WILTON — In celebration of the first New York State Apprenticeship Month and National Apprenticeship Week, Stillwater Central School District, the Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex BOCES, and the Classroom Academy hosted New York State Department of Labor Deputy Commissioner of Workforce Development Chris White, State Department of Labor Director of Apprenticeship Training Christopher Pinheiro, and the US Department of Labor Regional Representative Charles MacNeil, for a tour of the registered Apprenticeship program in initial state teacher certification. The visit took place on November 30 at Stillwater Elementary School.
During the visit,, New York State Department of Labor Commissioner of Workforce Development Chris White presented Stillwater CSD Superintendent Patricia Morris and Classroom Academy Program Coordinator Colleen McDonald a proclamation signed by Governor Kathy Hochul celebrating the Classroom Academy as part of the first New York State Apprenticeship Month.
The Classroom Academy registered as an Apprenticeship in April 2021 and are supporting 25 resident Apprentices in the field this year. Stillwater CSD, one of eight district partners, is currently hosting two apprentices: one second-year at the elementary and one first-year at the high school level.
“We are delighted that the NYS and US Department of Labor were able to see firsthand how school districts are benefiting from this unique residency and Registered Apprenticeship program, especially during a time when schools across the state are experiencing severe teacher shortages,” said Colleen McDonald, Classroom Academy program coordinator.
Launched in 2017, Classroom Academy offers teacher preparation candidates a paid two-year residency placement with local school districts to provide on-the-job experience under the guidance of an expert lead teacher. Classroom Academy provides two full academic years of hands-on training to better prepare candidates as they enter the workforce, for the complexities of teaching in their own classrooms.
With the cost of completing a graduate program and forgoing an extra year in the workforce prohibitive for some students, the stipend provided through the academy and tuition assistance accessed through the Registered Apprenticeship are designed to remove barriers and help candidates afford being able to complete their studies and attain initial state teacher certification.
“We have seen an increase in interest with the reduction of barriers.” said McDonald. “Given the support we can provide, individuals are able to reassess their goals and change careers to pursue their dream of teaching.”
Classroom Academy currently partners with three higher education partners (SUNY Plattsburgh at Queensbury, SUNY Empire and Sage Colleges) to place students across the region.