School of Education Resident Fellows and Amsterdam High School Develop a Rewarding Partnership
Seventeen graduate students began a year-long teaching internship at Amsterdam High School this fall. This is the third cohort of UAlbany School of Education (SOE) students in the final year of a pilot program for Graduate Level Clinically Rich Teacher Preparation. The goal of the program is to prepare the next generation of special educators to work with 21st century high school students in high-needs schools. It is a joint effort between the SOE's Division of Special Education and Department of Reading, and is funded by the New York State Education Department.
Amsterdam High School Principal David Ziskin said of the partnership, "Our three year relationship with SUNY Albany's Graduate Level Clinically Rich Teacher Preparation Pilot Program has been a fantastic experience for our students and faculty! This initiative has had a transformational impact on instruction and our collective mindset relating to students with disabilities. The Resident Fellows have been a strong support to our students, and our teachers have received access to high quality professional growth opportunities because of their association with the grant."
The master's degree students in the pilot program--who are known as Resident Fellows--engage in a 67-credit program of study including coursework, multiple field experiences and practica in childhood education, special education, and literacy. Resident Fellows serve as consultants and resource support teachers at Amsterdam High School in a full year internship, where they support and differentiate instruction for students with disabilities. The Fellows gain invaluable experience in the internship at AHS, and upon graduation will be eligible for four New York State teaching certificates.
Teachers and administrators at Amsterdam High School speak highly of the collaboration with SOE, noting that having committed adults offering diverse approaches to teaching and learning in the students' lives, increases the students' potential for success. Teachers and Resident Fellows have reported improvements in attendance, homework completion, and academic performance by many of the students receiving support by the University at Albany Resident Fellows. The Fellows also participate in many relevant school and community activities that involve their students.
UAlbany clinical supervisor, Lisa Grippo-Gardner, and the new coordinator of special education field experiences, Matt LaFave, are on hand at Amsterdam High School as a resource for both the Mentor Teachers and the Fellows. UAlbany participants also include Jane Domaracki, other special education and reading faculty (including Deborah May and Cheryl Dozier) and consultants.
(Written by Elizabeth Skrobela, Director of Communications and Assistant to the Dean, School of Education)