Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education was one of four institutions honored by the U.S. Department of Education with the first-ever National Award for Effective Teacher Preparation. “Identifying effective teacher preparation programs and studying and disseminating what we learn from them will significantly advance efforts to improve teacher preparation in America,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley.

“We looked for programs that could provide compelling evidence that their graduates were effective classroom teachers capable of advancing the learning of all students.” Given the department’s priorities on reading and math, this year’s selection process focused on distinct programs that prepare elementary school teachers or secondary school mathematics teachers. The award recognizes programs throughout the country that are defined as being on the leading edge of demonstrating the link between their teacher preparation programs and their graduates’ ability to improve student learning. All traditional and non-traditional teacher preparation programs in the U.S. were eligible for the award. Fordham was one of nine semifinalists.

Site visits were conducted by a blue-ribbon panel and this group made recommendations to Riley, who selected the winners. “This recognition is a milestone in our continuing efforts to design the best teacher education programs we can,” said Regis Bernhardt, Ph.D., dean of Fordham’s Graduate School of Education. “A lot of time and thought was devoted to defining our knowledge base, developing courses and field experiences, and supporting teacher candidates in the classroom. We are confident our teacher candidates are ready when they enter the classroom.” Fordham’s Graduate School of Education is one of four schools in New York State with accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

Fordham’s programs place special emphasis on preparing educators for the unique challenges of urban schools. New York City’s district reading test scores are below those in other areas of the state and 11,000 uncertified teachers hold positions in public schools. Fordham’s elementary education program is committed to working with districts to increase the number and quality of urban elementary educators. Winners were honored at a ceremony held on Dec. 7 in Washington, D.C. In addition to Fordham, programs at East Carolina University, Alverno College and Samford University were also recognized. Founded in 1917, Fordham’s Graduate School of Education prepares teachers, administrators, counselors and psychologists through challenging academic programs that integrate theory with reflective and innovative practice. The school offers graduate programs at the University’s Bronx, Manhattan and Westchester campuses.