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National College Credit Recommendation Service

Board of Regents  |  University of the State of New York

New York Performance Standards Consortium | Evaluated Learning Experience

School-Based Teacher Education Program (STEP)


Two full academic years. 

Selected schools within The New York Performance Standards Consortium network of member schools: The Urban Academy (9/94 - 12/15); Humanities Prep High School (9/01 - 12/15); The International High School (9/96 - 12/15);

Varies by location; see dates under location above. 

Learner Outcomes: 

There are seven key conceptual strands that are integrated throughout STEP: Curriculum Development and Design, Developmental Theory and Practice: Student as Learner, Organizational Structure and Responsibility: School as Community, Strategies to Serve Diverse Learners, Issues in Assessment, Teaching Practicum: Bridging Theory and Practice, and Action Research. Over the two-year apprenticeship experience, apprentices are expected to become proficient in these areas and to confirm a high level of proficiency by demonstrating they are able to: develop curriculum and design a course of study that embodies content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and knowledge of student capacity and interest; become proficient in one’s subject discipline and competent in integrating literacy skills into other subject disciplines; initiate and conduct independent research in literacy based on proven methods of pedagogy; apply theory to practice through structured learning experiences; structure learning environments that support inclusion and a respect for multiple learning and cultural perspectives; create a responsive and inclusive pedagogy which establishes a classroom setting supportive of active learning: question-asking, problem analysis and solving, and inquiry teaching; evaluate the role of testing when combined with other forms of assessment, such as performance assessment; observe students, make sense of and respect adolescent behavior and modify course offerings and pedagogy accordingly; be familiar with and apply various theories of human development and educational psychology in specific age periods in addition to a focus on language development, assessment, cross-cultural studies and interpersonal relationships; apply appropriate theories of child psychology with a particular focus on learning strategies; collaborate with teachers as colleagues in creating an educational community of high standards, support, and reflective practice; develop themselves as professional teachers through an understanding of selected readings and to contribute to the profession of teaching through an exploration of school-related inquiry.


Apprentices in STEP participate in a two-year apprenticeship. During this time, apprentices are involved in all aspects of school life. Following is a detailed description of the experience in a particular school setting. The approach taken by each individual school may vary slightly depending upon the school’s organization and structure. Program.STEP is a contextualized teacher preparation program encompassing seven key conceptual strands that are embedded within the two-year program. The purpose of STEP is to provide apprentices with an authentic, holistic learning experience in a restructured school. Through immersion in an exemplary school community, apprentices come to understand the day-to-dayness that constitutes authentic school life, and the responsibility of the school community members in helping to shape the school environment. Apprentices come to understand the craft of teaching and the multiple roles of teachers. They have ongoing opportunities to consider the possibilities and limits of the relationship of professional responsibility to school performance. Mentor. The apprentice is teamed with a master teacher who serves as a mentor. The mentor’s chief role is to encourage and support reflection on the practice of teaching. The mentor meets with the apprentice to decide on goals to work toward and to organize a flexible time-table of responsibilities, helps in planning what the apprentice will teach, models for the apprentice, observes and critiques (encouraging reflection in) the apprentice; and takes responsibility for integrating the apprentice into the full life of the school. Apprenticeship experience. The following activities are included in the apprentice’s experience with respect to the seven key conceptual strands (see Objectives section above). The apprentice will meet with a mentor to discuss the course apprentice will teach; attend staff meetings during which semester schedule is constructed; discuss use of time in relation to course requirements; participate in individual student scheduling conferences with senior staff; participate in discussions regarding use of proficiencies for graduation through scheduling conferences; meet regularly with mentor to discuss teaching sessions; implement curriculum he or she has designed; devise an observation schedule to follow during the semester; tutor a student in observed class of mentor; apply knowledge gained from appropriate research; take responsibility for extra curricula activity; participate in staff meetings regarding individual student work; join team that meets with student under review; apply knowledge gained from appropriate research on age appropriate development; attend meetings of apprentices to share and analyze experiences and apply learning from relevant research; present work to other apprentices; meet with review committee of STEP regarding apprentice’s Professional Achievement Record; participate in a school-wide research project (inquiry method) determined by staff research and that addresses an issue of concern to the sponsoring school. School-wide research project. The apprentice will participate in decision-making regarding over-arching theme for a school-wide curriculum project; participate with mentor in development of a unit within the project; discuss with faculty the application of developmental theory, practice, and application of research to the selection of project content and pedagogy; participate in team meetings regarding the development and implementation of the project; brainstorm with staff to develop activities, assignments, projects, speakers, panels, and trips; engage in debate, make suggestions for activities and readings, witness debates among experienced teachers, determine how decisions are made on basis of the school’s capacity to support the project, taking into account students’ needs and interests as well as teachers’ strengths; attend and participate in staff meetings which assess student participation and achievement with regard to the school-wide project based on a standard of work expected of students; participate in review of student work relating to the project; and attend presentations and observe staff discussion of work standards. Professional Achievement Record. At milestone points over the course of the two-year program, apprentices provide evidence of their growing proficiency through the Professional Achievement Record (PAR). The PAR provides the apprentice with an opportunity to document how the four key areas of the program have been integrated into teaching practice. Some of the documentation that is collected for the portfolio includes written evidence of course planning, implementation, and revision; written documents exemplifying assessment and feedback on student work; written descriptions demonstrating growth of reflective practice, including how the school community functions with respect to educational mission, school structure, decision-making processes, relationships among staff and with students and parents; written appraisals by the apprentice’s mentor teacher; reflections on the apprentice’s visits to other schools; written exploration of education literature related to an issue under discussion at the sponsoring school. The PAR is reviewed by the mentor and other school officials at milestone points. During the final defense at the conclusion of the second year, the apprentice presents the portfolio to the Advisory Committee comprising representatives from the sponsoring school, other schools, and external reviewers and discusses with them his or her achievements in light of the four key conceptual strands. Sponsoring School. Schools selected to participate in STEP have a proven track record with respect to student achievement and successful learner-centered pedagogy. They are schools that have been recognized for their organizational and pedagogical innovation, collaboration, and ongoing reflection. Selected schools are teaching schools that espouse and foster teaching as research. 

Credit recommendation: 

In the graduate degree category, 24 semester hours distributed as follows: 6 semester hours as Practice Teaching in Education degree programs, 3 semester hours as Curriculum Development and Design in Education degree programs, 3 semester hours as Developmental Theory and Practice: Student as Learner in Education degree programs, 3 semester hours as Strategies to Serve Diverse Learners, 3 semester hours as Issues in Assessment; 3 semester hours as Organizational Structure and Responsibility: School as Community in Education degree programs, and 3 semester hours in Applied Educational Research in Education degree programs (6/96) (12/01 revalidation) (7/02 revalidation) (11/07 revalidation).
NOTE: Each of the seven key areas is integrated throughout the two-year program; therefore, credit is recommended only when the apprentice completes the entire two-year program. 
NOTE: If an apprentice is completing an undergraduate degree program, some or all of the credit recommendation could apply toward the completion of the requirements for that degree.