Lake E-ffect Newsletter banner SUNY Oswego logoJanuary 2012 • Vol 7 • No 10

Oswego wins $1.73M Grant for Trailblazing Teacher Training Program

The School of Education will establish an innovative teacher training pilot program in nine high-need secondary schools in Oswego County, Syracuse and New York City, thanks to a $1.73 million grant.

Stock imageThe state Education Department will use federal Race to the Top funding to fund a three-year, graduate-level proposal to raise the bar on traditional student teaching.

The program encompasses two school placements totaling an academic year as well as summer residencies with two community organizations and a variety of other degree requirements.

"I think it (the grant) is going to allow Oswego to take a leadership role in these sorts of teacher-residency programs," said Lorrie Clemo, interim provost and vice president of academic affairs. "One of the reasons this money is so important is that it will enable us to reconstitute the teacher-preparation model for high-need schools."

Partner schools include four in Central New York districts and five secondary schools in the Bronx and East Harlem, along with community organizations near each of the nine partner schools.

"The idea is the graduate students are immersed in the life of the school and its students," Clemo said.

The pilot program leading to a master of arts in teaching will provide the students ⎯ many from the communities in which they'll train ⎯ the opportunity for dual state certification in secondary special education and either a science, technology, engineering or math discipline or teaching English to speakers of other languages.

Candidates' undergraduate degrees must be in math, a science or linguistics. Full scholarships and living stipends are aimed at encouraging midcareer professionals in other occupations to apply for the highly competitive pilot-program openings — 16 each in 2012 and 2013.

Project leader Dr. Barbara Garii, associate dean of education, said the new program would help point the way to addressing a shortage in high-need secondary schools for teachers specializing in special education, languages, sciences and math.

"We saw an opportunity to add special education with secondary education in science and math and TESOL," Garii said. "If we combined secondary education with the special education, then we saw that students who come through our program could walk into schools ⎯ in Syracuse, in Oswego County, in New York City ⎯ with really solid grounding that would enable them to support students across boundaries."

Clemo pointed to successful urban residency programs for teacher training the past decade in Chicago, Boston and Denver, but emphasized that Oswego will extend the concept to include rural schools.

"We're aiming to take a model of urban teacher training and improve on it," she said. "Introducing the apprentice teachers to the lives the younger students are leading is only going to make the experience richer for the graduate students. They'll be more aware of life beyond the school walls."

Jeff Rea '71

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