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Meeting of the Board of Regents | October 2009

Thursday, October 1, 2009 - 9:15am

sed seal                                                                                                 




signature of Joe FreyHigher Education Committee


Joseph P. Frey



Urban Education Work Group on Improving the Preparation, Recruitment and Retention of Teachers for Urban Education


October 13, 2009


Goals 1, 2 and 3






Issue for Discussion

              The purpose of this item is to provide the Board of Regents with an update on the draft recommendations of the Urban Education Work Group on Improving the Preparation, Recruitment and Retention of Teachers for Urban Education.  The Regents may wish to consider these recommendations as it proceeds with strengthening its policy on teacher preparation and teaching.


Reason(s) for Consideration


For Information

Procedural History

As a result of the May 12, 2008 regional meeting in Yonkers and at the May 2008 Board of Regents meeting which focused on teaching in urban schools, a Work Group was convened 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.


Background Information

The Work Group met six times between January 2009 and September 2009 reviewing data on teacher issues including professional development, recruitment initiatives, mentoring, preparation, best practices, etc.  The Urban Education Work Group also examined school leadership issues, creating and strengthening P-18 partnerships, improving working conditions in schools, educational technology, etc.  Additionally, they reviewed the results of five teacher forums conducted across the state in New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany.

The attachment reflects the draft recommendations of the Urban Education Work Group.  The seven recommendations of the Work Group are:


  • Improve Pre-K-16 Partnerships
  • Create a Rigorous Field-Based Approach to Preparing and Supporting Teachers for Our Urban Schools
  • Provide for a Strong and Coordinated System of Support for Beginning Teachers in Urban Schools that Includes Effective Mentoring and Induction Programs
  • Invest in Rigorous Action-Directed Research that Identifies Effective Teacher Practices, Characteristics and Dispositions that Improve Student Outcomes in High Needs Districts.  Also, Create a Central Clearinghouse for the Dissemination of this Research.
  • Improve Working Conditions in Urban Schools
  • Improve Urban School Leadership Preparation
  • Ensure that Teacher Certification Requirements in all Areas at all Educational Levels Support Recommended Changes


Collectively, the recommendations seek to strengthen instruction and support the work of urban teachers throughout their teaching careers beginning with preparation followed by recruitment and induction through to retention and professional development. Where specific individuals or organizations do not support certain recommendations or believe additional recommendations should be included, the Department will provide that information to the Board at is October meeting.

Timetable for Implementation

The Urban Education Work Group will be finalizing its recommendations for consideration by the Board of Regents.  A final report will be advanced to the Board of Regents this winter.




Recommendations from the Regents

Work Group on Improving the Recruitment, Preparation and Retention of Teachers for Urban Education


In July 2008, the New York State Board of Regents established a work group on the preparation, recruitment, and retention of teachers for urban education. The charge of the work group was 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” (Regents Item, July 9, 2008, Work Group on Preparing, Recruiting and Retaining Teachers for Urban Education).  The group is made up of a wide variety of stakeholders from throughout urban areas in the state, including teachers, school and district level administrators and staff, leaders of teacher education programs, cultural institution staff, researchers, and Department staff.

Recent data for New York State reveal that those students furthest away from the standards are mostly Black, Hispanic, and American Indian students (especially males), students with disabilities and English language learners in hard-to-staff urban school districts, especially the Big Five, and also New York State’s small cities.  Many of these students in the performance gap are being educated in our high need schools where there is an inequitable distribution of highly qualified teachers.  The work of the Regents Work Group is centered upon achieving the Board of Regents primary goals of raising student performance and closing achievement gaps.  To that end, the work group has identified specific actions that could have a direct impact on teacher recruitment, preparation, and retention and positively impact teaching and learning in our urban areas, especially in our high need schools. While some of the recommendations will require additional funding to fully implement, we recognize that in this tightened fiscal environment, additional funding may not be possible in all cases.  Therefore, we are recommending that we first examine existing funding sources and identify potential opportunities to use these resources more effectively to better prepare, recruit, and retain teachers in urban settings.  Where new funding is available, it will be important to strategically determine where those new resources will have the most impact and target funding accordingly.

