Genesee Prepares to Launch New Teacher Assistant Degree

A new Teacher Assistant degree program will be in place by January 2005, Teacher Education Transfer Instructor Christine Belongia reported to the Board of Trustees on Monday, November 8th.

The new program will prepare students to work as assistants in classrooms and other instructional settings in elementary and secondary schools, she said. The teacher assistant field is rapidly expanding, and many school districts are facing shortages of teacher assistants over the next five years, Ms. Belongia said.

The new Associate in Applied Science degree program is highly flexible, Ms. Belongia told the Board. Students who receive the College's Teacher Assistant Certificate - a program entailing one year of full-time study - can easily transfer credits toward the Teacher Assistant Degree program or the Teacher Education Transfer program. Students who receive the Teacher Assistant degree and who later wish to become classroom teachers can also transfer their credits to the College's Teacher Education Transfer program. The Teacher Assistant degree and certificate programs give students the theoretical and practical knowledge they need to function effectively in a classroom setting, Ms. Belongia said. But the two programs also assure area school districts - who will employ many of the graduates of these two programs - that graduates meet the new credentials required under the "No Child Left Behind" act.

"The education of our young people is one of the most important functions of our communities and our society," Ms. Belongia told the Board of Trustees. "We are proud of the fact that Genesee Community College was the first community college in New York State to institute a Teacher Education Transfer degree program a number of years ago. We are equally proud of the leadership Genesee is showing in instituting programs for teacher assistants, and preparing a new generation of professionals and paraprofessionals for our schools."