Nyack's School of Education: National Recognition...Times Nine

Posted by Deborah.Walker on Sunday February 14, 2016


Dean of Nyack College School of Education Dr. JoAnn Looney (pictured) proudly shared a national recognition report from Director of Assessment Kristen Luba. Says Dean Looney, "Thank you to Kristen for her leadership and  for the skillful completion of these reports and to the faculty and staff of the SoE who collaborated, redesigned and rewrote assessments and curricula to meet these standards. I thank God for our small, but mighty group!"

The following is the notice prepared and submitted by Prof. Luba, who also serves as Accreditation Coordinator and Field Experience Coordinator, Rockland County.

7 distinct sets of standards to meet;

9 teacher preparation programs to report;

50+ assessments and their data to present;

900+ pages to write and submit.

Challenge met!

It is a pleasure to announce that Nyack College’s School of Education received national recognition for all nine of its programs that prepare graduates for New York State teacher certification!

This is also great news for maintaining the School’s national accreditation status and for maintaining the School’s program registration with the New York State Education Department.

Teacher education is a field for which continuous improvement and accountability are fundamental realities. While Nyack College’s School of Education achieved national accreditation status from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) in 2012, part of maintaining accreditation is an ongoing process combining regular self-study and various levels of peer review every 3-4 years. In September 2015, the School of Education submitted nine program reports to be reviewed by the national-level specialized professional agencies (SPAs) overseeing various segments of teacher education, such as early childhood education or math education. To put it in perspective, that is a separate SPA report for each major/certification track in the School of Education!

The SPAs each have their own sets of standards and sub-standards pertaining to their segment of teaching. Similar foci across all sets of standards are related to three major areas: demonstrating the content knowledge of candidates graduating from programs, demonstrating candidates’ ability to plan meaningful learning tasks, and demonstrating candidates’ positive impact on children’s or adolescents’ learning in the classroom. Each of the nine reports was required to specify six or more assessments used by Nyack’s School of Education to monitor the ability of program candidates to meet the field’s standards and, thereby, the effectiveness of the faculty in training tomorrow’s teachers. The reports detailed the assessments’ alignment to SPA standards, raw data collected on candidates completing the programs’ assessments, and a self-study analyzing the data in a way that indicated program strengths and next steps for program improvement. The reports averaged 100 pages in length each—a substantial opportunity for transparency, self-reflection, and professional accountability.

After thorough review, the SPAs recognized the following programs (SPAs are in parentheses):

  • Adolescence Education: English Specialization, B.S. (National Council of Teachers of English)
  • Adolescence Education: Social Studies Specialization, B.S. (National Council for the Social Studies)
  • Adolescence Education: Mathematics Specialization, B.S. (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics)
  • Childhood Education, B.S. (Association for Childhood Education International as reviewed by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation); this includes the Childhood Education portion of the dual certification Early Childhood-Childhood Education, B.S. and the Childhood Education portion of the dual certification Childhood Special Education, B.S./M.S.
  • Childhood Education, M.S. (Association for Childhood Education International as reviewed by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation)
  • Childhood Special Education, M.S.* (Council for Exceptional Children); this includes the Special Education portion of the dual certification Childhood Special Education, B.S./M.S.
  • Early Childhood Education, B.S. (National Association for the Education of Young Children); this includes the Early Childhood portion of the Early Childhood-Childhood Education, B.S.
  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, M.A.T.* (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages International Association)
  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, M.S.* (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages International Association)

Three of the nine reports represented programs that were nationally recognized for the first time by their SPAs*—mainly brand new, master’s level programs. These reports represent a significant achievement that required the cooperation of all School of Education faculty and support staff. These reports also represent the significant contributions of our local schools and teachers who partner with the School of Education in hosting, mentoring and preparing candidates in the field prior to graduation.

This particular challenge to meet SPA standards has been met, but the continual fight for excellence will never have a finish line. An optional evaluation of assessment instruments is due in April to representatives from our newest accreditation agency, the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The evaluation will include a look at several assessment instruments have been redesigned in the past two years in collaboration with local school teachers. We are looking for positive feedback again from the CAEP evaluation, just as from the SPA review. A full self-study will be submitted to CAEP in 2017 with an on-site visit by peer reviewers anticipated in 2018.

The next challenge is accepted!

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