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Elementary Inclusive Education
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Elementary Inclusive Education

In the Department of Curriculum & Teaching

FAQs > Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

I DIDN'T MAJOR IN EDUCATION AND I DON'T HAVE TEACHING EXPERIENCE BUT I WANT TO BE A TEACHER. CAN I APPLY TO THIS PROGRAM?

Yes.  This program is designed for non-education majors who have had little to no experience in classrooms.  This program is also appropriate for those who may have had some teaching experience but are not certified and would like to be. Finally, this program is for career-changers who are ready to change professional directions and enter teaching.

I AM THINKING ABOUT APPLYING TO THE ELEMENTARY INCLUSIVE PRESERVICE PROGRAM AND I HAVE HEARD THAT MY CHANCES OF ACCEPTANCE ARE BETTER IF I TAKE SOME REQUIRED COURSES AS A NON-DEGREE STUDENT AND DO WELL IN THEM. IS THIS TRUE?

No. Coursework prior to application is not an automatic route to admission, even if you do very well in the courses. However, prospective students sometimes take a non-degree course or two, to help them decide if Teachers College is where they would like to study. Yes, these credits will transfer into your program if you are admitted; check the catalog for guidelines.

DOES THIS PROGRAM LEAD TO A DEGREE?

Yes, upon satisfactory completion of the program and all requirements, you will be awarded an M.A. in Curriculum and Teaching. You will also be eligible for NYS and NYC elementary teacher certification.

I RECEIVED A LETTER INDICATING THAT I AM MISSING SOME OF THE LIBERAL ARTS COURSES REQUIRED BY NYS FOR TEACHER CERTIFICATION. HOWEVER, I AM SURE I FULFILLED THESE REQUIREMENTS. WHAT DO I DO?

First, do not worry.  The Office of Teacher Education review hundreds of transcripts during the admissions process and sometimes may overlook an appropriate course.  In some cases, courses may have unique titles that mask the content of a course that fulfills a requirement.  Also, a course that you feel fulfills a requirement may not be acceptable to NYS.  If you have any questions, bring a copy of your transcript, and course descriptions if appropriate, to the OTE office in ZB 411.

MY LIBERAL ARTS LETTER INDICATES THAT I AM DEFICIENT "ARTS EXPERIENCE." WHAT COUNTS AS ARTS EXPERIENCE FOR NEW YORK STATE?

If you have taken a course or have experience in any form of dance, music, theater or visual arts, consult with a faculty member and have her sign off on your program planning sheet.

MY LIBERAL ARTS LETTER INDICATES THAT I AM DEFICIENT IN

There are free non-credit classes in technology at Teachers College that can count as technology experience; we recommend mini-classes in web design. Also you can use your 1 credit elective (if you have it) to take a class offered on any aspect of education and technology. Once you have completed one of these courses you may bring your program planning sheet to the program manager in ZB 308C.


I HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED TO THE ELEMENTARY INCLUSIVE PRESERVICE PROGRAM BUT HAVE NOT BEEN ASSIGNED AN ADVISOR. WHO IS MY ADVISOR?

New students will be assigned a formal advisor after confirmation of attendance through deposit and should contact the Program Manager if they do not have an advisor. If you’re unable to meet with your advisor, faculty in the program work collaboratively and all serve as advisors.


CAN I TAKE MORE THAN 40 CREDITS/POINTS?

Yes.  The M.A. degree in Elementary Inclusive Education (Preservice)  requires a minimum of 40 points but you can graduate with more than the minimum.

MY CLASSMATE/FRIEND/STUDENT TEACHER IN MY SCHOOL ADVISED ME TO XXXX... DID SHE/HE TELL ME THE RIGHT THING?

Please do not follow the advice of peers.  All of you are different people, with different needs and circumstances. From experience we know that peer-to-peer advisement has been the cause of false rumor and panic, and the source of bad advice. Be sure to go to faculty for advisement and develop a relationship with an advisor.

I TOOK SOME UNDERGRADUATE COURSES THAT I THINK FULFILL PROGRAM/CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS. WILL THESE CREDITS TRANSFER?

Teachers College (also New York State) does not permit transfer credits at the M.A. level.  There are, however, some requirements (specifically educational foundations) that may be fulfilled by undergraduate courses.  If you think this applies to you, please check with program faculty during registration (bring your transcript).  If you have taken appropriate courses, you will not need to duplicate coursework and the requirements will be waived.  This does not reduce the number of credits necessary for the degree; you will still need to complete 40 credits/points by taking additional electives.

SHOULD I TAKE CERTAIN COURSES BEFORE STUDENT TEACHING?

We suggest that you take as many courses as you can before your (very intensive) student teaching year. How many you take will depend on whether you plan to accelerate through the program (16 months). You are required to take Multicultural Social Studies and Disability, Exclusion, and Schooling prior to student teaching.

WHEN SHOULD I START COURSEWORK IF I'M IN THE DUAL CERTIFICATION PROGRAM?

We suggest that students in this program begin coursework in the summer in order to start student teaching in the fall.

HOW MANY COURSES CAN I TAKE WHILE I AM STUDENT TEACHING?

Students take Core and Literacy Methods while they are student teaching.  This represents a heavy course load and time commitment. Some students enroll in an additional course, although this is not recommended.

CAN I FIND MY OWN STUDENT TEACHING PLACEMENT?

