Questar III BOCES launched a new Master Teacher Program, an opportunity to create a collaborative effort between the Questar III administration and the Teachers’ Association. The program recognizes the special skills and talents of experienced teachers while enhancing their professional development.

To be selected for a two-year term, a teacher is required to submit an application, two letters of recommendation, a written statement on why they want to become a Master Teacher, their resume, and peer-reviewed lesson plans. Upon selection, the five Master Teachers work together to share their experiences, expertise, and professional development across Questar III BOCES. The second year of their term is dedicated to mentoring the next group of Master Teachers.

Questar III BOCES would like to congratulate this talented group of Master Teachers:

The Master Teachers have already begun their collaboration efforts. They attended conferences over the summer, are working on the Questar III BOCES Portrait of a Graduate, and reviewing alternative grading policies. They will work towards providing professional development opportunities and are eager to learn more about the schools and programs outside the ones they teach.

Courtney Schueler is a Special Education Reading Teacher at George Washington School. While in Grad school, she applied to become a Questar III BOCES Teachers’ Assistant and was hired at George Washington School and also worked a summer at the former Catskill Academy. After two years, she moved into a teaching position at George Washington School and has been teaching for the last ten years.

Courtney was inspired to apply for the Master Teacher program for the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues from other buildings.

“I’m only in one place,” said Courtney. “Questar III is a big organization, and we have a lot of different programs and schools that we typically don’t get to work with. We’re kind of in our own worlds within our building, working with a specific age group and specific student needs. This program gives us the opportunity to work with teachers from other buildings, opening our eyes to other solutions or instructional practices.”

One aspect of the program is to provide professional development opportunities for other teachers. While the Master Teachers are still working on what this will look like, there is some excitement about providing it to their colleagues, versus an outside source.

“I think teachers are a lot more accepting of PD when it comes from their own,” said Courtney. “When someone from the outside comes in, I think it’s natural to think that they can’t possibly understand exactly what it is we do here. When it’s coming internally, we all have a better understanding of the challenges we face and the goals that we have. I think people will be more receptive.”

Oftentimes, it can feel like the next step for teachers to experience career growth is to move to administration, but not all teachers are interested in that. The Master Teacher program can provide those opportunities, allowing teachers to achieve something different.

“When you do the same thing repeatedly, you can feel like you’re improving, but that you’re not really working your way up. This program is a chance to be recognized your efforts, and I think Questar investing in it shows they value us as teachers.”

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