By Michelle Marasch Ouellette
Select from 50 to 60 of the best science, technology, engineering and math teachers in the North Country. Bring them to SUNY Plattsburgh. Then, pay them, help them to become even better at what they do and have them mentor new teachers.
That’s what a new initiative is setting out to do.
Announced by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in May, the NYS Master Teacher Program will initially recruit 250 of the best teachers in four of the state’s Regional Economic Development Zones — the North Country, Mid-Hudson, Central New York and Western New York. Recruitment will start this summer, with professional development beginning in the fall. Meanwhile, the remaining six economic development zones will be added to the mix next spring.
The program will pay the teachers a stipend of $15,000 per year for four years; provide them access to other master teachers; offer them extensive professional development through the State University of New York; and set them up as mentors to new and incoming teachers.
SUNY Plattsburgh was selected to serve as the program’s North Country hub with Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., serving as a research partner. Meanwhile, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Cortland and Buffalo State will play host in the other three regions.
“Your campus, with its model education department, was a clear choice to become a ‘base camp’ for this program in your region,” SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher wrote in a letter informing President John Ettling of the selection.
Dr. Michael Morgan, dean of SUNY Plattsburgh’s Division of Education, Health and Human Services, said he was excited to be part of this initiative.
According to Morgan, the college’s Teacher Education Unit and the North Country Teacher Resource Center, located on campus, will work together in support of these efforts.
“The close collaboration between our college and the Teacher Resource Center provides a strong foundation on which to build professional development for master teachers and student-teacher candidates,” Morgan said.
“At SUNY Plattsburgh, we are dedicated to helping all teachers become master teachers, and we believe the governor’s initiative can only add to our efforts,” Ettling said. “We look forward to assisting with this program and helping our teacher-education candidates learn the best practices from the best teachers out there.”
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