Educator Resources

December 2009 Meeting Minutes


State Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching

Video Conference Meeting Minutes


Date:                      December 9th, 2009                                                                 
Locations:            State Education Department, Regents Room, Albany, New York
State Education Department, Syracuse, New York
Niagara University, Lewiston, New York
SUNY at New Paltz, New Paltz, New York
UFT Center, New York, New York

Members Present for Video Conference

Debra Colley, co-chair
Catalina Fortino, Co-chair
Richard Ahola
Eric Gidseg
Jan Hammond
Lloyd Jaeger

Margaret Kaiser
Gerald Mager
Susan Mittler
Joseph Perez
Susan Phillips

Walter Robertson
Pamela Sandoval
Frank Scelsa
Gale Sookdeo


Sheila Appel
Coleen Clay
Allison Cugini
Richard Feller

Cheryl Freedman
Rosemary Harrigan
Khalek Kirkland
John Mahony
Ross Marvin

April McKoy
Patricia Roberts
Diane Rowe
Stephen Uebbing

Patricia Oleaga

December 9, 2009

1. Call to Order

The meeting was called to order by the co-chairs at 3:04 p.m.

2. Announcement/ Letter draft for the Commissioner and the Board of Regents.

The co-chairs thanked the members of the Teacher Education Policy Ad-Hoc group for their work on developing the letter to comment on the issues facing the Regents regarding the November Regents Item “Transforming Teaching”

3. Full Board discussion and review of the letter drafted by the Ad-Hoc group.

Pam Sandoval led the review of the letter.
Motion :
To accept the advisory letter to the Commissioner and the Board of Regents on the “Transforming Teaching” (Attachment 1).
(Moved by Frank Scelsa, seconded by Joe Perez, carried.)

4.  Adjournment

The co-chairs adjourned the meeting at 4:35 p.m.

Attachment 1


 Office of Teaching Initiatives

TO:     The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents

The Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching serves the Board of Regents in providing advice and policy development around all aspects of the profession of teaching in New York State.  In that capacity, we applaud the enduring dedication of the Regents to maintaining the highest standards for the teaching profession.

The Professional Standards and Practices Board has been working for a number of years to improve the quality and number of teachers in New York.  During this time, the Professional Standards and Practices Board has responded to an array of initiatives from the Department and from the Regents, and we stand ready to continue to be responsive as new initiatives emerge.

We of the Board applaud a number of the advances reflected in the Regents Item, “Transforming Teaching.”  Regardless of the policy or the pilot projects that may emerge, we underscore and support the Regent’s sustained commitment to the standards for teaching in New York that are reflected in standards for teacher education program registration and accreditation, professional development, mentoring, and teacher practice.

The Professional Standards and Practices Board also wanted to take the opportunity to comment on the issues facing the Regents in considering the proposals at hand.

Performance-based assessment

We are pleased to support the proposal to move forward in the direction of performance-based assessment.  Campus-specific performance-based assessments are currently in use in many accredited programs of teacher education across the state.  Our history in New York State with performance-based assessment has included a state-level video-assessment system (the ATS-P).  This assessment tool has some difficulty with a sufficiently high level of performance required for passing, and, in part due to that reason, has been discontinued.  The Professional Standards and Practices Board would welcome the opportunity to assist in the development of a more rigorous assessment of teacher performance that sets an appropriately high level of performance for passage, and that also considers teaching performance in the context of the empirical knowledge about instructional best practices for particular students, learning tasks and content, and curriculum needs.

We underscore the importance of sustaining the master’s degree as one of the benchmarks required for professional certification in the career ladder for teachers.  This, together with rigorous assessment of performance, is critical to sustain New York’s commitment to the development of a profession of teaching that is rigorous and coherent, and to insuring the highest standards for teachers in New York.  We would also support the idea of aligning the mentoring for, and individual plans of, new teachers to help them to progress in the professional development through, and beyond, the earning of a formal master’s degree.  Extending the time to complete the master’s degree to six years will provide an appropriate window for the development of outstanding professional teachers. 

Profiles of certifying institutions

The Professional Standards and Practices Board welcomes the opportunity for data that is accessible and transparent and verifiable, and that provides information for institutions with tools to track and monitor their graduates in service of their ongoing improvement of teacher preparation.  This data will further enable the work of the higher education institutions that are undertaking research on the question of what practices of teacher preparation are truly effective in the K-12 classrooms. 

It is important to note that all institutions are currently required to publicly report along many of the data points.  Currently, all teacher education programs must place on their web site the Title II program completers pass rates.  These pass rates are also profiled on the State Education Department Office of College and University Evaluation website.  In addition, under the Higher Education Opportunity Act Reauthorization, all teacher education programs will also have to report average scaled scores and a number of other performance measures, greatly increasing the regulatory requirements for teacher education programs. 

We also note that the desire to prepare teachers who will stay in the profession, and will do so in urban settings, may not be well served by the proposals to use data to showcase the performance of teacher preparation institution.  Indeed, there are many sources for the failures and departures of teachers in urban settings. The empirical literature indicates that the failure to sustain high quality teachers in schools stems largely from poor working conditions, and although it is clear that good teachers can make a difference in high-poverty schools, they cannot completely overcome the effects of poor school leadership or massive social problems in communities.  In this case, “report cards” may be more of a disincentive for institutions to place students in urban settings, than it is an incentive to improve teaching in urban settings. 

