Meeting of the Board of Regents | May 2008
THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
Encouraging Entry into the Professions and Teaching – “Planting the Seed”
May 1, 2008
Issue for Discussion
How can we enhance student achievement by encouraging and enabling New York’s students to become familiar with the professions and teaching as career opportunities? How can we ensure that students, especially in underserved communities, get the necessary information, educational programs and guidance to prepare them to complete their education and enter a profession or teaching in areas in which there are shortages?
Reason(s) for Consideration
Review of policy by providing an update on the progress of the “Planting the Seed” initiative.
This item will be discussed at the May 2008 meeting of the Professional Practice Committee.
The “Planting the Seed” initiative was discussed at the December 2006 meeting of the Higher Education and Professional Practice Committee. That discussion included a demonstration DVD that highlighted careers in the professions and teaching.
The Regents, through the Statewide Plan for Higher Education that was approved in July 2005, identified thirteen priorities that the Regents and the higher education community agreed to aggressively pursue over a period of eight years (through 2012). Four of those thirteen Regents priorities relate to “Planting the Seed”:
- Preparation for college;
- Information and assistance in preparing for college;
- An adequate supply of qualified professionals;
- An adequate supply of qualified teachers, school leaders and other school professionals.
The Statewide Plan discussed a number of issues related to shortages in many licensed professions, including nursing and pharmacy. In addition to the serious public health concerns related to shortages in health care professions, many other professions are facing shortages that will impact not only on services available to New York State residents, but also on the economy of the State. With regard to teaching, there are significant shortages, especially in high poverty schools and school districts in many teaching areas including mathematics, the sciences, foreign languages, bilingual education and students with disabilities.
An important goal for this initiative is to help close the performance gap in student achievement by creating incentives to motivate secondary students to stay in school and pursue higher education. Additionally, the effort targets students in middle schools, where discussions of career options begin to take place. In fact, our initiative seeks to partner with existing entities such as Long Island Works, an organization dedicated to informing students about professional education and career opportunities on Long Island, and others with similar goals.
The 2004 and 2007 State Education Department Leadership Academies focused on teacher recruitment and building systemic linkages between licensed professionals and students in middle and high schools. One of the purposes of each was to motivate students to complete their education and identify possible career choices. The Office of the Professions “Planting the Seed” Committee reached out to the 2007 Leadership Academy group to highlight actions that will capture the attention of secondary students, provide information to them that is relevant and interesting, and inspire them to stay in school.
An example of this relevance occurred in March, 2008. The Office of the Professions, including thirteen professionals from the fields of architecture, respiratory therapy and ophthalmic dispensing, led creative, hands-on learning experiences for 400 middle school students. This event was hosted by LI Works in conjunction with Junior Achievement and was held in Huntington, New York. Many students appreciated the hands-on aspects of designing and documenting simple objects, understanding how one’s heart works, giving respiratory care to a mannequin, and understanding what opticians do. Making these fields interesting and relevant to students encourages them to individually seek out additional information on the professions.
The “Planting the Seed” Committee has also benchmarked what each of the professions does in terms of outreach to students. This information has been compiled for the 47 professions, and efforts to include it on the Office of the Professions website continue and are being coordinated with the overall improvements to the State Education Department website.