levels.


  • 1

    Candidates must submit an Early Clinical Experience Request Form to the CU Department of Education Office by noon on the first Friday of the semester in which the clinical experience is required.

  • 2

    Candidates must submit an Educator Disposition Assessment (EDA) Acknowledgement Statement to the CU Department of Education Office by noon on the first Friday of the semester in which the clinical experience is required.

  • 3

    Candidates must complete an annual background check through CastleBranch by the third Friday of the semester. Candidates will NOT be permitted to participate in an early clinical experience until a background check has been ordered, the results have been received by the CU Department of Education, and the background check has been reviewed and cleared.

  • 4

    Candidates are required to purchase a LiveText membership by the third Friday of the semester in which they are enrolled in their first education course that requires a clinical experience. LiveText is required to successfully complete all evaluations, assessments and time-logs associated with early clinical experiences at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

  • 5

    Candidates must participate in review of the Early Clinical Experience Expectations & Guidelines by the Director of Clinical Experience during the first two weeks of the semester, during the education course.

Candidates enrolled in education courses are required to complete annual background checks through CastleBranch before they can participate in an early clinical experience. Background checks must be ordered by the third Friday of the semester in which clinical experience participation is needed. Background checks can take up to 3 weeks from the order date to be processed by CastleBranch; please place orders on time to prevent delay in beginning a clinical experience. Background checks are valid for 1 academic year from order placement.

Candidates will NOT be permitted to participate in an early clinical experience until a background check has been ordered, the results have been received by the CU Department of Education, and the background check has been reviewed and cleared.  Once your background check has been received and cleared, your early clinical experience will be assigned in LiveText. If your background check is unsatisfactory, you will be notified by our Office and your clinical experience(s) will be placed on hold. This hold will result in a referral to the Admission, Retention, and Dismissal Committee (ARD) to review the charges listed on the background check. If cleared by the ARD Committee, you will be allowed to begin your clinical experience(s). Minor traffic violations/charges (speeding tickets, expired insurance/registration, faulty equipment, failure to yield/stop, etc.) will appear on this background check, but will not result in ARD committee review. Repeated charges, felonies, and charges related to drug/alcohol use will result in ARD review; it’s possible that the charges would prevent you from obtaining your initial teaching license through the WVDE.

Students must cover the cost of the background check themselves; it is not included in course fees. Our partnership with CastleBranch provides a discounted rate of $50 for the initial check, and $25 for each follow-up check. Should you need assistance with this cost, please apply for the CU Gap Fund through the Center for Academic and Career Development. CU Gap Fund applications can take around a month to process. Please inform our office if you applied for assistance so that we know your background check will be delayed. Official results will be provided directly from CastleBranch to the CU Department of Education Office via our online administrator account; there is no need to send our office a copy of your results.

Candidates who are currently employed by a school system, daycare or head-start facility do not need to order a CastleBranch background check. These candidates will need to provide the CU Department of Education Office with a copy of the background check results completed for employment by the third Friday of the semester. If this background check was not completed within 1 year form the last day of the semester, a CastleBranch background check will be required.

Candidates who are participating in a clinical experience within a county that requires a separate background check, can use that background check in leiu of one through CastleBranch. These candidates will need to provide the CU Department of Education Office with a copy of the background check results prior to participation in a clinical experience.

How to order a CastleBranch background check:

  1. Go to https://discover.castlebranch.com/ , select ‘PLACE ORDER’
    • If this is your first CastleBranch background check for a CU clinical experience, use package code DL01 or DL01ac ($50 initial check fee)
    • If you have already completed a CastleBranch background check for a CU clinical experience, CastleBanch will accept discount package code DL01re ($25 follow-up check fee)
  2. Select the ‘Please Select’ drop-down, then select the ‘Teacher Education’ drop-down, then select ‘DL01:Background Check’
  3. On the ‘Package Review’ screen check ‘I have read order instructions’ at the bottom of the screen. Select ‘Click to Continue’
  4. On the ‘Please Review’ screen check ‘I have read, understand and agree to the Terms and Conditions of Use’. Select continue
  5. ORDER SCREEN #1 Complete the Personal Information & Personal Identifiers sections (double check to make sure your SSN is correct!). Select continue
  6. ORDER SCREEN #2 Create your username & password (please use your @mycu email address). Select create account
  7. ORDER SCREEN #3 Select your current County from the drop-down menu. All other fields should already be populated with your name. Select next
  8. ORDER SCREEN #4 Select ‘No thanks, continue with my order’ (if you really want a badge, you can order one, but it isn’t really needed). Select next
  9. ORDER SCREEN #5 Review your personal information. Select next
  10. ORDER SCREEN #6 Enter your payment information. Select submit
  11. ORDER SCREEN #7 Print/Save your order confirmation for your records. Click next to access your account and review your order/check

LiveText is an internet-based subscription service used for assignment submission, clinical experience management, standards integration and assessment throughout Concord University’s Teacher Education Program. Concord University uses LiveText extensively in all clinical experiences.

Candidates must purchase a LiveText membership by the third Friday of the semester in which they are enrolled in their first course that requires a clinical experience. Candidates must purchase “LiveText with Field Experience Edition.” When creating an account, candidates should use their @mycu email address. LiveText subscription is valid for seven years from the date of purchase.

Candidates who purchases a livetext access code through the CU bookstore, they must then register the access code at livetext.com. Purchasing through the CU bookstore will cost $226 (as of Fall 2023). If a candidate purchases their membership directly from livetext.com it will cost $113 (as of Fall 2023). Candidates who have opted-in to the Follett Access Program have a LiveText membership included in their package; they do not need to purchase another membership.

Transfer students who used LiveText at another institution, will need to e-mail LiveText and request to have their account transferred from the previous institution to Concord University. Make sure to include username, name of previous institution, and a phone number. Once the account has been transferred, it will be necessary to log in and change the school e-mail address and ID number to the ones provided by CU.

For more information on LiveText, please review the following:

Educator Disposition Assessment (EDA):

Early Clinical Experience Evaluation:

Concord University is involved in a collaborative with local public schools. The Partner Schools are designed to prepare future educators, to provide current educators with ongoing professional development, to encourage joint school-university faculty investigation of education-related issues, and to promote the learning of P-12 students. The Partner Schools, structured as a network that includes University and public school faculty, parents, and community partners, seek to improve teacher education and meet professional development needs and goals as identified by public school faculty.The partnership collaborative provides the bridges that connect Concord’s teacher education program to the daily instructional practices that occur in P-12 schools. The Partner Schools serve as clinical sites for teacher candidates to teach under the guidance of an expert mentor teacher.The clinical experiences allow faculty from Concord and the partnerships to collaborate extensively in providing quality experiences for all teacher candidates involved in the initiative.The public schools benefit from the expertise of the University faculty and the significant contributions the teacher candidates make to the school. The children in these schools benefit from the additional adult attention as well as from the enthusiasm and new learning strategies that teacher candidates often bring to the classroom as they prepare to become teachers.

​Candidates working toward the Bachelor of Science in Education degree are advised that all phases of teacher education require cooperative efforts between Concord University, the public school system and other agencies. Candidates are subject to all policies, rules, and regulations of the county school system and placement school itself. A  placement may be rejected and/or terminated by the county, principal, mentor, Concord University or legal representatives of these agencies or schools if a candidate fails to meet the professional standards of the cooperating school, agency, or the University. During the Year Long Residency, the reports of the supervising teacher(s) and the recommendation(s) of the University Supervisor are essential components in determining the eligibility for graduation and recommendation for licensure.