Jul 25, 2024  
2022-2023 SUNY Potsdam Academic Catalog 
2022-2023 SUNY Potsdam Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Education Program Policies


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.Our Teacher Education Programs are currently seeking accreditation with the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Vision and Mission Statement


With roots as an early Normal School in the far northern rural region of the State of New York, SUNY Potsdam continuously strives to cultivate teachers to become leaders, critical thinkers, reflective practitioners, and lifelong learners.


For both initial certification and advanced programs, SUNY Potsdam is dedicated and committed to:

  • preparation of teacher candidates grounded in disciplinary knowledge emanating from the liberal arts and sciences, and in curricular and instructional theory and practice.
  • preparation and support of teacher candidates from diverse backgrounds, to maximize the education and welfare of all P-12 students.
  • active learning of its teacher candidates to integrate content knowledge, innovative pedagogy, and student-centered values in collaboration with P-12 partners and in alignment with local, regional, state, national, and international communities.
  • teacher candidates’ acquisition and application of knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to meet the continuously evolving needs of P-12 schools.

Education Unit Conceptual Framework

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

Education Program Policies

Admission into Education Programs

Teacher Candidates are accepted into Childhood/Early Childhood Education or Adolescence/Secondary Education programs with a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 (83 high school GPA).

Candidates 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. Candidates 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 candidate knowledge base in preparation for teaching.

Candidates 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 candidate qualifications both for careers in teaching and graduate study in their liberal arts major.

Candidates will receive a welcome letter from the Center for School Partnership and Teacher Certification and will attend a Teacher Education Orientation during their first semester enrolled in an education program.

Advising and Benchmarks

Candidates must meet with their education adviser at least once each semester. Candidates cannot register for education courses without permission from their education adviser. Advisers work with candidates to help them successfully progress through their education program. It is the candidate’s responsibility to seek accurate information from College advisers and identify a timeframe for completion of all program requirements.

Education courses (EDLS, EDUC and SECD courses) require a minimum grade of 2.7 or above, therefore these courses will not satisfy the requirement if candidates elect the S/P/U grading option. 

Candidates 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: www.potsdam.edu/academics/SOEPS/education/advising/CEC

Specific Secondary Education Gates/Benchmarks and Dispositional Framework can be found at: www.potsdam.edu/academics/SOEPS/education/advising/secondaryed.cfm

Dispositional Framework

Candidates in professional education certification programs are expected to demonstrate values and attitudes that are consistent with the highest professional standards. Candidates must continuously demonstrate these qualities in concrete ways in their interactions with their peers, with college faculty, with personnel in the cooperating schools, and especially with school students. Candidates will be assessed on their dispositions throughout their education program by faculty and cooperating teachers. Additionally, Candidates will complete guided dispositional self-assessments several times during the program.

Elementary Disposition Framework may be found here: https://www.potsdam.edu/sites/default/files/documents/academics/SOEPS/education/advising/New-CE-ECE-Education-Disposition-Form-1-09.pdf

Secondary Disposition Framework may be found here: https://www.potsdam.edu/sites/default/files/documents/academics/SOEPS/education/advising/ratingscale-2.pdf

Knowledge, skills and dispositions unbecoming of a professional teacher, or reasonable belief that the candidate is unfit to be a teacher, may be grounds for dismissal from a field experience or an education program.

Student Support Services

 In addition to the academic support offered by faculty, advisors, librarians, campus staff, and the Student Success Center, the Teacher Candidates Learning Center offers all candidates support in developing their skills through programs such as the “Write Well / Teach Well” program and through digital badges such as the “Writing Your Way In: Tools for Success with College Writing” Badge.

Pre-Student Teaching Field Experiences

Candidates 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. Additionally, for programs with more than one certification area, there is an additional 50 hours of pre-student teaching field experiences. To meet this requirement, the education programs have developed a variety of opportunities for candidates to complete field experience requirements.

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.

Preparing for Pre-Student Teaching Field Experiences

Candidates apply online for pre-student teaching field experiences one semester before the intended pre-student teaching field experience semester.           

Candidates will receive an email from the Center for School Partnerships and Teacher Certification requiring them to attend a mandatory Pre-student Teaching Field Experience Preparation Session to review the requirements to enter the field and the expectations while in the field. Candidate will not be cleared to begin their field experience until they attend this session and complete all requirements. All candidates must complete the NYS Department of Education finger printing process prior to beginning any field experiences.

Candidates must read and be familiar with the contents of the Field Experience Guidebook, available online at: https://www.potsdam.edu/academics/SOEPS/teacher-education/center-school-partnerships-and-teacher-certification/field-experiences

Student Teaching

Candidates must complete a semester-long, College-supervised student teaching experience to be recommended for 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.

Grade Point Requirements for Student Teaching

Candidates must complete all program-designated required courses before the student teaching semester. Candidates should also note that additional college courses cannot be taken during student teaching. 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.

Preparing for Student Teaching

Candidates apply online for student teaching two semester before the intended student teaching semester.           

Candidates will receive an email from the Center for School Partnerships and Teacher Certification requiring them to attend a mandatory Student Teaching Preparation Session to review the requirements to enter the field and the expectations while in the field. Candidate will not be cleared to begin their student teaching until they attend this session and complete all requirements.

Candidates must read and be familiar with the contents of the Guide to Student Teaching, available online at: https://www.potsdam.edu/academics/SOEPS/teacher-education/center-school-partnerships-and-teacher-certification/student-teaching-guidebook

Placement Information

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.

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.

Prospective SUNY Potsdam students are advised that the student teaching experience is offered across New York State. However, every request may not be granted due to district polices, lack of veteran teachers who are able and willing to sponsor, etc. Many districts are now requiring affiliation agreements and candidates are not permitted to seek their own placements.  SUNY Potsdam offers exciting opportunities for candidates to student teach in New York City as indicated 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 (www.suny.edu/sutec), 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.

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)
  • completion of the fingerprinting process as outlined by NYSED
  • successful completion of the Educating All Students (EAS) exam
  • successful completion of the Content Specialty Test (CST) exam

Additional information about the New York State Teacher Certification Exams can be found at www.nystce.nesinc.com.

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 http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/certificate/regionalcenters.html.

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.