This Teacher Candidate Handbook includes information that answers the most frequently asked questions concerning policies and procedures that serve as the guidelines for SUNY Cortland's student teaching program.
"New York State Education Law section 3023 requires school districts to insure teacher candidates against financial loss arising out of any claim or lawsuit for alleged negligence resulting in accidental personal injury to any person or property damage while the teacher candidate at the time of the accident or injury was acting in the discharge of their student teaching duties. A teacher candidate who is involved in any accident or incident where there is personal injury or property damage while they are student teaching should immediately inform their mentor teacher and notify the college supervisor as soon as possible. A teacher candidate who is served with legal papers involving any accident or injury that occurred in the course of their student teaching placement must immediately forward a copy of such papers to the college supervisor and to the school administrator where the student teaching took place."
SUNY Cortland is committed to upholding and maintaining all aspects of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
If you are a student with a disability and wish to request accommodations, please contact Student Disability Services located in Van Hoesen Hall, Room C-17 or call 607-753-2066 for an appointment. Any information regarding your disability will remain confidential and will only be divulged with your written permission. Because many accommodations require early planning, requests for accommodations should be made as early as possible. Any requests for accommodations will be reviewed in a timely manner to determine their appropriateness to this setting.
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Teacher candidates will:
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The Field Experience and School Partnerships (FESP) Office staff will facilitate all student teaching placements. The office will consider suggestions for placements from teacher candidates. It is to be understood that the FESP Office staff will make placements to the best of their ability and knowledge, such that the placements will not be affected by conflict of interest. Requests cannot be guaranteed. Teacher candidates are not permitted to contact potential mentor teachers or building principals to request placements or in any way attempt to secure their own experiences.
To student teach in the fall, teacher candidates must complete an application at the beginning of the previous spring semester. To student teach in the spring, teacher candidates must complete an application at the beginning of the previous fall semester.
Please note: Student teaching in New York City (SUTEC) and other locations will require an additional student teaching application and eligibility requirements - deadlines apply. Please visit the Field Experience and School Partnerships Office or the SUNY Cortland International Programs Office for more details.
When completing the application for student teaching, teacher candidates are required to disclose information to their program/department coordinator and the Field Experience and School Partnerships Office regarding relatives employed or attending school in any school district where placement could occur. The term “relative” includes parents, spouse, children, step-children, siblings, aunts, uncles and/or in-laws. Under most circumstances, teacher candidates will not be placed in districts where relatives are employed. Failure to provide this information may jeopardize continuation in that placement or the program.
To qualify to student teach, teacher candidate’s academic and student conduct records are reviewed by the program/department student teaching coordinator at the beginning and end of the semester prior to student teaching. Teacher candidates may also reference the section entitled “Policies Related to Participation in Field Experiences, Student Teaching and Internships” in the SUNY Cortland College Catalog. The review includes categories established by the College and the department of the teacher candidate’s major:
Please note: Summer Sessions I and II and Winter Sessions immediately preceding student teaching cannot be used to help candidates meet grade point average requirements.
Prior to the end of the third week of the previous semester
As soon as final grades for the previous semester are posted
Teacher candidates are required to complete the mandatory workshop courses on Dignity for All Students Act (DASA), Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting (CARR) and Safe Schools Against Violence in Education (SAVE) prior to student teaching. Students are to register for the mandated workshop courses at the time of registration.
If a P-12 student discloses any form of child abuse, neglect, or harassment/discrimination from another student to a teacher candidate, the teacher candidate is required to report this to their mentor teacher immediately and follow the directive of the school concerning filing a report. In addition, they are also to notify their College Supervisor immediately.
SUNY Cortland recommends that all teacher candidates complete the fingerprinting requirements (PDF) process upon acceptance in to a teacher certification program. All teacher candidates are required to be fingerprinted prior to student teaching. All teacher candidates must apply for fingerprinting through IdentoGO’s website at identogo.com or by calling 1-877-472-6915. IdentoGO is the only vendor to process fingerprinting for certification. IdentoGO will request an NYSED ORI code. This code is 14ZGQT. Total fee for fingerprinting is approximately $102.00.
If, and only if, the program of study within the academic program/department of the teacher candidate’s major has a wait list for student teaching, ineligible students who have met the following criteria may be placed to student teach if they:
Every effort will be made to provide placements. The location of the placement and scheduling will depend on:
If the academic program/department of the teacher candidate’s major does not maintain a waiting list for student teaching and if a placement cannot be secured, teacher candidates must reapply to student teach during the next semester.
