Mercy’s School of Education Launches Three-Year Plan to Strengthen Teacher Preparation Through Key Partnerships

Faculty and community partners

Mercy University School of Education dean and faculty, BranchED leaders, and representatives from the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns, including Superintendent Raymond Sanchez, Ed.D, and members of its Board of Education.

Mercy’s School of Education is committed to enhancing its teacher preparation programs to ensure that graduates are fully prepared to educate an increasingly diverse student population. The School of Education recently joined the fifth National Teacher Preparation Center cohort led by Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity (BranchED). This three-year program will support the School of Education in assessing its programs, partnering with Public Schools of the Tarrytowns to determine what local schools need from teachers and then enhancing its programs accordingly. The School of Education’s desire to innovate and build key relationships to strengthen its programs demonstrates its commitment to its students and the surrounding community.

“Our School of Education is excited and honored to be selected as part of Cohort 5,” said Eric Martone, Ph.D., dean of Mercy’s School of Education. “We look forward to using this experience to improve our operations, develop more responsive academic programs and enhance our community partnerships — all to better serve our students and foster greater diversity in education.”

“We’re excited to be entering into our ‘transformation phase,’” said co-project lead Roseanne Vallice Levy, Ph.D., associate dean for academic affairs at Mercy’s School of Education and assistant professor of special education. “We want to connect theory with practice so that what teacher candidates are learning in their classes at the School of Education really supports what is needed and expected of teachers in our communities.” Sudha Ramaswamy, Ph.D., chair of the School of Education’s Department of Special Education and Educational Leadership and associate professor of special education, will serve as the other co-project lead and Harriet Lew, information technology coordinator for the School of Education, will serve in the role of data leader.

BranchED — a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening educator preparation programs at Minority Serving Institutions — will provide Mercy with coaching, resources, professional development and access to a network of other institutions doing similar work. “We’ve already seen how much support BranchED provided us with throughout the application process, so we’re excited that their coaches will continue guiding us through this transformational work,” said Levy.

Mercy’s School of Education hosted a project launch on October 12 that was attended by representatives from the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns—including Superintendent Raymond Sanchez, Ed.D., and members of its Board of Education — School of Education faculty and BranchED leaders. The first step in the project is to gather feedback from School of Education students, faculty and Public Schools of the Tarrytowns leaders to determine areas of strength and growth in School of Education programs across four areas in particular: candidate learning, culture of inquiry, teacher educators and access and success. Upon reviewing this feedback, faculty committees will determine the goals and improvements to be made. “We want to make sure everybody is on the same page and that it’s truly a collaborative effort between the district and the School of Education,” said Levy.

The School of Education hopes to replicate this work with other school districts so that Mercy can strengthen how it prepares teacher candidates. “We hope to create a system that's sustainable and replicable at different districts,” said Ramaswamy. “The ultimate goal is not to just use BranchED’s resources for the next three years but to really think about how to use BranchED’s resources and support to create a system that will work for us in the long term.” This will ensure that School of Education graduates lead successful careers and make a meaningful impact on local schools and students.