SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (WWTI) — A new program will aim to create a pathway for teacher certifications for local students.

Clarkson University, SUNY Schenectady, Cazenovia College and the Schenectady City School District have partnered to launch a teacher certification pathway program as part of the Master of Arts in Teaching program offered at its Capital Region campus.

Specifically, the Schenectady Grow Your Own Program will combine the efforts of the four educational institutions to allow Schenectady High School students and Schenectady community members to pursue three degrees, three teaching certifications, and a teaching position, without leaving the area.

According to Clarkson, Schenectady High School students can now take associate-level courses while still in high school. Upon graduating from Schenectady High School, candidates complete an associate’s degree at SUNY Schenectady while beginning to take education courses.

Students then can transition into Schenectady-based Cazenovia College’s early childhood education bachelor’s degree program. Once complete, students can complete a Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages at Clarkson University.

Clarkson University Education Department Chair Catherine Snyder said that the program will help address the teacher shortage in New York State and the lack of teachers from historically underrepresented groups.

“This program will have a positive impact on the community because it will result in increasing the number of teachers in the school, and increasing the number of teachers from historically underrepresented groups,” Snyder said in a press release. “It is not unusual, for example, for a Black student to graduate from Schenectady City Schools having never had a Black teacher. All students need to have teachers of color as part of their school experience.” 

During the process, Synder said that GYO students are supported by all four institutions with mentoring, networking events, career counseling and professional learning.

Schenectady City School District had also confirmed it will provide students with appropriate paid positions as substitute teachers, teaching assistants, or as teachers, after they are certified in the Cazenovia program.