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Monthly Updates From the Center for School Partnerships and Teacher Certification

FEB ’14

“Getting To The Core” Welcome back to a new semester and I hope everyone enjoyed the break. Our focus this month is a topic that seems to be surfacing to the top and making the weekly news, the Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA). Results have been received from candidates across New York State who recently completed the edTPA assessment. Some candidates are not meeting the New York State passing score and are required to resubmit either the entire assessment or certain sections. You may be wondering how is SUNY Potsdam assisting the Teacher Candidates who were unsuccessful? As SUNY Potsdam’s edTPA Coordinator, the edTPA results are sent to me and I reach out to the Teacher Candidates who were not successful. After consulting with the Teacher Candidate, the Candidate is provided contact information for a faculty member from the program who works diligently assisting the candidate with a resubmission. At SUNY Potsdam, our goal is to assist our Teacher Candidates become successful and I proud to share with you that everyone including advisors, faculty, supervisors, administrators and the SUNY Potsdam edTPA team are pulling together in an effort to assist our Teacher Candidates. With that said, we all want to wish our Spring 2014 Teacher Candidates best wishes on successfully completing the edTPA.

“Bite By Bite” February ’14 Sun






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7:30 PM - Teacher Education Student Association Meeting, Satterlee Hall 301


7:30 PM - Teacher Education Student Association Meeting, Satterlee Hall 301

SAVE THE DATE: Teacher Education Student Association Annual Education Conference March 7-8, 2014 Do you have any dates that you would like us to publicize in 2014? Please send the event title with dates times/location to: Nicole Feml (

“Fresh Pick Of The Month” Joanne Stiles, NBCT

Clinical Faculty, Secondary English Education (Featured On Cover)

With Annual Professional Performance Review a reality in the world of P-12 education, teacher candidates must enter the teaching profession with a set of effective teaching skills. With its implementation of the newest certification requirement, the Education Teacher Performance Assessment (EdTPA), the New York State Education Department is guiding the new generation of teachers, beginning with the Class of 2014, to have positive APPR outcomes in their first year of teaching. The EdTPA portfolio assessment, which is to be completed during the first student teaching placement, requires teacher candidates to develop a learning segment, reflect the lesson taught, and analyze the outcomes of assessments, along with determining student growth and the next steps for instruction. Additionally, the candidate writes reflective commentaries at various stages of planning, implementing, and assessing. A resonating thread among the commentaries is student success serving as a guide for future classroom instruction. The teacher candidate must analyze student learning, provide students with feedback, determine if any re-teaching is necessary, and plan the next steps for instruction. Such is the life of an experienced teacher. Classroom teachers do this all of the time - often a process that is learned through a full semester of student teaching and refined during the first few years in the profession. EdTPA expects teacher candidates to demonstrate the skills of a beginning teacher as early as Week 4 out of 16 weeks of student teaching. Student teaching is the culminating experience for teacher preparation programs, and prior to the implementation of EdTPA, student teaching was indeed the time when teacher candidates put pedagogy to practice, particularly in regard to classroom management, assessment, and evaluation practices. EdTPA is daunting for the simple fact that the experiences reflected upon within the portfolio are limited; student knowledge is especially minimal. By no means are SUNY Potsdam’s teacher candidates being thrown to the wolves, nor are candidates expected to complete the EdTPA with no preparation or support. The SUNY Potsdam education programs began to incorporate EdTPA language and expectations into methodology courses and practicum experiences beginning in the spring of 2013. Faculty and student teacher supervisors have been trained with the EdTPA handbook, including how to provide constructive feedback to promote teacher candidate growth through the EdTPA process. Over the past year, through a variety of collaborations within the School of Education and Professional Studies, it became obvious that EdTPA has similarities to SUNY Potsdam’s Conceptual Framework (1999). First, the Reflective Practitioner expects teacher candidates to: use research to inform curriculum, instruction and assessment effectively; meet the diverse learning needs of students; apply knowledge of local, state, national and professional standards; promote inquiry, critical thinking and problem solving; create positive learning environments for all students; use research, reflection and discourse throughout one’s career. Second, the Framework’s expectation for a Well Educated Citizen shine through in the EdTPA with: critically analyzes and solves problems; understands and respects diverse cultures and our intercultural world; has a broad and deep understanding of the subject matter one teaches; models the skills, attitudes and values of inquiry appropriate to one’s discipline. Lastly, a few areas that stand out in the Principled Educator are: maintain a high level of competence and integrity in one’s practice; recognize and respect one’s own diversity and that of others; and demonstrate a willingness to take risks, be flexible, and show comfort with uncertainty. Since 1999 teacher candidates have been required to demonstrate all of the above, and now they must discuss these in the EdTPA portfolio commentaries. EdTPA is overwhelming at first glance and a scary endeavor for the teacher candidate. EdTPA may seem like hoop-jumping or simply “just another requirement.” In reality, the EdTPA provides teacher candidates with a fresh look at SUNY Potsdam’s Conceptual Framework and the Teacher Certification requirements. It must be considered a true tool for promoting learning and growth, ensuring that our teacher preparation programs are graduating newly certified teachers who are well prepared for today’s student-centered classroom and will earn the APPR title of “effective teacher” after one year of teaching. SUNY Potsdam’s Conceptual Framework for Teacher Preparation:

