TEACH System

Instructional Letter to Colleges

To: Deans of Teacher Education Programs

From: Robert G. Bentley

Date: April 10, 2006

In Re: TEACH System Helpful Tips

As promised I am forwarding to you some ‘tips’ to help your transition from the old paper application system to the new TEACH System. We hope that these helpful tips will facilitate your college recommendation process.

How does TEACH work for college recommended applicants?

TEACH is a web-based teacher certification database, online application, and teacher certification system. The online application/recommendation process matches the applicant’s self-reported education and the certificate for which he/she applies, to the recommendation submitted by the college.

TEACH uses the Inventory of Registered Programs (IRP) to validate that the student completed the appropriate program for the certificate type and title for which he/she applied and that the recommendation is appropriate to the certificate type and title (i.e. the program the college attests the student completed leads to the certificate type and title they are recommending). When the application, fee, and recommendation align in TEACH, TEACH looks to make sure the other requirements are met (such as passing exam scores and fingerprinting) and then issues the certificate. In many instances for Initial Classroom Teaching and Provisional Pupil Personnel and Administration certificates, this will be done overnight as soon as everything comes together. For other certificate types where experience or school district employment is necessary (i.e. Permanent or Professional), a review of the application will be conducted by staff and if experience/employment is determined to be satisfactory, the certificate will be issued.

TEACH will not accommodate College Recommended applications for certificates that are not tied to the certificates listed in the IRP for that program. For example, if a student completed a registered program leading to Initial certificate in Physical Education, he/she cannot use that program to also apply for Initial certificate in Physics. However, if a program is registered to lead to more than one certificate, TEACH will allow the student to apply for any additional certificate(s) listed for that program in the IRP. Your recommendation(s) will determine whether or not the applicant has completed the programs for the certificate(s) for which he/she applied. For example, if a program is registered to lead to Initial Childhood Education Grades 1-6 and the Initial Bilingual Education Extension, the student may apply for both certificates. If you find that the student did not complete all requirements to be recommended for the Bilingual Education extension, you would only recommend for Childhood Education Grades 1-6.

Who should be recommended?

Because students will apply and pay for certification on their own and you may not know whether or not they have applied, we suggest that you submit recommendations for all of your program completers. TEACH will store your recommendations until an application is submitted and we are able to match the recommendation to the application. We realize that this may be a change in your current procedures and that not every student who completes your program will apply for certification in New York State. That is okay, TEACH will hold the recommendation and if a student decides to apply for certification years down the road, the recommendation will be on file. In these cases, the effective date of the certificate will be set based on when the application came in and requirements were ‘checked off’ (i.e. the next effective date after the application is submitted and exams are passed).

How to submit recommendations

There are two ways to submit recommendations: individually, one at a time or through a bulk file transmission.

Individual recommendations require that you search for the student in our data base using the student’s social security number. If the student does not exist in our database, you will have to enter certain identifying information such as first name, last name, and date of birth. You will then proceed to enter the recommendation including the following information:

  • Institution (defaulted to your institution when you log in)
  • Award Title (drop down list of all award titles ascribed to your institution by the IRP)
  • Program Code/Name (drop down list of all programs associated to your institution and available for that award title)
  • Certificate Title and Type (drop down list of all certificate titles and types available for that program)
  • Degree Date (enter the date the degree was awarded)

Bulk recommendations can be submitted using the file format attached to this document. You merely create a file in Access or Excel (or a comma delimited flat file) and copy and paste the data from the file into the Bulk Recommendation window in TEACH. If you prefer, you may also enter each recommendation directly into the Bulk Recommendation window. You may submit up to 500 records at a time using the bulk transmission process. It takes approximately 1 minute to process 50 records, so you should plan to submit bulk recommendations when you have time to let the system process the records without interruption (if the bulk transmission process is interrupted, you will have to resubmit the entire file).

TEACH will process each record and return error messages for each record it cannot process. You will have the ability to resubmit these records either via individual submission or via the bulk process, once you have corrected the data.

Assisting the Student Applicant

The online application process should be very familiar to students graduating from colleges in this decade. We have endeavored to make the application process as intuitive as possible. It is very similar to creating a ‘hotmail’ account or making an online purchase. We have utilized many current online features such as a requirements search engine and filtered, applicant-specific dropdown menus to streamline and narrow down options.

