The partnerships between higher education and New York State school districts are a vital component to the success of teachers now and in the future. Through TeachNY, Chancellor Zimpher and Commissioner Elia have recognized the importance of this collaborative approach to teacher preparation and training, and their campaign is strengthening partnerships across New York every day.
As Assistant Director of the Center for School Partnerships and Teacher Certification at SUNY Potsdam, I have the privilege to work with educators across the region on a daily basis. I see TeachNY’s progress in action. Thanks to a collaborative North Country network, our teacher candidates have access to the experiences they need to develop into effective educators. This Fall, 55 student teachers and 106 pre-student teachers are participating in these valuable experiences.
In addition to the experience our teacher candidates gain in partner schools, they receive support outside the classroom. For example, every spring, students in the Teacher Education Student Association organize a conference on education where local teachers are invited to speak on a variety of topics and address a number of campus departments to help inform their programs.
Another example: In October, 23 North Country administrators participates in our Student Teaching Seminar for teacher candidates who are currently completing their student teaching experiences. These administrators will help to prepare the candidates for the next step, which is finding employment in the North Country, where the teacher shortage is especially prevalent, and across New York State.
These are a small sample of the partnerships between SUNY Potsdam and school districts in the North Country, just a few ways in which have embraced the saying “it takes a village” and joined together in a commitment to community engagement that we know is critical to the future of education. Every region has a story like ours, in large part thanks to Chancellor Zimpher’s leadership, and the TeachNY campaign.
TeachNY has begun to tell those stories, and more. The campaign’s promise to continue raising appreciation for educators who go above and beyond will make a difference. Now, more than ever, we need to uplift the teaching profession and acknowledge the hard work of the many educators who are not only committed to the students in their classrooms, but to the next generation of teachers as well.
The author of this post is Nicole Conant. She is Assistant Director at the SUNY Potsdam Center for School Partnerships and Teacher Certification.