No.  The program has a commitment to urban education and has relationships with a group of schools and teachers in New York City; we place all student teachers in these settings.  All cooperating teachers are recommended to the program.  Faculty and staff visit classrooms and meet with prospective CTs.  We use this information to make educated matches.  We do not place students outside New York City and cannot honor requests for placements in other areas.

I COMPLETED A STUDENT TEACHING TERM AS AN UNDERGRADUATE. CAN THIS COUNT AS ONE OF THE PLACEMENTS REQUIRED BY NYS AND THE PROGRAM?

No. We cannot accept student teaching experiences which we have not supervised.  However, your prior experience will certainly support the student teaching you will complete with this program.

I HAVE JUST FINISHED MY FIRST TERM OF STUDENT TEACHING AND I LOVED IT! I WOULD LIKE TO REMAIN WITH THIS PLACEMENT AND I HAVE THE SUPPORT OF MY COOPERATING TEACHER AND PRINCIPAL TO DO SO. IS THIS POSSIBLE?

Unfortunately not.  New York State requires that you complete placements at both the lower (1-3) and upper (4-6) elementary levels.  In addition, in order to broaden students’ experience as much as possible, we place them in two different settings.

I HAVE A TEACHING POSITION, CAN I USE IT AS MY STUDENT TEACHING PLACEMENT?

Assistant teaching or head teaching positions are not appropriate substitutions for student teaching and will not be supported by the program.  In the context of this program, the New York State Department of Education no longer recognizes assistant teaching or head teaching experience as supervised student teaching. If you are interested in the additional experience a full-time position affords, you may consider working for a year and completing all methods courses, before student teaching full-time.

I MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN SWITCHING FROM THE SINGLE CERTIFICATION PROGRAM TO THE DUAL PROGRAM. I HEARD YOU CAN SWITCH AT ANY TIME AND IT IS AUTOMATIC ACCEPTANCE.

Yes, if you were accepted into the elementary certification only program (ELEM-INIT) and want to switch into the dual certification program (ELEM-DUAL) you will be automatically accepted. Timing on this decision does matter, however, as all students who are in the Dual Program are required to student teach in a Collaborative Team Teaching classroom for one semester. In order to ensure that we have enough placements for everyone who needs one, the final deadline for switching from single cert to dual cert is the date that midterm evaluations are due during the first semester of your student teaching year. Pick up a Change of Program form from the Office of Admission in Thorndike, 3rd floor, and bring it to the Preservice office in ZB 308C.

I WAS ACCEPTED INTO THE DUAL CERTIFICATION PROGRAM BUT NOW HAVE DECIDED I ONLY WANT ELEMENTARY CERTIFICATION. CAN I SWITCH TO THAT PROGRAM?

Yes, you can switch at any point before Summer A of the semester following student teaching. Make sure you enroll in the literacy elective you need for the single certification program which is not part of the dual certification requirements. Pick up a Change of Program form from the Office of Admission in Thorndike, 3rd floor, and bring it to the Preservice office in ZB 308C.

I HAVE JUST COMPLETED MY FIRST TERM OF STUDENT TEACHING AND THE PRINCIPAL AT MY SCHOOL HAS OFFERED ME AN ASSISTANT/HEAD TEACHING POSITION. CAN I USE IT AS MY SECOND STUDENT TEACHING PLACEMENT?

As previously stated, assistant teaching or head teaching positions are not appropriate substitutions for student teaching, and will not be supported by the program. If you are interested in the particular experience full-time teaching affords, a workable plan might be to take the position offered for the rest of the school year before completing the second term of student teaching the following Fall.

HOW DO I OBTAIN NYS TEACHING CERTIFICATION?

The Preservice Program is a NYS approved program; all students who complete the program apply for certification through the Office of Teacher Education and School-Based Support Services. This is an on-line system.


WHEN SHOULD I TAKE THE NYS EXAMS FOR TEACHER CERTIFICATION?

The assessments you must pass before getting certified include:
  • edTPA: Completed during the student teaching placement.
  • Educating All Students Test (EAS)
  • Academic Literacy Skills Test (ALST)
  • Content Specialty Tests (CST)
Candidates should consult with the Office of Teacher Education for information on testing dates for the EAS, ALST, and CST. Make sure that you take all of the tests before you graduate.

The edTPA is completed during the student teaching year and special workshops are offered by our program for anyone seeking New York State certification or certification in other states that require the edTPA.  

Additional Information can be accessed from the New York State Teacher Certification Examination Website: www.nystce.nesinc.com

I AM NOT INTERESTED IN NYS CERTIFICATION. DO I HAVE TO APPLY FOR NYS CERTIFICATION BEFORE I APPLY FOR CERTIFICATION IN XX STATE?

In most cases, you do not need to apply for NYS certification before you apply to the state of your choice for certification (regulations vary from state to state, so be sure to check).

However, two things to consider as you decide are: 1) it may be easier to get certified in another state if you already have a teaching certificate (i.e., from NYS); 2) if you ever decide to return to NYS to teach, if you do not already possess NYS certification, you will need to complete all new requirements or changes in certification mandated by the state since your program completion date.

I'M A NEW STUDENT IN THE PROGRAM. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO KEEP INFORMED ABOUT IT?

Our Program Blog:   http://tceleminclusive.pressible.org/

This is our primary source of communication from faculty and staff to students. On this blog, you will find information regarding registration, advisement, special program events, part-time and full-time job opportunities, recommendations for teaching resources and special events in New York City. The blog is updated regularly. Please make it a habit to check it and remember to go back and check previous postings, as many questions can be answered by reading the blog.