While the application process itself is easy, there is specific information that your students, as graduates of approved teacher preparation programs, must know in order to assure that their application and your recommendation match and issue the appropriate certificate. We advise you to provide each student all of the information they will need to complete their application. A mock-up student application information sheet is also attached for your convenience.

Students will be required to access TEACH via the Office of Teaching Initiatives Web site (www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert)  ; create a user login and password; create their user profile (including entering their self-reported education history and teaching experience if applicable); complete the online application (including requesting certificate type and title); and make their payment either online or by printing a coupon and submitting a money order. Below is a step-by-step guide through the application process.


Create User Login and Password

In order to apply online, your students will enter TEACH System via our Office of Teaching Initiatives Web site at www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert  and create a TEACH login and password at the New York State Directory Services. Instructions are provided as they go. Once they have created their login and password this step is completed and they never have to repeat this process (unless they forget their password).

Completing the Application

Step 1 – Create Applicant Profile

This is where the student enters his/her personal information and preferences (such as opting to be included in the statewide teacher clearinghouse or having most correspondence from us transmitted via email). This is also where the applicant enters his/her self-reported education and work experience. These are important because, as you will recall, TEACH allows applicants to choose a certificate and the Approved Teacher Preparation Program Pathway based upon the education they report in their Profile section.

The applicant will enter their education in the following format:

  1. Click in the radio button that states "Approved New York State Certification Programs: Select this radio button if you completed an approved program at a New York State institution that leads to a recommended teaching certificate."
  2. Enter education information
    1. Institution: drop down list of New York State higher education institutions with teacher preparation programs (FYI, schools are listed together alphabetically. All CUNY schools are listed as CUNY Brooklyn, CUNY Queens, etc; all SUNY institutions are listed as SUC Buffalo or SUNY Buffalo, etc; independents are listed as they fall in the alphabet.)
    2. Award Title: drop down list of awards associated with the chosen institution
    3. Program: drop down list of programs available at the chosen institution and with the chosen award title
    4. Major: this is a generic list of common majors used for internal purposes only
    5. Date Degree Received: enter date of degree
    6. Attended From: enter date education began
    7. Attended To: enter date education ended
    8. Number of Credits: enter number of credits earned

Step 2 – Select Certificate(s)

This is where the applicant chooses his/her certificate type and title. The applicant will choose from a series of 5 dynamically filtered dropdowns to arrive at the appropriate certificate for the program they completed. These dropdown menus are exactly the same as in Search Certification Requirements.

  • The applicant must select a certificate that is appropriate to the program he/she indicates in the self-reported education portion of the applicant profile.
  • The applicant should select the radio button Pathway: Approved Teacher Preparation Program
  • The applicant may apply for more than one certificate in the same session
  • If the applicant is also applying for a certificate for which they did not complete a program and will not be recommended, they must apply for this certificate via the Individual Evaluation Pathway

Step 3 – Sign Affidavit

The applicant will answer the child support and moral character questions here then sign the affidavit. If the applicant answers "yes" to any of the moral character questions, he/she must enter an explanation in the text box provided. The applicant will sign the affidavit by clicking on the button "Sign Affidavit."

Step 4 – Sign Application

The applicant will sign the application by clicking on the button "Sign Application" attesting that all statements and information they provided in the application are true. Please note, up to this point (signing the application), the applicant may back-out of the application process – no certificate or affidavit information will be saved. After the application is signed, the application is saved and submitted.

Step 5 – Make Payment

Applicants have the choice to pay their application fee online using a credit card or to print out the payment coupon and mail in a US Postal Money Order. Upon completing the payment process, TEACH will perform an automated evaluation and return a list of unmet requirements. The applicant can print this out and use it to track their completion of unmet requirements.

We hope you find these ‘tips’ helpful and that you use them to assist you as you submit your recommendations. In the event you experience problems or have technical difficulties, we will be providing technical support via email at teachhelp@mail.nysed.gov  and telephone at (518) 486-6041. Please note, these forums are not intended or equipped to provide answers to questions about certification or IRP related queries. College staff should direct their questions about certification to Mr. Charles McCarthy of the Office of Teaching Initiatives (OTI) at (518) 474-4661 and questions about the IRP should be directed to your contact person in the Office of College and University Evaluation (OCUE).

Last Updated: September 2, 2009