- Recognize that professional growth is integral to teachers’ work.
- Embed professional growth in daily lives of schools.
- Model for teachers and students the importance of life-long learning.
- Promote the growth of communities of learners.
- Encourage teachers to assume leadership roles.
All Centers have their own unique beginnings and characteristics. Therefore, not all Centers operate in exactly the same fashion. For a strong and effective Teacher Center, an atmosphere of trust must exist between the Director and the Policy Board. The relationship must be one of cooperation and collaboration. By working together and sharing responsibility for successful management of the Center, the goals of Teacher Centers can be achieved for the ultimate benefit of New York State’s teachers and students.
The organizational structures, programs, and services of the New York State Teacher Centers reflect the standards for professional development.
About the NYS Teacher Centers
New York State Resource and Computer Training Centers are the largest professional learning communities in New York State with more than 125 Teachers Centers located throughout the state, working with 675 public schools districts and nearly 1000 non-public and charter schools.
Teacher Centers are:
- operated locally, with regional and statewide network support.
- governed by policy boards composed of 51% teachers as well as representation from administrators, school board members, parents, higher education and business professionals.
- driven by local educator needs, including implementation support for NYS and federal education initiatives such as: APPR, CCSS and Data-driven instruction.
- dedicated to high quality, job-embedded and student-focused professional learning experiences
During the mid-1970’s, Al Shanker (president of the American Federation of Teachers and United Federation of Teachers) had an opportunity to travel to England to learn about their concept and operation of teacher centers. He returned to the United States enthusiastic about their possibilities. The AFT and NEA promoted the idea, and in 1978 the Federal Government developed a competitive grant program to create teacher centers across the country. Approximately 20 Teacher Centers were established in New York State. Federal regulations developed during that time, established control of the planning and management of the programs with practicing classroom teachers.
Federal funding was eliminated in 1982 and most centers had to close their doors. Some, including several in New York State, managed to keep operating on a more limited basis with allocations from the schools they served.
In 1984, thanks to the lobbying efforts of NYSUT, Teacher Resource and Computer Training Centers were established and funded by the New York State Legislature under Education Law 316. This law called for the provision of systematic, ongoing professional education services to New York State teachers. The enabling legislation introduced an innovative approach to staff development across the state, and created a unique relationship between teacher centers and schools.
There were 44 Centers that opened that first year. Today, the New York State Teacher Center Network is a vibrant collaborative organization of more than 125 teacher centers, 7 regional networks, 5 standing committees and 3 statewide projects working to meet the current needs of our educators.