The student teaching experience at SUNY Cortland is very highly regarded as the culminating experience of our entire teacher education program and, as such, is considered to be the single most important aspect of preparing for a career as a teacher.
Due to liability issues and college policy, student teachers are not permitted to act as substitute teachers during the student teaching experience.
Teacher candidates are advised not to be employed during student teaching in order for the primary focus to be on the student teaching experience.
Teacher candidates may not be enrolled in any course work unrelated to student teaching (at SUNY Cortland or at any other institution) during the semester of student teaching, unless the teacher candidate’s program/department permits enrollment in the department’s weekend workshop(s).
It is College policy that teacher candidates are not permitted to participate in College activities such as Intercollegiate Athletics while student teaching or completing an internship. Exceptions to this policy may occur only with the written permission of the Dean based upon the recommendation of the program/department coordinator. If the teacher candidate participates in a varsity sport during student teaching or an internship experience without the Dean’s permission, the teacher candidate will be removed from this academic experience. If, in the judgment of the mentor teachers or supervisors, this athletic participation is interfering with the quality of the student teaching or internship experience, the teacher candidate can be required to cease their athletic participation at any time.
If during enrollment at SUNY Cortland, teacher candidates are convicted of a crime and/or have any judicial or academic integrity violations, they must notify the Associate Dean of the respective school at once. Failure to do so may result in dismissal from the teacher education program. Failure to provide truthful information may result in dismissal from the teacher education program and may result in academic dishonesty charges.
If, at any time, teacher candidates must postpone/change their student teaching plans, it is imperative that the Field Experience and School Partnerships Office and the respective program/department be immediately informed by the teacher candidate in writing. In order to student teach at any future point in time, the teacher candidate must repeat the entire application process, as detailed on pages 5-8 of this Handbook, during the semester immediately preceding the semester during which student teaching is to take place.
Teacher candidates should exercise caution in signing leases for the academic year during which student teaching will occur because placements are often at some distance from the Cortland campus. Having a local lease will not aid a teacher candidate in gaining a local placement.
Transportation to and from student teaching and related events is the sole responsibility of the teacher candidate. Placements will be secured to fulfill regulatory, certification, and program requirements. In some instances, teacher candidates should be prepared to travel approximately one hour, each way, per placement.
The teacher candidate must notify their college supervisor, the mentor teacher, and the main office of the host school as soon as possible prior to the start of the school day.
If a teacher candidate suffers an injury or illness on school property during the course of the student teaching placement, the teacher candidate is to immediately contact his/her mentor teacher, building principal, and college supervisor. In the event an accident occurs, appropriate school personnel should contact the Director of Field Experience and School Partnerships at 607-753-2824.
In the event of an absence for a reason other than illness, the teacher candidate must request advance permission from his/her college supervisor by completing the Request for Absence from Student Teaching (PDF). Absences are recorded by the mentor teacher on the Summary of Absence from Student Teaching (PDF). The summary is submitted to the college supervisor at the final evaluation conference at the end of the quarter. Absences from the student teaching assignment may have to be made up to the satisfaction of the college supervisor and the mentor teacher and may involve the assignment of an “incomplete” grade and an extension of the student teaching experience to account for the days absent.
Teacher candidates are required to wear appropriate identification at all times while in the assigned school district for their student teaching sessions. SUNY Cortland will provide all teacher candidates with a lanyard and name tag identifying them as a SUNY Cortland teacher candidate. Individual districts may also have identification requirements specific to their district and may provide the teacher candidate with another form of identification that is required by the district. Please adhere to the policy set forth by each school district.
All teacher candidates must complete and submit the Emergency Contact Form (PDF) to the FESP Office through Watermark by the due date (except Communication Disorders and Sciences). This form will contain contact information in the event of a medical emergency (a copy of the form is to be submitted to the school nurse at each school to which you are assigned).
The teacher candidate should become familiar with the following information and materials:
A college supervisor may present a somewhat different sequence of experiences to be followed. With the agreement of the college supervisor and mentor teacher, teacher candidates may advance in assuming responsibilities at varying rates during the student teaching placements.