Draft Recommendations:


  • Improve PreK-16 Partnerships


Preparing high quality teachers for urban schools continues to be an important goal in New York State and across the nation. One difficulty with preparing urban teachers is the effect of limited collaboration among institutions of higher education and the school districts they serve. We need teacher education programs designed to meet the special needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students in high-need urban areas. Partnerships between teacher education programs and schools should create a structure that will allow for collaboration among faculty in education, faculty in arts and sciences, and faculty in PreK-12 schools responsible for both preparing teachers and improving schools. Partnerships should include their extended communities (parents, businesses, cultural institutions, and community partners).




  • Strengthen partnerships and extend the relationship between teacher education programs and PreK-12 schools to improve the preparation, induction and mentoring of new urban educators. Partnerships must recognize the joint responsibility of faculty in education, arts and sciences, and PreK-12 schools in the preparation of excellent educators.


  • Provide incentives, including fiscal support, to colleges, universities and urban PreK-12 schools for establishing, maintaining, and assessing these partnerships.
  • Empower PreK-12/university partnerships to propose and implement innovative approaches to establishing appropriate PreK-12 student learning outcomes and the means to assess those outcomes, as well as other institutional practices that are fitting to the needs of their urban environment.


  • Provide incentives for partnerships between teacher preparation programs and cultural institutions.  Create opportunities for research-based cultural institutions to infuse content-specific resources, in disciplines such as science and history, into teacher preparation programs, resulting in field placements, required courses, and certification preparation strategies.  


  • Support pilot projects that are designed to develop model partnerships that demonstrate the impact of strong partnerships on preparing excellent educators.


  • Create or expand regional networks to improve the learning experience of urban school students. Encourage regular communication and collaboration within these networks among PreK-12 schools, teacher preparation programs, cultural institutions, schools of arts and sciences, business leaders, and other community partners.


  • Create a Rigorous Field-Based Approach to Preparing and Supporting Teachers for Our Urban Schools




  • Put in place research-based teacher standards to guide the preparation of pre-service teachers, the induction of new teachers, and the annual professional performance review of teachers.


  • Provide clinical experiences for pre-service teachers in urban preparation programs across all pathways that demonstrate best practices, provide appropriate support structures, and lead to employment opportunities for pre-service teachers in the future.


  • Further explore the Urban Clinical Teacher Residency Program at the undergraduate and graduate levels for teacher preparation programs designed to meet the needs of the urban school districts.  Explore residency models where residents pair master’s level or undergraduate level education content with a rigorous year-long classroom practicum supported by sustained mentoring and intense supervision.
  • Establish a task force charged with developing a performance assessment mechanism for pre-service teachers, consistent with research-based teacher standards, that continues to include direct observation of pre-service teacher performance.  This assessment mechanism would be used to help pre-service teachers strengthen their teaching skills and help to ensure that they have the fundamental skills needed to serve as the teachers of record.  The timing of the assessment will depend on the students’ pathways to certification.


  • Provide teacher education candidates with rigorous preparation specific to the needs of students in urban schools, including culturally and linguistically diverse students and students with disabilities.


  • Prepare pre-service teachers with practice-oriented skills and knowledge to help them to structure classroom instruction to improve student outcomes.
  • Prepare pre-service teachers for effective engagement with families and community support agencies.
  • Provide more opportunities for pre-service teachers to be in urban schools through experiences such as classroom observations, student teaching, and residencies.


  • Prepare teachers with the knowledge and skills they need to maximize technology in four key areas:


  • Help teachers to become skilled in the process of integrating technology in ways that strengthen instructional practice and support student learning. 
  • Help teachers to learn how to apply technology as a tool to assess and understand student learning needs and collect and use resulting data to make learning activities meaningful for individual students.
  • Prepare teachers with the skills to identify new instructional technologies to integrate into their practice throughout their careers. 
  • Prepare teachers to use technology as a tool to help them to strengthen and advance their own teaching practice over time.


  • Strategically build the capacity of teacher preparation programs to strengthen their effectiveness in preparing and supporting urban educators. 


