SUNY Convenes TeachNY Advisory Council to Develop Teacher and School Leader Preparation Policy

February 6, 2015

Policy Framework Expected in June, Following Consultation with State & National Experts

 

New York City – State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher today announced that the university system has convened the TeachNY Advisory Council to develop bold new teacher and leader preparation policy with the expectation that it will be a model for the state and the country. TeachNY reinforces ongoing efforts to ensure that teachers and school leaders educated at SUNY and across New York State receive the best possible education and support.

“Effectively mending the education pipeline to ensure that all students are prepared for success from the earliest stages of their education, to and through college, and into career, is directly dependent upon the quality of our teachers and school leaders,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “New York and states throughout the country are making remarkable strides in teacher preparation, but we lack a policy framework that reflects our nation’s best practices, and that is precisely what TeachNY will deliver. Importantly, SUNY aims to support teachers throughout their own career pipeline as they grow from pre-service, to novice, to expert.”

Unique to the Council’s charge is the creation of SUNY-wide policy that addresses the full spectrum of the life of the teacher—from the decision to enter the profession; to the curricula they take on SUNY campuses, which includes rigorous clinical experiences; and support for their first years on the job and through their career-long professional development.

Draft policy will be reviewed by the TeachNY Advisory Council in May and the final policy will be presented to the SUNY Board of Trustees in June. Specific priority areas of focus for the Council include: Recruitment, Selection, and Cultural Competence; Curricular Design, Pre-Service Education, Simultaneous Renewal, and Related Partnerships; and Induction, Continuing Professional Development, and Teacher Leadership.

“We are learning from one another and from experts across the country, with the goal of creating a model for the state and nation,” said Elizabeth L. Bringsjord, SUNY vice provost and vice chancellor, and the principal investigator on the project. “We are committed to proposing to the SUNY Board of Trustees forward-thinking recommendations that will empower program leaders and faculty to develop and institutionalize best practices, and that will hold SUNY programs accountable to prepare the teachers needed by today’s schools.”

Through TeachNY, SUNY is working with its partners across SUNY and at the State Education Department and the New York City School District; teacher and faculty unions including UUP and NYSUT; higher education partners from CUNY and the independent colleges; statewide associations such as the Schools Boards Association and the School Administrators Association; and others. Council members are energized by their progress thus far and their work ahead.

Monica Martinez, Senior Scholar, Hewlett Foundation, said, “I do not think there is a single person I talk to - whether it is a policymaker, researcher, state department or district staff member, foundation representative, principal, teacher, or parent - who does not believe or acknowledge that teacher education has to change to ensure all students master core content, are critical thinkers and problem solvers who can collaborate, communicate and be self-directed – Deeper Learning. Yet, few policy and higher education leaders have the vision or fortitude to make the deep structural changes necessary to ensure that all students will have access to teachers who are prepared to design student-centered learning experiences that are meaningful to students in that have real-world connections and digital tools are integrated.  Chancellor Zimpher, SUNY, and the New York State Department of Education do - and they are showing their commitment through TeachNY.”

Mark Lacelle-Peterson, vice president for policy and programs at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, said, “Individual SUNY graduates, faculty, leaders, and campuses have long distinguished themselves in the field of educator preparation through innovation, research, leadership, service and, above all, effectiveness. The TeachNY initiative affords SUNY the opportunity to leverage the considerable talents and abilities of its teacher educators in an even more powerful force for transforming education by linking effective, practice-based preparation to effective school practice and leadership. It puts SUNY at the forefront of educational innovation for excellence and creates a powerful national model of excellence in public education.”

Barnett Berry, founder and CEO of The Center for Teaching Quality, said, "SUNY has launched an ambitious initiative to transform teacher education. TeachNY has defined how to prepare teachers, who not only teach effectively but are ready to lead without leaving the classroom. It is time for New York policymakers to move beyond the narrow teaching policy reforms of yesterday and begin to invest in well-prepared and empowered teacher leaders for tomorrow."

Kevin Casey, executive director of the School Administrators Association of New York, said, “TeachNY has assembled accomplished educators with widely divergent experiences and opinions to strive toward the common goal of making outstanding pedagogy the norm.  From the tension of debate, discussion, analysis and introspection, TeachNY is forging a foundation of teacher preparation designed not just to support student achievement, but to propel it.  TeachNY participants are working toward policy and programs that are transferable, scalable and which will truly serve the long term interests of children. I am grateful for being included in this effort.” 

Dan Liebert, senior associate at Great Schools Partnership and former principal and chief academic officer at Tech Valley High School, said, “Students today need to leave school with a broad set of “deeper learning” skills, among them are the ability to: collaborate well on teams, communicate in a variety of ways, control and develop their own learning, and the capacity to apply that learning in novel situations. These are the skills our teaching workforce needs to possess themselves as well as the knowledge of how to help our young people obtain those skills. The TeachNY effort is examining the best practices in NY and beyond in order to help SUNY create the teaching workforce of the future.”

The Council will consider all viewpoints and ideas, in an effort to address what some consider to be a low level of public confidence in educator preparation programs. To that end, the Council brings in a wide range of speakers at each meeting. For example, today’s agenda includes:

  • Michael Allen, co-founder and partner of Teacher Preparation Analytics (TPA), which recently completed a report on Building an Evidence-Based System of Teacher Preparation.
  • Elizabeth Green, author of New York Times Bestseller Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (and How to Teach it to Everyone);
  • Kate Walsh, president of National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), which advocates for reforms in a broad range of teacher policies at the federal, state, and local levels in order to increase the number of effective teachers; and
  • Randi Weingarten, president of American Federation of Teachers (AFT), which represents teachers; paraprofessionals and school-related personnel; higher education faculty and staff; nurses and other healthcare professionals; local, state and federal government employees; and early childhood educators.

TeachNY is supported by Race to the Top funds awarded to SUNY from the New York State Education Department.

For more information and a council member list, visit www.suny.edu/teachny-council.

SUNY prepares approximately 5,000 new teachers every academic year, and there are SUNY graduates teaching in every school district in New York State. SUNY currently offers teacher and school leader programs at 17 campuses and prepares nearly 25 percent of New York’s certified teachers.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, with 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school and business in the state. In 2015–16, SUNY served nearly 1.3 million students, including nearly 600,000 in credit-bearing courses and programs and more than 700,000 through continuing education and community outreach programs. SUNY students and faculty across the state make significant contributions to research and discovery, resulting in nearly $1 billion of externally sponsored activity each year. There are 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit www.suny.edu.


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