Teacher candidates in all programs of study are expected to develop and reflect the dispositions that are delineated in professional, state, and institutional standards and that are implicit in these themes. Teacher candidates are expected to conduct themselves as professionals in every respect. If there are any questions about what constitutes professional conduct, teacher candidates are urged to consult their college supervisors, their mentor teachers, and/or their student teaching/program coordinators. Teacher candidates are reminded that they are subject to the College’s Code of Student Conduct (PDF) both on and off campus. Student teaching supervisors will evaluate the teacher candidate’s conduct following each student teaching placement.
The teacher candidate’s conduct is evaluated using the following scale:
Unacceptable Acceptable Target
Categories of Assessment:
The teacher candidate's performance will be rated on the following scale:
Unsatisfactory (U) Developing (D) Proficient (P) Exemplary (E)
The Student Teacher Evaluation (STE) Rubric (PDF) contains specific criteria for each level
As the capstone experience in the teacher preparation program, student teaching is full-day, full-time for a semester. It is divided into two quarters, each of which receives a grade. The final grade is determined through collaboration between the college supervisor and the mentor teacher. The following are used to determine the final grade:
* Mentor teachers will receive an email from the Watermark Manager at SUNY Cortland to their school email address with a URL (link) with directions for submitting the STE for their student teacher.
The teacher candidate can be removed at any time during the student teaching experience if:
If an “incomplete” grade is assigned, the college supervisor will submit a written statement to the Director of the Field Experience and School Partnerships Office and the program/department coordinator describing the circumstances necessitating the incomplete and the timeline for completion of make-up work and student teaching.
If the teacher candidate’s performance is not satisfactory at the time of withdrawal, they will receive an “unsatisfactory” grade.
A formal withdrawal from course (PDF) form must be completed and signed by the teacher candidate, college supervisor, academic advisor, and Associate Dean.
A teacher candidate who withdraws from student teaching and wishes to register again, must obtain permission from their program/department coordinator to re-enroll in the course. If permission is granted, the student must repeat the entire application process.
This program is implemented immediately after a teacher candidate has received a grade of “Unsatisfactory” in student teaching. It is to be completed successfully before the candidate is allowed to repeat the failed experience.
Following each observation, the college supervisor should provide the teacher candidate with a written evaluation that outlines strengths of the lesson and instructional methodology and which specifies any deficiencies that need to be addressed to achieve a satisfactory grade. The college supervisor, in collaboration with the mentor teacher, will develop a contract that provides recommendations for addressing the deficiencies and provides a timeline for demonstrating satisfactory performance. The teacher candidate should sign all original observation reports before returning them to the college supervisor; the college supervisor should then provide the teacher candidate with a copy of each observation report. When a teacher candidate has been unable to remedy deficiencies in the time specified in the contract, the teacher candidate will be removed from the placement and an “unsatisfactory” grade will be assigned.
After a grade of “Unsatisfactory” has been assigned, the grade and factors contributing to it are reviewed by a Review Council composed (at a minimum) of the department chair, the college supervisor who has assigned the grade of “Unsatisfactory”, and a faculty member named by the department chair. The teacher candidate is interviewed and asked to reflect on factors contributing to their unsatisfactory performance during student teaching. If they want to repeat the student teaching experience, the Review Council, in collaboration with the mentor teacher, will develop a remediation program to help the teacher candidate address the deficiencies that led to the “unsatisfactory” grade.
The remediation coordinator, identified by the department, is responsible for overseeing and facilitating the remediation program. It is tailored to the teacher candidate’s specific deficiencies and may require, at a minimum, any/all of the following:
The duration of the remediation program is determined by the Review Council. The failed student-teaching experience may be repeated only once.
The teacher candidate is to submit the Mid-Quarter/Final Student Teacher Evaluation (STE) through Watermark at the mid-quarter and final points of both of their student teaching experiences.
At the end of each quarter, the teacher candidate is to complete both the Student Teacher Evaluation of the college supervisor and the Mentor Teacher through Watermark.
Any questions or problems related to the student teaching experience should first be discussed with the teacher candidate’s mentor teacher and college supervisor. If the situation requires further attention, the student teaching program/department coordinator should be contacted.
Each academic department may have specific forms for weekly/periodic evaluations. Please contact the student teacher’s college supervisor for further information.
Before the teacher candidate arrives, it is helpful to convey to the pupils that they should look upon the teacher candidate as another teacher in the classroom. All students are expected to follow the SUNY Cortland Student Teaching Calendar with respect to the beginning and ending dates of each student teaching quarter.
