Educators from across the nation met this week to launch with Chancellor Zimpher the system’s Statewide Teacher Education Network. The conference featured several speakers and breakout sessions to share best practices now under way at SUNY campuses.
Through a series of faculty development and research opportunities, S-TEN will enable SUNY to lead campus faculty as they engage with their P-12 partners in education to implement clinically-rich teacher and leader preparation strategies within the four areas, both before and after certification.
SUNY prepares a quarter of New York State’s teachers, which means that SUNY’s role on the education pipeline is implicitly influential. To ensure that these educators are receiving the most effective, comprehensive preparation before hitting the field—and then while in the workforce—the newly-established S-TEN will engage SUNY faculty across the state to instate high quality professional development and research.
“S-TEN will be a broadly inclusive learning community for teacher educators the likes of which New York has never before seen,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “[It] will help us stay at the forefront of developing teacher education initiatives and ultimately provide New York’s schoolchildren with teachers and schools leaders of the highest quality.”
The prominent themes resonating from speakers at this week’s S-TEN summit were collaboration, timeliness, and innovation.
Collaboration through new-age communication and simple team work is a primary principle of achieving tasks. And with this task being as great as Chancellor Zimpher and Senior Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges and the Education Pipeline Duncan-Poitier remark, it can only be achieved through relying on one another’s campus program and staff—likely from 29 of the 30 SUNY community colleges that chart a pathway to teaching.
SUNY will collaboratively develop a powerful new approach to the preparation of teachers by addressing four critical areas: Common Core Standards; Performance assessments, including certification examinations and performance evaluations; Data-drive instruction; and Clinically-rich teacher and leader preparation.
This coming-together will also help address a concern highlighted at the S-TEN summit: retention; the education pipeline is “leaking”. According to Chancellor Zimpher, minority high school completion is at levels below the national average, especially in Western New York.
Timeliness is a critical component of S-TEN since we do live in such a fast-paced, competitive environment. Deadlines have been set for assignments and goals to various groups across the SUNY System.
During her closing remarks at the S-TEN summit, SUNY Fredonia’s Dean for College of Education Christine Givner made clear her confidence that SUNY can achieve these deadlines, adding, “We are all aware of the aggressive time frame.”
Finally, through innovation, SUNY will be able to refine the best techniques identified throughout the process in order to share these practices. At the S-TEN summit, Chancellor Zimpher highlighted University at Buffalo’s Center of Pedagogy, which is a 21st Century hands-on teaching laboratory for preparing healthcare students for the workforce. Zimpher repeatedly referred to Pedagogy as the leading example for SUNY to follow in both theory and action.
S-TEN is funded by $3.5 million in funds awarded by the New York State Education Department earlier this year for the goal of advancing the future of teacher and school leader preparation in order to meet the needs of New York State schools. For more information, click here.
Maxwell was a Coordinator of Digital Engagement for The State University of New York.