  • Provide incentives for teacher preparation programs and nonprofit organizations to play a role in supporting induction and mentoring of their graduates.
  • Encourage college and university leadership to consider time spent by faculty supporting students in PreK-12 schools in promotion, tenure, and reappointment decisions.
  • Advance recommendations for program-building capacity that have been identified by deans, directors, and faculty in teacher preparation programs (e.g., legislative change to provide pension waiver to allow retired teachers to work in public universities).
  • Help strengthen collegiate doctoral programs in faculty shortage areas such as special education and education of English language learners.


  • Develop a more structured and measured approach to teacher professional development while maintaining local identification of professional development needs.


  • Investigate developing guidelines with recommended professional development activities for teachers at various career milestones, as part of teacher retention policy.
  • Recommend professional development for pupil personnel service providers.
  • Create professional development guidelines to help School Building Leaders engage in best practices for leading a multi-generational diverse workforce, integrating adaptations in teaching and learning into school practices, and administering and managing school operations.


  • Improve the preparation program for pupil personnel service providers to ensure that they are current on the topics most relevant to students in urban and high needs schools.  Prepare these critical professional student and school support providers with hands-on interaction and experiences relevant to students in urban settings.


  • Provide for a Strong and Coordinated System of Support for Beginning Teachers in Urban Schools that Includes Effective Mentoring and Induction Programs




  • Provide research-based and intensive mentoring and multi-year induction experiences for beginning teachers in high needs schools.


  • Strengthen and systematize the process for selecting and training mentors to maximize the interaction between mentors and new teachers. Provide both mentors and new teachers with appropriate time to engage in collaboration, planning and reflection on curriculum and teaching practices.


  • Explore and share best practices related to on-line mentoring, teacher mentoring and professional development in urban schools.


  • Create a standardized, on-line training course for mentor teachers and cooperating teachers.


  • Invest in Rigorous Action-Directed Research that Identifies Effective Teacher Practices, Characteristics and Dispositions that Improve Student Outcomes in High Needs Districts.  Also, Create a Central Clearinghouse for the Dissemination of this Research.




  • Strengthen the linkages between teacher preparation programs, what new teachers learn in the induction period, and teacher practice.
  • Share best practices in top-performing public schools.
  • Bring counselors and school psychologists into classrooms to work collaboratively with teachers in diagnosing and supporting student learning needs.
  • Publish reports related to outcomes of teacher preparation programs and collaboratively analyze the results to inform and improve the way teachers and other educators are prepared in New York.
  • Create a data system that allows institutions of higher education to more effectively conduct and access cutting-edge research with potential to continuously strengthen the quality of their programs.
  • Improve the reporting requirements in higher education RFPs to ensure that programmatic research is being performed and reported as part of teacher preparation and professional development funding offered through the State Education Department.
  • Create State Education Department-funded competitive research appointments for faculty members at institutions of higher education to perform special studies and investigative data analyses that support the Regents goals in closing the achievement gap in urban areas.


  • Improve Working Conditions in Urban Schools




  • Ensure that urban educators have administrative support, safe learning environments, time for strong collaborative relationships with their colleagues, appropriate educational resources and opportunities for teacher leadership.
  • Provide targeted funds for mandated and prioritized school building improvements.
  • Expand teachers’ access to educational technology with potential for enhancing teaching and learning.


  • Improve Urban School Leadership Preparation


  • Identify the important knowledge and skills school leaders must demonstrate to be effective in urban schools and include that as part of the preparation and ongoing development of school leaders. 
  • Ensure that specific and measurable school leader performance standards are in place for urban school leaders.
  • Provide targeted funds to expand school leader preparation programs to help urban school leaders acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to serve as “turnaround leaders” in our high need schools and to positively impact teaching and learning.


  • Ensure that Teacher Certification Requirements in All Areas at All Educational Levels Support Recommended Changes




The teacher certification structure is a means to an end and that end is to ensure that all students have teachers who have content and pedagogical knowledge appropriate to their teaching assignments. The manner in which New York certifies teachers must ensure the assignment of teachers with the skills necessary to strengthen student learning.  The Regents must continually examine the criteria for certification in various content and developmental levels to ensure that they are consonant with research regarding the relationships between teacher qualification and student achievement and to allow for appropriate flexibility in teacher assignments.



