Alternate Routes Policy
The state should ensure that its alternate routes provide efficient preparation that is relevant to the immediate needs of new teachers, as well as intensive induction support. The bar for this goal was raised in 2017.
New York offers three alternate certification pathways: Transitional B, Transitional C, and Transitional G certificates.
Coursework Requirements: New York's Transitional B route includes an introductory component that requires candidates to complete 200 clock hours of coursework, including 40 clock hours of field experiences. At least six of the field-based hours must be focused on meeting the needs of students with disabilities. The state has set a wide range of coursework for Transitional B candidates to complete. In addition to learning about child development, instructional planning and classroom management, new teachers must also be instructed in such coursework as the historical, social and legal foundations of education and instructing students in the prevention of child abduction. The Transitional B route also requires candidates to complete an in-service program component, during which candidates must complete credit-bearing courses and seminars that are designed to link educational theory with classroom experience.
Transitional G candidates must provide evidence of having completed at least 70 hours of professional development targeted toward appropriate pedagogical skills over the two years they are employed by districts teaching on this certificate.
Transitional B, C and G candidates must a set number of hours of training in child abuse identification, school violence prevention and intervention, and harassment prevention and intervention.
Induction Support: New York's Transitional B candidates receive both intensive mentoring during their first eight weeks and continued support during the remainder of the time the candidate is enrolled in the program and teaching. Program faculty, the school principal, the mentor and the candidate are required to meet at least once every three months during the first year of mentored teaching and periodically thereafter.
Transitional C candidates receive mentoring for two years. The state requires that daily mentoring occur for at least the first 20 days of teaching.
Transitional G candidates must receive mentoring and appropriate professional development in the areas of pedagogy from their employing districts.
Supervised Practice Teaching Requirements: New York requires that Transitional B candidates participate in field experiences, which must include supervised student teaching experiences. The state does not, however, requires these same experiences for candidates being prepared for Transitional C and G certificates.
8 CRR-NY 52.21(b)(3), (b)(3)(xvi), & (xvii); 80-5.13, -5.14, & -5.22
Establish coursework guidelines for alternate route preparation programs.
New York should articulate streamlined guidelines regarding the nature and amount of coursework required of candidates. Requirements should be manageable given the time constraints of a novice teacher and contribute to the immediate needs of new teachers. Appropriate coursework should include grade-level or subject-level seminars, methodology in the content area, classroom management, and scientifically based early reading instruction. Further, the state should not permit alternate route programs to overburden new teachers. Setting minimum requirements, without established maximums, does not ensure that the new teacher will be able to complete the program in an appropriate amount of time.
Strengthen the induction experience for new teachers.
Although New York requires all new teachers to work with a mentor, it is unclear that the mentoring programs—particularly for Transitional C and G candidates—are structured for new teacher success. The state should strengthen its induction experience by providing for: full classroom support in the first few weeks or months of school, a reduced teaching load, and release time to allow new teachers to observe experienced teachers during each school day.
Require opportunities to practice teach.
While New York is commended for offering practice teaching experiences to Transitional B candidates, the state should extend this requirement to ensure that all candidates are provided with a practice teaching experience prior to their placement in the classroom.
New York was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis.
5B: Preparation for the Classroom
Alternate route programs must provide practical, meaningful preparation that is sensitive to a new teacher's workload and stress level. Too many states have policies requiring alternate route programs to "backload" large amounts of traditional education coursework, thereby preventing the emergence of real alternatives to traditional preparation. This issue is especially important given the large proportion of alternate route teachers who complete this coursework while teaching. Alternate route teachers often have to deal with the stresses of beginning to teach while also completing required coursework in the evenings and on weekends. States need to be careful to require participants only to meet standards or complete coursework that is practical and immediately helpful to a new teacher. That is, while advanced pedagogy coursework may be meaningful for veteran teachers, alternate route coursework should build on more fundamental teaching competencies such as classroom management techniques, reading instruction, or curriculum delivery.
Most new teachers—regardless of their preparation—find themselves overwhelmed by taking on their own classrooms. This is especially true for alternate route teachers, who may have had considerably less classroom exposure or pedagogy training than traditionally prepared teachers. States must ensure that alternate route programs do not leave new teachers to "sink or swim" on their own when they begin teaching. It is critical that all alternate route programs provide at least a brief student teaching or other supervised practice experience for candidates before they enter the classroom, as well as ongoing induction support during those first critical months as a new teacher.