This mixed methods study framed in cognitive apprenticeship theory involved cooperating and preservice teachers from 10 university-based credentialing programs in California. It examined the connection between cooperating teacher practices and preservice teachers' perceptions of a high quality field experience. Survey responses from 146 cooperating and 119 preservice teachers provided a broad perspective on practices used in student teaching placements (e.g., allowing risk taking, prompting articulation for teaching decisions) whereas interviews with 12 cooperating and seven preservice teachers allowed for deeper examination of those practices and how preservice teachers were integrated into K-12 schools. Cooperating and preservice teachers in this study described two main roles in their interviews; a supporter who creates a safe, respectful environment for learning to teach and a role model who demonstrates teaching strategies and provides feedback. A third role emerging from interviews was that of "local guide" to the school setting. Survey responses, however, pointed to significant gaps in perception between cooperating and preservice teachers with regard to enactment of practices such as providing feedback, asking for rationales for actions, and showing respect for the preservice teacher. Analysis of survey data revealed higher means for cooperating teachers of color on six of the 16 items as well as the composite score. Other significant differences included higher item means for cooperating teachers with previous experience and training in working with preservice teachers. Although cooperating teacher practice was highly correlated to preservice teachers' overall rating of the field experience, regression analyses indicated that environmental factors such as school climate and the relationship between the university supervisor and cooperating teacher contributed significantly to the rating. Interview responses also emphasized the importance of school climate and opportunities for inclusion in the K-12 school community. The study's findings suggest the importance of considering the whole context of the field experience when placing preservice teachers. Other implications are for professional development for cooperating teachers and further research on how teachers of color engage in their work with preservice teachers.