Pilot new teacher certification model

Currently, New York State offers a number of alternative certification avenues including Transition B, Internship Certificates, and similar programs.  Transcript Evaluation is an approved avenue in high need content areas.  In New York City, alternative certification candidates may also enter the Teaching Fellows Program, Teach for America, or other routes.  These avenues into teaching have placed New York at the vanguard of multiple routes into the profession of teaching.  Research on the alternative pathways for teachers in New York has provided evidence that the alternately-prepared teachers catch up with their traditionally-prepared peers.  However, this research has not yielded strong evidence that teachers prepared in alternative pathways either excel over the longer term or endure in the profession in the high needs schools over time.

We would respectfully question whether empirical evidence is available that would support the excellence and rigor of teacher preparation undertaken by an institution without either experience or expertise, and undertaken without the rigorous current requirements for registration as a teacher preparation program in New York, and with the subsequent external quality assurance review of accreditation.  Such a strategy would seem to be in direct conflict with the Regents standards for teacher preparation, and, further, would do so in the classrooms of the most vulnerable and at-risk youth. 

The Regents may want to advance, instead, a time-honored tradition of promoting partnerships of expertise between higher education and other areas of business, industry, and culture.  The IBM Transition to Teaching program is an excellent example of such a partnership, in which IBM and selected higher education institutions partner together to provide experienced individuals with the rigorous education and practice preparation, a fully executed master’s degree, and a shepherded entry into teaching practice.  This avenue into teaching, of course, requires the formal partnership of the two institutions (in this case, IBM and the higher education institution), the already-advanced knowledge of the teacher candidate, and the provision for appropriately mentored initiation into teaching practice.  This avenue, as an expanded pilot, would be an excellent innovation in teaching practice, and could be developed with appropriate benchmarks and metrics to evaluate success.

Demonstration of Content Knowledge

Content knowledge is absolutely critical in the preparation of teachers.  The alternative demonstration of content-knowledge proficiency is currently available in duly accredited institutions of higher education, which have a significant history of careful metrics and standards to assess the equivalency of knowledge attainment.  We caution that any rigorous assessment of content knowledge must comply with accepted standards of equivalency.

Expand recruitment and retention of teachers in STEM disciplines in high need schools/subjects

The Professional Standards and Practices Board is pleased to support and advocate for a broad range of incentives to draw the highest qualified teachers into critical areas of instruction.  We expect that other forms of incentive will also be needed to attract and retain the best teachers in mathematics, sciences, technology, and engineering (e.g., classroom supplies and equipment, reduced initial teaching load, mentoring for the new teacher; financial assistance, loan forgiveness programs, enhanced partnerships between education and STEM faculty for the higher education institutions).

We would note that there is no current single STEM certification route, and we would welcome the opportunity to explore the concept of an interdisciplinary STEM certification model to enhance teacher recruitment and program development. 

Consistent with our comment above, we would also underscore the critical need for the demonstration of content expertise in STEM disciplines be rigorous and consistent with standards of knowledge attainment equivalency.

In closing, the Professional Standards and Practices Board continues to serve the Board of Regents in promoting the excellence of teaching across the state.  We also welcome the opportunity to participate in the Regents’ work as they take on consideration of factors that will provide incentives for the most outstanding of our youth to consider, study for, enter into, and succeed in the most important profession of teaching. 


Debra A. Colley, Co-chair      Catalina R. Fortino, Co-chair
State Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching

cc:       Commissioner Steiner
Joseph P. Frey
Robert G. Bentley

State Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching

As of September 18, 2009

Dr. Debra A. Colley, Co-Chair
Niagara University

Ms. Catalina R. Fortino
UFT Teacher Center

Mr. Richard R. Ahola
Public Member
Pupil Transportation Safety Institute

Ms. Sheila Appel
Public Member

Dr. Coleen Clay. Department Chair
Teacher Education Department
York College CUNY

Ms. Allison Cugini
New York City Department of Education

Mr. Richard G. Feller
Board of Education
Monticello Central School District

Mrs. Cheryl Lee Freedman
Public Member
Region Director of the Central Hudson Region PTA

Dr. Eric R. Gidseg
Arlington Central School District

Dr. Jan P. Hammond
SUNY College at New Paltz
School of Education

Ms. Rosemary B. Harrigan
The Greater Capital Region Teacher Center

Dr. R. Lloyd Jaeger
Millbrook Central School District

Margaret Kaiser
Public Member
New York State Dance Force

Khalek Kirkland
Ronald Edmonds Learning Center-MS 113

Dr. Gerald M. Mager
School of Education
Syracuse University


John Mahony
Teacher Questar III
Columbia-Greene Educational Center

Ross Marvin
Union College Teacher Preparation Program

Ms. April D. McKoy
Bushwick Community School

Ms. Susan W. Mittler
Ithaca Teachers Association

Mr. Joseph F. Perez
Southern Westchester BOCES

Dr. Susan D. Phillips
University at Albany, SUNY

Ms. Patricia E. Roberts
Stewart School

Mr. Walter Robertson III
Dunkirk  City School District

Ms. Diane L. Rowe
Public Member
Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo

Dr. Pamela A. Sandoval
Assistant Provost
SUNY System Administration

Mr. Frank S. Scelsa
Lewiston-Porter High School

Dr. Gale Sookdeo
Susan B. Anthony IS 238 Q

Dr. Stephen J. Uebbing
Warner Graduate School of Education
and Human Development
University of Rochester

Last Updated: March 12, 2010