While any one or two of the recommendations of the Task Force may have a desired positive impact, it is intended that the recommendations to be taken in their entirety as a guiding blueprint for supporting the recruitment, preparation, and retention of teachers.  The recommendations seek to set the entire academy in the direction of eliminating the achievement gap in PreK-12 urban education by rethinking the connectedness of the parts, and thus the expected and achievable results.

Members of the Regents Work Group

Jemina R. Bernard, Executive Director, Teach for America, New York City

Vicki Bernstein, Executive Director, Teacher Recruitment & Quality, Division of Human Resources, New York City Department of Education

Marco Buonocore, Teacher, Gorton High School

Janice Cabbell, CTE Director, Yonkers Public Schools

Coleen Clay, Chair, Department of Teacher Education, York College

Johanna Duncan Poitier, Senior Deputy Commissioner of Education, P-16

New York State Education Department

Joseph P. Frey, Associate Commissioner, Office of Higher Education

New York State Education Department

Timothy Glander, Dean, School of Education, Nazareth College, Rochester

Michele Hancock, Chief of Human Capital Initiatives, Rochester City School District

James Hennessy, Dean, Graduate School of Education, Fordham University, Bronx

Annie Hopkins, Teacher, Daniel Hale Williams School, P.S. 307, Brooklyn

Sharon Jackson, Principal, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School No. 9, Rochester

Margaret Kirwin, Dean, Thelma Lally School of Education, College of Saint Rose, Albany

Khalek Kirkland, Principal, MS 113, Brooklyn-Ronald Edmonds Learning Center, Brooklyn

Maritza McDonald, Senior Director of Education and Policy, American Museum of Natural History, New York

Linda Rae Markert, Dean, School of Education, State University College at Oswego, Oswego,

Mary Rose McCarthy, Associate Dean, Pace University, New York

Mary McInerny, Principal, Richard H. Hungerford School (P721R), Staten Island

Ellen Meier, Associate Professor, Columbia University, Teachers College

Nicholas Michelli, Presidential Professor, CUNY Graduate Center, New York

Yvonne Minor-Reagan, Principal, Westminster Charter School, Buffalo

Sana Nasser, Principal, Harry S. Truman High School, Bronx, New York

Maria Neira, Vice President, New York State United Teachers, Latham

Brian Nolan, Director of High School & Career Education, Syracuse

Dimitres Pantelides, Principal, P.S. 171, Patrick Henry School, New York

Frank Pignatosi, Director, Office of Clinical Studies in Teaching, NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York

Gerald Porter, Dean, School of Education, State University College at Cortland, Cortland

Ronald Rochon, Dean, School of Education, Buffalo State College, Buffalo

Deborah Shanley, Dean, School of Education, Brooklyn College, Brooklyn

David Steiner, Dean, School of Education, Hunter College, New York

Shelley Wepner, Dean, School of Education, Manhattanville College, Purchase

Members of the Internal Work Group

Jamie Alter, Research Assistant, New York Comprehensive Center

Nicole Breslow, Research Associate, Regional Education Laboratory, Northeast and Islands

Elena Bruno, Assistant, Office of College and University Evaluation

Amy Cox, Assistant, Teacher Development Programs Unit

Cheroll Dossett, Associate, Office of School Improvement and Community Services (NYC)

Matthew Giugno, Associate, Program Development and Support Services (VESID)

Stanley S. Hansen, Jr. Executive Coordinator, Office of K-16 Initiatives and Access Programs

Sanford Lake, Assistant, Office of Teaching Initiatives

Jill Lansing, Associate, Office of the Senior Deputy Commissioner

LaMar P. Miller, Dean, Equity Assistance Center at Touro College

Richard Rose, Associate, Office of K-16 Initiatives and Access Programs

Arnold Webb, Senior Research Associate, New York Comprehensive Center