“Planting Seeds”

The Teacher Education Student Association (TESA) Annual Education Conference is scheduled on March 7 and 8, 2014 and will be held on SUNY Potsdam’s campus. TESA’s conference tradition is to bring together all education majors on SUNY Potsdam’s campus to offer free professional development. This conference bridges the gap between education programs and partners across New York State who are working in the field of education. A goal TESA hopes to accomplish this year, as has been done in the past, is to include a panel of SUNY Potsdam alumni who are currently working in the education system. Working closely with Nancy Griffin and the SUNY Potsdam Advancement Office last year, we able to have alumni come from all over the United States, including alumni from Virginia. This offered a great opportunity for students who wish to seek teaching positions in other areas to discuss requirements that are specific for Virginia. It is a wonderful opportunity to hear opinions from school employees about the N.Y.S. curriculum, as well as, opinions from parents and students. Therefore, the conference will include a panel of local parents and students who will speak with us about their perspectives on the newly implemented Common Core. As we have been taught, it takes a community working together to create an ideal learning environment for our future children. Without involvement and feedback from the parents and the students, we may not be able to see the entire picture.

The conference will span over two days and will help future teachers grasp a better understanding of the newly implemented Common Core and the profession of teaching. Another exciting component of this conference is TESA is partnering with Big Picture Instructional Design to bring a free showing of the film “Teach”. Only 50 universities across the United States were invited to participate and SUNY Potsdam was one of these campuses. If you are interested in attending the TESA conference or want more details, please contact Nicole Feml at TESA is also looking for speakers who are passionate about the field of education to present. We would like to include a variety of topics such as the common core, special education, bullying, behavior management and new teacher requirements. If you are interested in presenting, please contact Beth Sanford at by February 28, 2014.

“A Taste of Success” Alumni Spotlight:

Juliana Brush Early Childhood/Childhood Education

Future educators are going to overcome various obstacles in their educational career to become a teacher. The EdTPA is one task that all teachers must successfully complete in order to receive their certification. This may seem like a daunting and scary process, however, everyone can succeed in attaining his or her dream of becoming a teacher. If I was required to complete the EdTPA over again, there are a few things I would do differently. I would stress five tips to future teacher candidates: First, make sure to read the handbook a few times before entering your first placement. I stress reading this document multiple times so that one can fully understand what will be required of them during their first eight weeks in the schools. This will help teacher candidates to know what questions they should be asking when they immediately enter their classroom. Second, I would suggest following the deadline dates that supervisors provide. The process of reading the EdTPA handbook can make teacher candidates feel overwhelmed and anxious. However, these deadlines make the tasks more attainable and manageable for a teacher candidate. The deadlines break the tasks into portions allowing students to focus specifically on one task. Third, make sure you practice videotaping before your actual video. This allows you to find out what time of day is best to record. Teacher candidates should ask themselves, “Where should I place the tripod? What time of day has the best lighting?” Similarly, students will be able to get used to videotaping and forget that the camera is even there. At times, students can become camera shy or want to be in the spotlight, which can cause problems. Fourth, one should always have a backup plan for videotaping. If your videotaping device doesn’t work, what will you do? I was put into a position where my camera ended up not working for my taped lessons. Therefore, I had to scramble to find out how I would videotape. Problems may occur when you videotape, thus, a second option is always handy. If I had planned correctly, I would not have been as stressed as I was. Finally, and most importantly, every teacher candidate needs to realize that they are not in this boat alone; utilize the resources around you! Teacher candidates should have their peers proofread their commentaries. I believe these five tips will help lead all future teacher candidates on a successful path to completing the EdTPA. The task allows educators to display their best work and showcase the skills they have acquired. Finally, I leave you with one last request, to be positive. It’s all about one’s attitude.

Every teacher candidate must remember that they can pass, and they will with hard work and a positive attitude.

Amy Guiney, Director 111 Satterlee Hall (315) 267-3450

Nicole Feml, Assistant Director 112A Satterlee Hall (315) 267-3022

February newsletter