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Meeting of the Board of Regents | July 2008

Tuesday, July 1, 2008 - 11:20pm

sed seal                                                                                                 






Higher Education Committee


Johanna Duncan-Poitier





Work Group on Preparing, Recruiting and Retaining Teachers for Urban Education



July 9, 2008



Goals 1, 2  and 3








Issues for Discussion


              Should the Board of Regents establish a Work Group to make recommendations on improving the preparation of teachers and recruiting and retaining effective teachers in Urban Education?


Reason(s) for Consideration

              For Information.


Proposed Handling


The question will come before the Board of Regents at its July 2008 meeting for discussion.


Background Information


On May 12, 2008 the Regents Higher Education Committee held a Regional meeting in Yonkers, New York on Improving the Preparation, Recruitment and Retention of Teachers in Urban Education.  Panel members included ten members of the New York State Board of Regents, the Commissioner of Education, the Senior Deputy Commissioner of Education, Deans of Schools of Education, school principals, college/university faculty, a school district superintendent, the Vice President of the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) and a teacher.  The discussion centered around successful teacher preparation programs in both New York City and Rochester that are preparing teachers in an effective manner to teach in urban schools. These models received State funding through the Teacher Opportunity Corps (TOC) program administered by the Department. These programs involve a clinical-based approach to preparing teachers with continual support from the college faculty after the student graduates and ongoing mentoring from an accomplished teacher within the school setting. These programs focus on ensuring that new teachers understand the cultural background and educational needs of their students.  The results are that more teachers are retained in the urban schools and that the transition from teacher preparation to effective teaching is accelerated, benefiting all students.


Also, at the regular May meeting of the Regents Higher Education Committee, the Department presented the third annual teacher supply and demand report identifying teacher shortages both regionally and in specific subject areas. Members of the Board requested more detailed data about the teaching workforce in SURR and other high need schools.  We have begun the initial development of a database file that will allow us to drill down to the school building level for more detailed information on the teaching workforce and that could be used by a work group to ascertain more specific data on teacher issues.




To follow-up on ideas raised by many members of the Board as a result of the May 12th regional meeting in Yonkers and at the May Board of Regents meeting, the Department is recommending that a Work Group be convened which will be comprised of members of the Board of Regents, college deans of education whose graduates work in urban districts, practitioners from the Big 5 school districts, NYSUT, PSPB and other constituency groups.  The overall charge of the Work Group is to examine the Department’s requirements for teacher preparation and professional development with the goal of strengthening those requirements to better serve the needs of teachers and students in urban schools. To close the performance gap for all students, more emphasis must be placed on addressing the problem where it exists – in the high need schools across the State.


There are two other groups looking at issues around improving urban education:


  • On May 9, 2008, the New York Comprehensive Center (NYCC), RMC Research, brought together a group of educators for a seminar on issues involved in teacher preparation, recruitment and retention.  This group developed recommendations similar to the ideas and initiatives that the Regents Work Group on Urban Education will explore. Attendees included senior staff from the New York State Education Department and from the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE). In addition, the Deans and selected professors from teacher preparation programs at CUNY institutions participated in the seminar. This group is planning to reconvene in the late fall of 2008 and to add colleagues from independent colleges and universities in the greater New York City area that prepare teachers who work in New York City public schools.


  • Also, on May 12th, the NYCDOE, Division of Teaching and Learning held a special meeting devoted to a discussion of the issues that surround teacher education in New York City. Participants included many of the same deans and NYCDOE personnel who had attended the NYCC seminar on May 9th. The meeting was chaired by the Deputy Chancellor for Teaching and Learning.


To avoid duplication of effort, we are recommending that the Regents Work Group on Urban Education include members from these other two groups working on urban education issues (i.e. NYCC and NYCDOE). This will enable us to better coordinate findings and ensure that all our educational partners are actively engaged in this important work. The goal would be to present to the Board of Regents an initial report of the Work Group in spring 2009.


To begin with, the Work Group will examine many of the ideas and initiatives put forth at the May 12th meeting. For example:


  • Strengthen academy-guided clinical study in teacher preparation by providing more of the preparation program within the school setting (similar to the professional development school model).


  • Adjust classroom instruction in preparation based on what is occurring in the school setting through a more intense clinical practice approach to teacher preparation.


  • Use videotaping to provide authentic feedback to teacher candidates and in-service teachers to improve practice.


  • Ensure that teacher candidates are prepared to teach all students with varying cultural backgrounds and learning needs who live in our urban communities.


  • Create a stronger induction program through more intensive mentoring, continued involvement of college faculty and/or a residency period for the new teacher where the teacher will not be the teacher of record for a period of time or have a reduced class load. Buddy system. Grade and subject specific mentoring. Summer mentoring before the new teacher begins in September.


  • Keep the collaboration strong among the State, urban districts and teacher preparation institutions “Braid the Resources”. For example, allow high performing teachers in high need schools to have a split assignment teaching in a collegiate teacher preparation program.


  • Expand successful models of teacher preparation for urban education (i.e., the Teacher Opportunity Corps).


  • Request that the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Northeast and Islands and NYCC research best practices for consideration by the Work Group.


  • Strengthen recruitment in middle and high schools.


  • Provide credit toward promotion and tenure decisions for college faculty who work with teachers and student teachers in the P-12 school setting.


Because of the tight timeline, if the Regents endorse the creation of this Work Group, I will contact members of the Regents Higher Education Committee during the month of August to solicit your recommendations for membership on the Work Group. We recognize it will be a challenge to enlist all interested parties on this Work Group and, therefore, we will set up procedures to allow the educational community to provide feedback and recommendations during the period of time the Work Group is active.


Timetable for Implementation


July 2008                      Regents approve initiatives that the Work Group will examine.


August 2008                Regents solicited for recommendations for Work Group members.  Work Group appointed.


September 2008         Work Group hold initial meeting


December 2008          Second meeting of Work Group


March 2009                   Third meeting of Work Group


May 2009                       Initial report to the BOR on findings and recommendations of                                  the Work Group.