Sep 27, 2021  
2018-2019 SUNY Potsdam Academic Catalog 
2018-2019 SUNY Potsdam Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Teacher Preparation


The School of Education and Professional Studies is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), 2010 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20036; phone: (202) 466-7496. Accreditation covers initial teacher preparation programs and advanced educator preparation programs. NCATE is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation to accredit programs for the preparation of teachers and other professional school personnel.

Mission Statement (1995)

Education programs at SUNY Potsdam are committed to the preparation and enhancement of teachers who are grounded in disciplinary knowledge emanating from the arts and sciences and in curricular and instructional theory and practice. The departments strive to assist teachers to become reflective practitioners, lifelong learners, and persons able to integrate their knowledge of subject matter, pedagogy, students, the school and the larger community to maximize the education and welfare of students.

SUNY Potsdam education programs are committed to preparing and sustaining teachers who hold knowledge and attitudes needed in dealing with the challenges facing schools today and in the future. Some of the new challenges include: increased diversity of the student population in terms of abilities, linguistics, ethnic and cultural backgrounds; rapid technological advancements; changes in assessment practices; and school restructuring and reform.

Education Unit Conceptual Framework (2014)

The conceptual framework is organized around the vision statement, A Tradition of Excellence: Preparing Creative and Reflective Educators. The three major strands in the framework are Well-Educated Citizen, Reflective Practitioner and Principled Educator.

Well-Educated Citizen

  • critically analyzes and solves problems
  • organizes thought and communicates effectively
  • understands history and our social and political institutions
  • understands and respects diverse cultures and our intercultural world
  • understands the impact of science and technology on our lives
  • uses technology appropriately for research, analysis, and communication, and exhibits information literacy
  • has experience creating and appreciating the arts
  • 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

Reflective Practitioner

  • models inquiry, practice, and reflection
  • uses research to inform curriculum, instruction and assessment effectively
  • meets the diverse learning needs of students
  • applies knowledge of local, state, national and professional standards
  • utilizes instructional and assistive technology effectively
  • promotes inquiry, critical thinking, and problem solving
  • creates positive learning environments for all students
  • uses research, reflection and discourse throughout one’s career
  • prepares to become an instructional leader

Principled Educator

  • behaves in a professional manner
  • maintains a high level of competence in one’s practice
  • demonstrates a willingness to be flexible, take risks, and show comfort with uncertainty
  • works well with others
  • takes responsibility for one’s own actions
  • recognizes and respects one’s own diversity and that of others
  • fosters positive relationships with students, parents, administrators, colleagues, and agencies in the community to support student learning and well being

Policies for Education Program

Admission and Advising for Education Programs

Students are accepted into Childhood/Early Childhood Education or Adolescence/Secondary Education programs with a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 (83 high school GPA). All students who wish to pursue Childhood/Early Childhood or Adolescence Education are required to complete the declaration process by following these steps:

  • Long on to BearPAWS
  • Click “Student Services & Financial Aid”
  • Click “Education Major Forms”
  • Click “Undergraduate Declaration Form”

Students in the Childhood/Early Childhood Education program complete an arts and science concentration and a specialization in one of the following areas: English, mathematics, biology, chemistry, geology, physics or social sciences/history. Students in this program also learn to address the special developmental and educational needs of elementary students. The emphasis on academic preparation in the liberal arts and the specialization area strengthens student knowledge base in preparation for teaching.

Students in the Adolescence/Secondary Education programs complete an arts and sciences major appropriate to the area of certification and learn to address the special developmental and educational needs of middle level and high school students. The emphasis on academic preparation in a content area strengthens student qualifications both for careers in teaching and graduate study in their liberal arts major.

Additional Criteria:

  • Students must meet with their education adviser at least once each semester. Students cannot register for education courses without permission from their education adviser. Advisers work with students to help them successfully progress through their education program. It is the student’s responsibility to seek accurate information from College advisers and identify a timeframe for completion of all program requirements.
  • Students must fulfill the program’s Gates/Benchmarks and Dispositional Framework criteria in order to remain in an Education program.

Specific Childhood/Early Childhood Education policies, Education Gates/Benchmarks and Dispositional Framework can be found at:

Specific Secondary Education Gates/Benchmarks and Dispositional Framework can be found at:

Pre-Student Teaching Field Experiences

Students planning to become teachers in the State of New York are required to have 100 hours of continuous pre-student teaching field experiences in public schools and other educational settings. To meet this requirement, the education programs have developed a variety of opportunities for candidates to complete field experience requirements. Every attempt is made to locate appropriate pre-student teaching field experience placements in the local area. All pre-student teaching field experience placements must be made by the Center for School Partnerships and Teacher Certification and not by the candidates themselves.

