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Department of Elementary Education

Master of Science for Teachers

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The Application Process
Accepted vs. Not Accepted
Meet With Your Academic Advisor
Coursework
Student Teaching
Graduation and Certification
Teaching Career

The Application Process:
1. How do I apply to the MST program?
Click here to find out.
2. What are the pre-requisites for the MST Program?
Click here to find out.
3. Where do I send my materials?
The Graduate School
State University of New York at New Paltz
1 Hawk Dr.
New Paltz, NY 12561
4. Who can I talk to, to make sure my file is complete?
All graduate applications are processed by the Graduate School.
Please e-mail gradschool@newpaltz.edu, or call 845-257-3947 for assistance.

5. What sort of immunizations do I need?
Contact the health office.  Visit the following Web site:
http://www.newpaltz.edu/services/health.html
6. Do I need a health clearance for student teaching?
Yes, contact the Office of Student Teaching 
In Old Main 115. Telephone: 257-2822.

Accepted vs. Not Accepted:
7. How do I find out that I was accepted?
You will receive a letter from the Graduate School.  There may be certain requirements that you must complete before you can start the program.  Contact your advisor about this.
8. What are my options when I am not accepted?
You will always be given a reason for why you are not accepted.  You can contact the department at 257-2860 to discuss what you need to do in order to be reconsidered.  Sometimes this will be explained in the letter as well.
9. What happens after I am accepted?
When you receive your letter of acceptance, the name and phone number of your advisor will be listed.  You should call immediately to set up an appointment to meet with your advisor and draft a plan of study.  You can start taking courses under advisement while this plan is submitted to the graduate school for approval. 

Meet With Your Academic Advisor:
10. How do I find out who my advisor is?
The name and phone number of your advisor will be listed in your letter of acceptance.
11. When do I contact my advisor?
Immediately upon receipt of your letter of acceptance. Then you should contact your advisor about midway through the program to discuss your progress and finally, you need to meet with your advisor in the semester when you are completing 27-30 credits to discuss your completion of the program.
12. When do I meet with my academic advisor?
As soon as possible. Call your advisor for an appointment upon receipt of the letter of acceptance.
13. When do I need a plan of study?
You will need it as soon as possible after you receive your letter of acceptance.  A Plan of Study is a contract that will be signed by you and your advisor, then approved by the Department Chair and the dean of the Graduate School. You cannot graduate without a plan of study.  If you wait too long to contact your advisor, you run the risk that you will be blocked from registration until the plan has been drafted.
14. How many graduate credits can I transfer and what courses qualify?
You can transfer up to six (6) graduate college credits that are equivalent to the courses in the program. Bring transcripts and when possible course description (if the courses are not from New Paltz) to your appointment with your advisor.  Your advisor, sometimes in consultation with the department, will determine whether these courses qualify.
15. How do you make a change in your plan of study?
Call or e-mail your advisor with your request.  State the course and the course number that you want to remove and state the course and the course number that yopu want to replace it with.  Your advisor will let you know that the change was made or that there may be a problem with your request.  It is advisable that you do not register before you have received approval of your advisor.  You register at your own risk otherwise.

Coursework:
16. When do I start taking courses?
You can start taking courses as soon as you have received your notice of matriculation in a program.  If you are a non-matriculated student you will only be able to use up to six (6) credits when you matriculate in the MST program. 
17. Which courses should I take?
Click here to view the courses in the program.  There is an example of a four-semester schedule for full-time students.
18. Do I have any choices for my courses?
Click here to see your options.
19. How do I register for my courses?
The very first time you register for any course at New Paltz, go to Records and Registration and register for your courses in person.  After that you can register over the phone (257-3430, see schedule of classes for specifics) or via the SUNY Web site.
20. What is a P.I. Card?
For some courses you will need a Permission of Instructor card. It is used to let you in classes that are limited to certain students.
21. When do you need a P.I. card?
You will need such a card anytime it is listed in the Schedule of Classes.  You will not be able to register on the phone for these courses.
22. Where do you get a P.I. card?
Only professors that teach this course will give you such a card.  You can try to call the professor before the course starts to obtain such a card or you can go to the first class of the semester.
23. Where do you take a P.I. card?
After you have been given a PI card you must take this to Records and Registration and register for the course in person.

