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A grant awarded to the Master of Science for Teachers program at the SUNY Plattsburgh campus in Queensbury gives students a residency training experience similar to that of medical students, enabling them to work side by side with accomplished educators in local school districts.
The National Education Association Great Public Schools grant program awarded the $738,000 grant to the pilot program, which organizers are calling the Classroom Academy: A Residency Model for Teacher Preparation. According to Colleen McDonald, National Board Council of New York State seed grand director, the academy will allow successful teacher preparation candidates to work in local school district for two years, replacing the traditional field experience and student-teacher placements.
Three Washington County school districts have partnered with the college to secure the grant. McDonald said the grant will allow graduate students the opportunity to gain firsthand experience working in a local school district over the course of two years in the program while earning a $22,000-a-year living stipend.
“We anticipate students will graduate from the program with an unparalleled readiness to teach.”
“In the past, teacher preparation consisted of a master’s program lasting a year and a half, which included both unpaid field placement hours and a semester of student teacher done in two eight-week placements,” she said. “This program will build that model out, based on learning from the field around paid residency programs and previous successes in SUNY Plattsburgh’s P-20 partnerships with districts.”
P-20 is a shortened term for an integrated education system that extends from pre-kindergarten through higher education.
“This highly innovative NEA grant embeds the clinically rich model of the medical profession into teacher preparation. With a two-year residency experience, SUNY Plattsburgh at Queensbury MST students will learn the science of teaching coursework while observing and engaging the art of teaching during their residency,” said Dr. Stephen Danna, dean of the branch campus. “We anticipate students will graduate from the program with an unparalleled readiness to teach.”
These program partnerships, embedding teacher candidates for longer periods of time, have received positive feedback from participating teacher education candidates, teachers, administrators at the participating schools and college faculty, McDonald said.
“The nation is facing a teacher shortage that will negatively impact all of our children,” she said. “In addition, we lose a lot of young teachers before their fifth year. Sometimes, it’s not just the skill set but the culture or environment or interaction. A lot of different things impact job satisfaction. We believe that this model will address many of those variables and show these young professionals that there are many opportunities for professional growth in teaching as well as help them see how to navigate many of the daily challenges.”
McDonald said candidates will be immersed with one teacher and their classroom while being a part of the larger school community as well.
“It is planned that the first year will begin with nine candidates, with three in each partner district in Washington County,” she said.
Students need to apply for admission to the MST graduate program before Feb. 15 for consideration in the classroom residency program. For more information on applying to the master’s program in teaching, visit plattsburgh.edu/admissions/graduate/apply.php.
For more information on the Classroom Academy, contact:McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (518) 677-3986.
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