Intensive Apprenticeship
Intensive teacher preparation program to pilot in New York City, Upstate

The School of Education will establish an intensive, clinically rich, masters-level teacher training pilot program in nine high-need secondary schools in rural and urban locations, thanks to a three-year, $1.72 million grant.

The state Education Department, with federal Race to the Top funding, made the award to the Oswego Residency Initiative for Teacher Excellence proposal.

The new master of arts in teaching degree program will provide the opportunity for dual certification in adolescence special education and either a STEM discipline (science, technology, engineering and math) or TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages) for candidates whose undergraduate degrees are in sciences, math or linguistics.

The project leader is Barbara Garii, associate dean of education. Linda Rae Markert, professor of educational administration, is lead project adviser. Amy Shore, assistant professor in the English and creative writing department, is program advisory group coordinator for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Interim Provost Lorrie Clemo encouraged the School of Education to submit the proposal and sees the program as breaking ground in its approach by making clinical preparation a centerpiece of teacher education.

Apprentice teachers in the program will learn intensively what the term “clinically rich” means: Among other courses and requirements, they will have two academic placements—a high school and a middle school, totaling a school year—and two placements during consecutive summers in community organizations serving the schools’ children.

“The goal was to act as a catalyst for a new model of teacher preparation that identified teachers who want to bring strong theoretical grounding and best practices to high-need areas, particularly areas that need new teachers,” Garii said.

Inclusive model

“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.”

The highly selective program—only about 16 candidates will be chosen per year—will prepare the apprentices for jobs in high demand, especially in urban and rural settings.

The partner schools are Fowler High School and Grant Middle School in Syracuse, Paul V. Moore High School in Central Square and Kenney Middle School in Hannibal, Wildcat Academic Charter School and Truman High School in Bronx, the Science (middle) School for Exploration and Discovery in East Harlem, and Holcombe L. Rucker High School and Lou Gehrig Junior High School in South Bronx.

Partner organizations in each locality will be of two types: ones that work with children in structured but less formal settings—like Rice Creek Field Station or the YMCA—and ones that have on-site school and education services, as would a hospital or juvenile justice center.

“What we’ve done with this proposal is say, ‘We can create a model of teacher education that can be scaffolded up across the state,’” Garii said, “‘one that allows apprentice teachers to have explicit collaborations, explicit knowledge of who their professors are, who their colleagues are across the state, so we have learning communities.’”

Candidates for the program will be recruited primarily from within the communities each partner school serves, but they will be on campus in Oswego for three weeks next summer, during winter break and for a capstone experience in summer 2013. The program will repeat in 2013-14.

The students and Oswego faculty and mentor teachers in the schools will gather regularly online in real time. SUNY Oswego’s vocational teacher preparation department has teamed for a year in a demonstration project of one vendor’s software with Campus Technology Services and the Division of Extended Learning.

“We’ve said there’s strength in online learning, but it can’t be in a vacuum,” Garii said.

Rich conversations

Markert said one of the keys to the way the proposal has been structured is encapsulated in the name of the candidates’ first course: “Rethinking Educational Institutions.”

“We’ve got to be thinking about education outside the four walls of what students and we call a school,” she said.

Apprentice teachers will think outside all sorts of boxes—rural candidates will talk in the evenings via the online software link with their counterparts in urban settings. “How rich can we imagine the conversations will be when we have teacher apprentices in Oswego County talking online with those in Bronx and Syracuse?” Markert said.

Garii said there are many steps to go in preparing for the program’s launch next June. But it’s invigorating work. “This is an exciting project that has a lot of potential for expanding SUNY Oswego’s capacity, reach, visions of excellence and collaborative capacity across a variety of platforms and contexts,” she said.

(Posted: Aug 26, 2011)