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Teacher Education Summit Brings Districts, Colleges Together

Students at Southern Westchester BOCES participate in a recent STEM day. BOCES' Harrison campus drew educators and administrators April 11 for the Southern Westchester Teacher Education Summit.
Students at Southern Westchester BOCES participate in a recent STEM day. BOCES' Harrison campus drew educators and administrators April 11 for the Southern Westchester Teacher Education Summit. Photo Credit: Southern Westchester Board of Cooperative Educational Services

HARRISON, N.Y. -- School district officials and teacher educator program administrators must work closely to ensure the "best and brightest" candidates enter the teaching profession, key points at a recent teacher education summit in Harrison.

The April 11 Southern Westchester Teacher Education Summit at Southern Westchester BOCES' Harrison campus picks up on a discussion started a decade ago, when curriculum directors met with higher education deans to discuss the skillsets of new teachers.

The panel discussed key questions:

  • What should new teachers know and be able to do during their first years in the classroom?
  • How can teacher education programs and school districts partner more effectively to monitor new teacher success?

Panel member Dr. Ronald Valenti, Interim Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Personnel for the Greenburgh Central School District urged a behavioral economics approach that recognized the incentives school districts and colleges have to collaborate in meeting their respective needs.

He gave an example of the amount of money districts spend on substitute teachers to fill a need might be met, in part, by a year-long college internship program.

Other discussion centered on the rigor of teacher training programs and how candidates are prepared for local teaching jobs,

"I think it should be really, really hard to be a teacher," said panelist Layne Hudes, Ardsley's Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. "And if we lose some lovely people in the process, that's okay with me because we (teachers) really need to be the smartest people in the room."

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