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.

Katherine “Ellie” Webster ’12 spends time with students at Charles E. Riley Elementary in Oswego. Master’s-seeking teachers specializing in the key areas of science, math and TESOL will take assignments in Central New York and Downstate as part of a pilot program starting this fall.

The state Education Department will use $1.73 million in federal Race to the Top funding to support a three-year, graduate-level proposal to raise the bar on traditional student teaching.

The Oswego Residency Initiative for Teacher Excellence, or O-RITE, 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.”

Candidates’ undergraduate degrees must be in math, a science or linguistics. Full scholarships and living stipends in exchange for a commitment to stay in the

Steven Vincent ’13 interacts with students at Charles E. Riley Elementary in Oswego. A new pilot program aims to put master’s-seeking teachers in high-needs districts in Central New York as well as New York City starting this fall.

district after the placement ends are aimed at midcareer professionals.

A former teacher in the Bronx, O-RITE Field Coordinator Anneke McEvoy is familiar with the lack of science and math courses — and people to teach them — in disadvantaged districts.

“We really are targeting shortage areas,” McEvoy said. “Right now I’m reaching out to schools and finding out what they need from us in terms of plans and goals.”

Project leader Dr. Barbara Garii, associate dean of education, said the new program presents an opportunity to add special education to the secondary education experience.

“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,” Garii said.

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