SUNY Potsdam Broadens Access for Working & Aspiring Educators with Fully Online Degree Option for Literacy Master’s Program
Working and aspiring educators just got a more flexible path to completing their graduate studies, as SUNY Potsdam announces a new fully online option for its Master of Science in Education degree program in literacy. Dedicated faculty developed the new virtual degree option in response to demand from past and present graduate students and recent alumni.
“This online option is going to help us continue to serve those who feel that closeness to Potsdam and want to do their graduate work with us, so even if they take a teaching job seven hours away, they can still complete their master’s here,” said Kathryn Jeror, a clinical faculty member who helped to craft the new program. “Our graduate students are in that time of your life when you are busy. You’re having weddings, your first job, your first child—and trying to juggle getting your master’s too. This opens up possibilities for people to consider taking a job and still being able to start working on their master’s online.”
SUNY Potsdam’s longstanding MSED program allows candidates to qualify for Initial New York State Certification in either Literacy (Birth-Grade 6) or Literacy (Grade 5-12). Candidates will also satisfy the academic requirements for Professional Certification in their Initial New York certification area. The program is nationally recognized by the International Literacy Association, and accredited through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (formerly NCATE).
“The online literacy program allows for a more flexible approach when building towards a teaching career. This program allows for experiences within school districts, shadowing a literacy specialist, and diverse opportunities to engage with peers remotely,” said current student Ashley Barr ’22. “Online learning is the new and improved avenue to connect with others in a professional manner!”
Faculty had already been developing the online option for the degree when the pandemic hit, which sped up the transition, as professors had to quickly adapt coursework for virtual instruction, according to instructor Carolyn Stone '98, who worked with Jeror on the all-online literacy track.
The College had already offered evening classes and coursework at its Watertown Extension Site to meet the demand for flexibility—but this takes that trend a big step forward.
“I remember teaching from 7:30 to 9:15 at night, with students driving here from long distances, who had families and work, and had to drive home again after class. There were always challenges with weather and life getting in the way. So many of our undergraduates get teaching jobs even before graduating now, so we really need to serve them. This really responds to that, cutting out that commute time and streamlining the program by blocking courses together,” said Dr. Lynn Hall, chair of the Department of Advanced Studies in Education.
Whether they study online or in-person, students will continue to benefit from close relationships with faculty, field supervisors and classmates.
Karina Antonio ’20 & ’22, who is pursuing her MSED in literacy at SUNY Potsdam, works with first-graders Makaya Barrett (center) and Jace Colbert as part of her internship at Parishville-Hopkinton Central School. SUNY Potsdam just launched an all-online option for the program.
Emily Pitz ’21 & ’22, who is pursuing an MSED in literacy at SUNY Potsdam, reads a book to Payslee Dissottle during her internship at Parishville-Hopkinton Central School.
Karina Antonio ’20 & ’22, who is pursuing her MSED in literacy at SUNY Potsdam, works with first-graders Makaya Barrett (left) and Jace Colbert as part of her internship at Parishville-Hopkinton Central School. SUNY Potsdam just launched an all-online option for the program.
"I admire the devotion and support each professor exhibits throughout the semester. It creates ease and proficiency when mastering literacy concepts. Each course interconnects building a community and inspiring you to do your best every step of the way,” said current student Karina Antonio ’20 & ’22. “I was a preschool teacher when I graduated and decided to come back up to SUNY Potsdam for grad school, because of all the wonderful professors I had while in undergrad.”
Graduate students in the program gain in-depth knowledge of the literacy theories and research-based practices essential for effective, inclusive teaching, intervention, curriculum development and leadership.
“It’s interesting how close our students become. They really rely on each other. In those online classes, they have supportive faculty and classmates that they form close relationships with. They support each other, and they apply what they are learning in their classes out in the schools,” Jeror said.
The School of Education and Professional Studies at SUNY Potsdam has been preparing educators for more than 200 years. Today, that legacy of educational excellence also stretches to undergraduate and graduate programs in business administration, public health and human performance, to help students prepare for professions in the global economy. For more information, visit https://www.potsdam.edu/academics/SOEPS.
About SUNY Potsdam:
Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit www.potsdam.edu.