Student Teaching:
24. When do you apply for student teaching?
You must apply the semester prior to student teaching. This does not include the summer sessions.  An informational meeting is scheduled each semester before the application deadline.  Meet with your advisor as explained in question 11 and 26, to make sure you meet all the qualifications for student teaching.
25. Where do you apply for student teaching?
At the Student Teaching Office in SCB 104.  An application is also available online.
26. What are the pre-requisites for student teaching?
You must have finished all your coursework before you are allowed to student teach.  You must have maintained a 3.0 GPA with no more than 2 grades below B-. You must have taken the workshops on Child Abuse and the SAVE project (see38-41).  You must have completed the first two teaching tests (see 35-37). You also need a health clearance through the health center.
27. How many placements will I be in and for how long?
You will be in two placements of 7.5 weeks each. For the Childhood certification one placement will be in a grades 1-3 classroom and one will be in a Pre-school or Kindergarten classroom and one will be in a grade 1 or 2 classroom.
28. Can I choose my placement?
No. But you can make your preferences known to the Student Teaching Office.
29. Can I take a course during student teaching?
No, you cannot take a course during student teaching.  Student Teaching is a full-time job and requires your time to prepare in the afternoon and evening.
30. How much time should I set aside for student teaching?
You should make as much time available as possible.  Besides being in the schools you will be doing work in the late afternoons and evenings to prepare.  If possible do not take any jobs and you cannot take any courses during this period as well.
31. What are the criteria for evaluation of my student teaching?
Go to the Student Teaching Web site to download the Student Teaching Handbook.
32. How will I be evaluated and graded?
See Student Teaching Handbook 
33. Who is my supervisor and what is his/her role?
Your supervisor is a college faculty member.  For a detailed description see Student Teaching Handbook
34. What do I do when problems occur during student teaching?
Always contact your college supervisor first.  Do not try to solve major problems yourself.  Do not involve other teachers in the building.  Then, if necessary, contact the chair of the department at 257-2860.
35. If I have substantial teaching experience in an area other than elementary education can I ask for a waiver of student teaching?
No, the degree is for certification in elementary education as a classroom teacher.  By applying to this program you agree to do this most important piece of the degree.

Graduation and Certification:
36. Which New York State teacher tests do I need to take?
Click here to find out more information about this question.
You can also go to this Web site:
http://www.nysed.gov/tcert/homepage.htm
Registration Bulletins are available in the various offices in the school of education.
You can also call the following number 518-474-3901
37. When do I take these tests?
See question 36.
38. How do I sign up for these tests?
See question 36.
39. Which workshops do I need to attend?
You must take a Child Abuse Prevention Workshop and a workshop in Project SAVE. 
40. Where are they offered?
These workshops are regularly offered in the School of Education and may be taken on line at any time. Dates and times are published on the bulletin boards throughout the building.
41. How often are they offered?
At least once every semester.
42. How do I sign up?
See Deb Gould in SCB 105 for the on-campus information.  For on-line workshops, go to www.childabuseworkshop.com or www.violencepreventionworkshop.com and use the code NewPaltz9 to register.
43. Where do I apply for graduation?
You file your application with the Records and Registration Office, HAB 25, 257-3110. Forms are available in HAB 19.
44. When do I apply for graduation?
In the semester before you plan to graduate. This does not include the summer. Check deadlines on the SUNY New Paltz Web site on the Academic Calender in the Schedule of Classes..
45. Can I graduate if I only hand in the blue forms?
Yes, but this does not mean you are also applying for certification.  See 46 and 47.
46. Where do I apply for certification?
Certification applications are distributed during the student teaching informational meeting at the beginning of the semester prior to your student teaching semester. You submit this to the certification officer with your money order.
47. When do I apply for certification and what does it cost?
You submit your application in the semester before you plan to graduate. You include a money order for $100 with your application.  Make sure the money order has no expiration date.
48. Where can I get more information about certification?
You can call 257-2805 or 257-2807.  You can also find the most up-to-date information on the State Education Department Web site: 
http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/

Teaching Career:
48. What additional studies can I do after my MST degree?
You can do additional MAster Degree programs, for example, in Special Education or Educational Leadership.  You can also get a grade 7-9 extension to your certification so that you may be certified to teach in the middle school and in high school.  To pursue this option go to the office of secondary education or click here to link to a page with information about this.
49. How do I make myself more employable beyond my studies here at New Paltz?
Any actual classroom experiences that you can organize or get hired in are a big plus.  Volunteering in community organizations or coaching in children's leagues are also important.  Going to professional conferences and participating in professional organizations while you are a student or just after graduation will stand out as well. 
50. What are the educational organizations (locally, regionally, and nationally) that may help me advance my knowledge of the teaching profession?
M a t h e m a t i c s:
State: Association of Mathematics Teachers of New York State
Nation: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
S c i e n c e:
State: Science Teachers Association of New York State
Nation: National Science Teachers Association
L a n g u a g e   A r t s:
State: New York State Reading Association
Nation: National Council of Teachers of English
Nation: International Reading Association
S o c i a l    S t u d i e s:
State: New York State Council for the Social Studies
Nation: National Council for the Social Studies
E l e m e n t a r y    E d u c a t i o n:  
Nation: Association for Childhood Education International
S p e c i a l    E d u c a t i o n:  
Nation: The Council for Exceptional Children
E a r l y   C h i l d h o o d   E d u c a t i o n:
State: NYS Association for the Education of Young Children
National: National Association for Education of Young Children, National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators
51. Where can I go for assistance with my career development?
Visit the Career Resource Center in Humanities room 105. Telephone: 257-3265.  Click here to go to the Web site.
52. What is a portfolio and do I really need one?
Visit the Career Resource Center in Humanities room 105. Telephone: 257-3265.  Click here to go to the Web site.
53. When do I start my portfolio and what goes in it?
Visit the Career Resource Center in Humanities room 105. Telephone: 257-3265.  Click here to go to the Web site.
54. When can I substitute teach?
The School of Education does not impose any restrictions.  You must contact the districts to find out what they require from you in order to be able to substitute there.