A novel approach by an accredited, educational organization enables people with non-traditional educational backgrounds to qualify for graduate degrees. Graduate programs available in Crown Heights include tracks for: a Masters Degree in General Education, Business (M.B.A.), and Special Education. Some programs do not require the traditional Bachelor of Arts degree to enroll.
T.E.A.M., an acronym for Teachers Education Assessment and Management, created by educators to cater to the needs of the general yeshiva community, has been specially redesigned to meet the needs of Chabad educators, especially those in Crown Heights.
Following its success in facilitating Nova Southeastern University’s online graduate program, educational leaders invited T.E.A.M. to come to Crown Heights and offer courses for baccalaureate and graduate degrees starting in January. Qualified applicants can earn a masters degree in general education, business, or special education, even if they have no prior formal undergraduate studies experience. Having seen T.E.A.M.’s success with the induction of an accredited academic and education-consulting program in Queens in 2007, these educators decided to facilitate T.E.A.M.’s B.A. and Masters program in Crown Heights.
“I had always wanted to be a teacher, but many schools are inclined to hire those with a masters degree in education in addition to smicha before those with rabbinical ordination alone,” recounts Josef S. who is studying now through T.E.A.M.’s education track by taking online correspondence courses through Nova Southeastern University. “I met with T.E.A.M. for a consultation. They told me how many credits my yeshiva studies counted for, and then helped to map out my year of online studies so that I can graduate with my masters from the comfort of my Brooklyn home.” A candidate who has smicha from an AARTS accredited school can move directly into a graduate program.
Currently, there are three graduate degrees granted by well-established universities that are facilitated by T.E.A.M, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree program available to those with and without prior formal education.
“We are excited to bring this service to the community,” comments Eric Braunstein, director of education initiatives at T.E.A.M. “There are major benefits for the Crown Heights community, considering the number of educators needed in local schools and considering residents’ need for income.”
For a person wishing to obtain a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) who has a background in yeshiva, seminary, or rabbinical studies, he (or she) may make a consultation appointment with a T.E.A.M advisor. The consultation includes a review of the applicant’s transcripts with an assessment of previously granted credits for application toward the undergraduate degree being pursued. Typically, about 75-80 credits are accepted from prior yeshiva studies and only an additional 35-40 credits, translating to about 13 courses, are necessary for an accredited B.A. The T.E.A.M. advisor will also help create a roadmap for those 13 courses that the applicant should take and is available for post-consultation support and guidance.
A person’s B.A. obtained either through T.E.A.M. or by attending any four-year accredited college can then be used for entrance to one of the T.E.A.M graduate programs, or as mentioned, smicha from an AARTS accredited yeshiva is considered a full B.A.
One T.E.A.M graduate program is a Masters in Business Administration (M.B.A.) offered in conjunction with a fully accredited Illinois-based university offering correspondence courses. This program, which has separate classes for men and women, begins this summer with three courses offered in Crown Heights and nine courses offered online at a 60% tuition discount through T.E.A.M. Without any prerequisite courses necessary for enrollment, he will complete all 36 credits and receive his M.B.A.
Another graduate degree being offered is through Pace University, a top-caliber regionally accredited school located in New York City. At a 30% discounted tuition rate, one can attend courses at the Manhattan campus in classrooms that are separate for men and women. Classes begin in September and will meet on Wednesday evenings. The student will graduate with New York State Teacher Certification, which can be used to teach in private schools.
A third T.E.A.M. graduate program track is one that will earn a person a Masters in Education and Learning. One can enter this track with a B.A., an Associate in Arts degree, or a yeshiva-accredited degree, yet one does not need to take any prerequisite courses in order to apply. Beginning in November, five courses will be held at a local T.E.A.M. facility that has separate classes for men and women. Following the in-class courses, the student will then be enrolled in Nova Southeastern University to complete his Masters by taking the seven remaining courses via a 40% reduced online correspondence tuition. One can also build into his degree a concentration in one of the following 15 Masters Degree Elective Options:
* Cognitive and Behavioral Disabilities
* Curriculum, Instruction, and Technology
* Early Literacy Education
* Educational Leadership
* Educational Technology
* Elementary Education
* Gifted Child Education
* Management and Administration of Educational Programs
* Mathematics Education
* Pre-Kindergarten and Primary Education
* Reading Education
* Science Education
* Social Studies Education
* Spanish Language Education
* Special Education
“Although the N.S.U. certification excludes teaching in public schools, those who wish to teach in the private yeshiva school system gain tremendously,” Braunstein asserts, “because they benefit in career advancement and salary increase. In addition, our modified scheduling, separate classes, and 40% tuition reduction provide current and aspiring educators an affordable pathway to earn accredited credentials in teaching.”
Someone who has no academic background, but has 3 or more years of teaching experience, can apply to T.E.A.M. for the Special Education track with a submission of a “Life Experience” portfolio.
“When I began teaching 20 years ago, a degree was not as crucial to finding a job as it is today,” explains Etti Siegel who recently graduated from N.S.U. with her Masters in Teaching and Learning and a concentration in Educational Leadership. “Thanks to T.E.A.M.’s and Nova’s rigorous courses, my degree has leveled the playing field and I have so many more opportunities available to me now,” emphasized the New York City native.
One leading Chabad educator said, “This is an opportunity that all forward-looking and sensitive educators should consider because it will improve their pedagogic skills and increase the effectiveness of our educational system.”
For rates, discounts, dates, and registration information, go to Teacher Education, Assessment & Management’s website at www.GoTeamEd.com or call the T.E.A.M. office at 718-925-3839.