While the New York State Education Department regulations for teacher education programs require successful completion of all field experiences, admittance to a teacher education program does not guarantee access to any public school. School districts reserve the right to screen and select all pre-service candidates before allowing them into classrooms for field experiences.

All candidates must complete the finger printing process prior to beginning any field experiences.

Conduct unbecoming of a professional teacher, or reasonable belief that the student is unfit to be a teacher, may be grounds for dismissal from a field experience or an education program.

Guidelines and Regulations

Candidates apply online for student teaching two-three semesters before the intended student teaching semester. Candidates must read and be familiar with the contents of the Guide to Student Teaching, available online at:

Grade Point Requirements for Student Teaching

Students must complete all program-designated required courses before the student teaching semester. Candidates should also note that additional college courses may not be taken during student teaching. In order to enroll in student teaching or be recommended for a teaching certificate, teacher candidates need to meet specific program gate requirements. It is the responsibility of the teacher candidate to be familiar with these gates. If unsure, teacher candidates need to contact their education adviser.

Please Note: These criteria are subject to change; candidates are responsible for being aware of the current requirements for program completion.

Student Teaching Placements

Candidates must complete a semester-long, College-supervised student teaching experience in order to be recommended for certification. The placement of candidates in all School of Education and Professional Studies-supervised field experiences is at the discretion of the Center for School Partnerships and Teacher Certification. Placements are made according to students’ subject areas, availability of College supervisors, the willingness of public schools to accept teacher candidates, and the College’s commitment to serve public schools equally. The school designee will assign classroom placements in cooperation with the Center for School Partnerships and Teacher Certification.

The screening process for student teaching may require employment history, personal and employment references, an interview, and testing. Every applicant for student teaching will be asked if he or she has a criminal record. A photograph will also be required from any individual who works with children. Authorization by the applicant must be given to the College to release information that is critical to teaching performance to the public school prior to or during the placement process. The School of Education and Professional Studies reserves the right to dismiss any candidate determined to be unfit for the teaching profession at any time.

Prospective SUNY Potsdam students are advised that the student teaching experience is offered in certain counties within the state. Due to limited placement possibilities, it is impossible to place every student in the community he or she desires. The College cannot guarantee a field experience placement at any location or in any semester. No assurances are given in regard to students’ preferences for teaching placements. No self-placements are considered and no out-of-state placements are possible. Student teaching may be arranged in New York City and abroad through the programs described below.

SUNY Urban Teacher Education Center (SUTEC)

The Center for School Partnerships and Teacher Certification at SUNY Potsdam works closely with the SUNY Urban Teacher Education Center (, under the direction of the New York City Department of Education. SUTEC’s primary mission is to assist the 17 SUNY campuses that offer teacher preparation programs in the placement of teacher candidates in New York City public schools. These experiences prepare prospective teachers to become competent and confident professionals in urban, multicultural education environments. SUTEC also facilitates the recruitment of SUNY teacher education graduates for New York City schools and provides an academic center for scholarship and research on urban education.

Prospective and current candidates are welcome to contact or visit the SUTEC office in New York City to talk with the Director about the opportunities for student teaching in New York City and other issues relating to their student teaching, the housing application process, or future employment in the city schools.

Student Teaching Abroad Program

Student Teaching Abroad (STA) in Australia is coordinated through SUNY Potsdam’s Office of International Education, the Center for School Partnerships and Teacher Certification, Colin Balfour, Co-Director, and SUNY Cortland. Applications and further information is available online at

Certification Procedures

Beginning February 2, 2014, candidates approved by the State Education Department first receive a five-year Initial Certification. Initial Certification requirements include completion of the following (requirements are subject to change):

  • a degree
  • HLTH 230 /HLTH 530  School Health (CA, SAVE and DASA) or the equivalent submission of fingerprints
  • successful completion of the Educating All Students (EAS) exam
  • successful completion of the Content Specialty Test (CST) exam
  • successful completion of the Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA)

Additional information about the New York State Teacher Certification Exams can be found at

Professional Certification requirements include successful completion of the following within five years of receiving the Initial Certification:

  • A Master’s degree “functionally relevant” to the initial certificate
  • Three years of teaching
  • First-year mentored experience
  • The Content Specialty Test (CST) if applicable

Candidates completing their master’s degree leading to a professional certification at SUNY Potsdam will be recommended by the Certification Officer. In order to maintain a professional certificate, candidates must complete 100 hours of professional development every five years from the date on their professional certificate.

Individuals interested in seeking additional certifications or alternative certifications should contact their regional BOCES Certification Officer. A listing Regional Certification Offices can be found at

Out-of-State Verification forms should be sent to the Certification Officer for completion.

The certification process is complex and the requirements are subject to change. For clarification and assistance, contact the Certification Officer at (315) 267-3450.