Teacher candidates are required to make initial contact with the mentor teacher following the receipt of their placement. This initial contact should include the scheduling of the initial meetings/conferences between the teacher candidates and mentor teacher to discuss both immediate and long-range plans. Items that should be discussed include:
Revised for Fall 2020/Spring 2021
Your contributions as a mentor teacher truly make a difference in the preparation of SUNY Cortland’s future teachers. In recognition of your commitment, the Professional Courtesies Brochure (PDF) which provides a list of privileges and benefits, is available for faculty associates during the current academic year.
Effective Jan. 1, 1995, the State University of New York implemented a new policy to recognize mentor teachers who have hosted SUNY teacher candidates on a full-time basis for one student teaching quarter. This SUNY-wide policy, offers two alternatives. (Adjusted for full semester placements.)
CASH STIPEND - paid directly to the teacher – $200 for a quarterly placement or $400 for a full semester placement. If the cash stipend is selected, a check is mailed to the mentor teacher at their home address approximately 30-45 days from receiving election form.
TUITION WAIVER - $250 value for a quarterly placement or two (2) $250 value for a full semester placement and redeemable at State-operated campuses, valid for a period of up to 25 months, and relinquishable by the mentor teacher to the school system in which they are employed during the host period. If the tuition waiver is selected, it is forwarded to the mentor teacher at their school address unless there are other instructions from school district administration.
At the conclusion of either the student teaching quarter placement or full semester placement, a “Stipend/Waiver Election Form” is sent by the Field Experience and School Partnerships (FESP) Office to each mentor teacher, who then completes the form and returns it to FESP.
In cases where two or more mentor teachers work regularly to host one teacher candidate during one quarter, an affidavit form precedes the election form. The affidavit will designate which one of the multiple mentor teachers is to receive the compensation; the ensuing election form will allow that one mentor teacher to select the cash stipend or the tuition waiver.
Effective immediately all SUNY institutions must have a completed Federal Tax W-9 form on file for each mentor teacher, administrator, and/or internship host in order to properly process stipend/tuition waiver certificates and any other honoraria or earnings.
Any questions regarding this process may be directed to the Field Experience and School Partnerships Office at 607-753-2823.
School administrators play an important role in the student teaching process. In addition to recommending, facilitating, and approving teacher candidates’ placements, school administrators can make a significant difference in the quality of the student teaching experience. What follows is a list of suggested activities by school administrators that may be appropriate to support the student teaching experience.
If, at any time, teacher candidates must postpone/change their student teaching plans, it is imperative that the Field Experience and School Partnerships Office and the respective program/department be immediately informed by the teacher candidate in writing. In order to student teach at any future point in time, the teacher candidate must repeat the entire application process, as detailed on pages 5 - 8 of this Handbook, during the semester immediately preceding the semester during which student teaching is to take place.
Please note: The Placement Verification form is a method of verifying the placement and MT. It must be reviewed and approved by the Supervisor for accuracy, in a timely manner, in order for the FESP Office to begin the remuneration process for the correct MT.
Fax: 607- 753-4212
The assistant provost for teacher education coordinates several outreach services that bring together offices and programs that extend beyond the SUNY Cortland campus to area schools, businesses and the community. The unit provides a wide range of services and programs for students, faculty, local businesses, area residents and youth. Program coordinators provide quality programs that meet the needs of their individual clientele.
Access to College Education
Cornish Hall, Room 1312
The Access to College Education (ACE) program provides resources and services to help high school students overcome barriers and pursue a college education, through a partnership with area school districts and higher education institutions.
Field Experience and School Partnerships Office
School Partnerships Area
Education Building, Room 1105
Fax: 607- 753-5966
The School Partnerships Area of the Field Experiences and School Partnerships Office administers both credit and noncredit programs for area educators, coaches, teacher candidates, educational leadership interns and high school students.
Liberty Partnerships Program (LPP)
Cornish Hall, Room 1312
Liberty Partnerships Program (LPP) provides programs to help youth in grades 5-12 complete high school and seek post-secondary education or meaningful employment. Through a partnership with area schools, higher education institutions and community-based agencies the program provides a holistic approach to services.
Migrant Education Tutorial and Support Services Program (METS)
Van Hoesen Hall, Room B-105
Fax: 607- 753-4822
Migrant Education Outreach Program (MEOP) assists school districts in meeting the needs of migrant children, as well as providing children/families with individualized programs to meet their needs.