New York State Teacher Center Standards

  • (Presented by the Evaluation Strategy Committee on Behalf of New York State Teacher Resource and Computer Training Centers)




    New York State Teacher Resource and Computer Training Centers support New York State’s efforts to encourage higher learning standards. Teacher Centers are governed by Policy Boards composed of teachers, administrators, representatives of post-secondary education, business, cultural, community organizations, and parents. The Centers are linked by seven regional networks that provide teachers and school districts the opportunities to share resources, plan collaboratively, and respond to regional as well as to individual needs and initiatives. Since beginning as a state program in 1984, the Teacher Centers have become a vital and essential institution for teacher growth.

    Because organizations grow and prosper by learning from their own work, the New York State Teacher Centers have undertaken the responsibility of setting standards for professional development practice. This document, developed by the Teacher Center Evaluation and Strategy Advisory Committee, results from the collaboration of Teacher Center directors and Policy Board members throughout the State.

    These standards reflect the experience and insight gained in the long history of Teacher Centers. The purpose of this document is to guide those working with Centers, their constituents, and others interested in effective professional development.

  • Professional Development

    New York State Teacher Centers have developed criteria for professional development based upon research and experience. Professional development...
    • Is driven by clear coherent individual and organizational goals.
    • Focuses on individual and organizational growth.
    • Is designed and facilitated by those who participate.
    • Respects and nurtures the leadership and intellectual capacities of educators.
    • Facilitates continuous inquiry and reflection embedded in the daily life of schools.
    • Is supported by research and institutional resources such as time, staffing, and funding. Addresses current issues in curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
    • Provides opportunities for the application of technology to instruction.


    New York State Teacher Centers are governed by Policy Boards composed of the multiple constituencies set forth in Education Law 316. Policy Board members and staff:
    • Are elected and/or appointed by their respective constituencies.
    • Apply high standards for professional development in carrying out their roles.
    • Recruit, retain, and support personnel necessary to carry out the Center’s mission.
    • Work collaboratively with school districts and other constituent organizations and agencies.
    • Ensure that the Center fulfills state and local requirements.


    New York State Teacher Centers must comply with statute, regulation, and local policy. Policy Board members and staff:
    • Establish and maintain a professional working environment with appropriate resources.
    • Employ a variety of communication strategies to ensure the full participation of constituents.
    • Maintain electronic communication facilities linking individual Centers and the statewide network.
    • Establish and maintain sound fiscal policies and practices.
    • Seek resources in addition to New York State funding.
    • Comply with New York State records management regulations and guidelines.
    • Provide required documentation to the New York State Education Department.


    New York State Teacher Center programs promote continuous inquiry and growth. Policy Board members and staff:
    • Apply knowledge of current research in professional development.
    • Use a variety of strategies and techniques for identifying the professional growth needs of constituents.
    • Design and implement a variety of activities and programs responsive to needs assessment and evaluation data.
    • Align local needs with state initiatives, standards and assessments.
    • Enable teachers to participate in collaborative program design.
    • Address teachers’ needs at different stages of their careers by providing opportunities for reflection and inquiry.
    • Collaborate with school districts and other organizations and agencies to enhance the range of program opportunities.


    New York State Teacher Centers use program evaluation data collected in a variety of ways. Policy Board members and staff:
    • Use individual program evaluation to assist in the development of new activities and refine continuing programs.
    • Employ a variety of evaluation strategies to assess the impact of the Center’s activities and programs.
    • Include both quantitative and qualitative data in evaluation design.
    • Examine the impact of programs on teacher effectiveness and student learning.
    • Share evaluation findings broadly to build awareness of Teacher Center work.


    Political and educational leaders of New York State support Teacher Centers as an essential institution for the sustained professional growth of New York State’s teachers and other educators. These leaders place their confidence in school practitioners, in partnership with others, to identify, plan, and implement comprehensive professional development to assure that the State’s elementary and secondary school students have the benefit of the most current and effective instruction available.

    The organizational structures, programs and services of the New York State Teacher Centers reflect the standards for professional development. Teacher Centers...

    • Recognize that professional growth is integral to teachers’ work.
    • Embed professional growth in the 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.

    Effective Teacher Center Professional Development:

    Organizations succeed by learning from their own work. New York State Teacher Centers use annual documentation from an independent evaluator and reports from each individual Teacher Center to build their own capacity for growth and improvement.

    Teacher Center professional growth activities are customized for constituent educators and schools. These programs can be accessed through the New York State Education Department, the regional networks, individual Centers, and on the worldwide web.

    Seven regional networks create opportunities for Center Policy Board members and staff to consult and learn from each other.

    Five advisory committees (Evaluation, Strategy, Higher Education, Planning, Technology and Public Relations) assist the New York State Education Department and report results of their efforts through regional network representatives and online. Ad hoc task groups with representatives from all the regional networks are convened as needed to address issues of immediate importance. Electronic networking among all Centers is required and supported by State Education Department and by the New York Institute of Technology. Many Centers maintain their own worldwide web sites with local, regional, statewide, national, and international links. Three annual statewide Teacher Center conferences address growth and capacity of Centers. These conferences provide opportunities for sharing effective practice and staying current with recent research. A handbook for Center Policy Board members and staff, designed and continually refined by the Teacher Center directors is distributed to each Center to achieve effective program development, evaluation, governance, and management.

    Statutory Purposes

    The purposes and expectations for Teacher Resource and Computer Training Centers are delineated in Education Law 316 and Commissioner’s Regulations (Part 81). Teacher Centers are established to provide professional support services to teachers within the state in order to:
    • Assist educators in assessing and meeting the learning needs of students.
    • Provide computer demonstration and training sites and programs for educators.
    • Promote educators’ use of an involvement in educational research to develop and produce curricula and curricular material.
    • Provide educators with training for the improvement of teaching skills.
    • Provide a location and atmosphere to foster sharing and increased understanding of resources, ideas, methods, approaches, information and materials among educators.
    • Train educators to prepare students to use high technology and to teach the critical thinking and related skills needed for the changing world community.
    Over 125 Centers, networked across the state, are uniquely positioned to initiate and sustain professional inquiry. Through their mission, governance and personnel, the Centers promote the professional of teachers and other educators. Through their collaborations with one another, school districts and other educational and community organizations, the Centers have provided sustained, immediate, cost-effective and efficient professional development for educators.