VITAL Educator Program
Virtual Implementation of Teaching and Learning
The New York State Education Department seeks to build expertise in the teaching and administration of virtual/hybrid schools, programs, and courses. The VITAL (Virtual Implementation of Teaching and Learning) Educator Program intends to develop a cadre of expert, or VITAL, educators who are able to turnkey professional learning content to colleagues throughout the state.
VITAL educators will participate in a year-long professional learning community to become expert trainers who will turnkey these ready-made materials into regional and/or online trainings. Trainers names will be posted on the NYSED website and will then have the ability to train educators in their regions, districts, and schools using the SED-approved content. Educators who complete all program requirements will receive a generous $14,500 stipend and statewide designation as a VITAL Trainer at the conclusion of the PLC in July 2024.
To be eligible for program admission, educators must be currently employed by a public school district, BOCES, charter school, non-public school, or college or university within New York State. Applications will be evaluated on criteria including, but not limited to, the following:
- Teaching/administrative/support staff experience
- Experience teaching/administrating/supporting virtual & hybrid learning
- Willingness to champion virtual & hybrid learning as a means for more equitable access to high-quality instruction beyond the training period
- Experience delivering professional learning to adults
- Regional representation
- Approval from current supervisor
Questions about the VITAL Educator Program can be sent to VITAL@nysed.gov.
- Complete 3 module tracks in Tale Academy:
- Shifting to Teaching Online- must be completed in order to progress to the next module series to be eligible for the VITAL Educator Stipend
- Family & Community Engagement or Supporting Educators
- One additional professional learning track. The third track will identify the educator as a specialist in the specific core competency.
- Complete train-the-trainer program
- Participate in focus groups/interviews with action research partners from SUNY Stony Brook to advise the state on comprehensive guidance for virtual learning
- Propose and conduct at least one training or record a webinar
- Attend VITAL Kick-off event in July 2024 (subject to change; details TBD)
TALE Academy includes 7 Modules:
- Shifting to Teaching Across Learning Environments (TALE)
- Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Across Learning Environments
- Meeting the Needs of Students with Disabilities Across Learning Environments
- Meeting the Needs of English Language Learners/Multi-Language Learners Across Learning Environments
- Family and Community Engagement Across Learning Environments
- Social Emotional Learning Across Learning Environments
- Leading to Support Educators Across Learning Environments
TALE Academy is designed to model best practices in online learning.
- SELF-PACED: The 7 modules are comprised of sessions that take 60-90 minutes to complete. Each session is chunked into discrete activities. The learning management system will keep a record of where the learner stopped so that they can pick up again when they have time.
- LEARNER CHOICE: Choice is fostered through providing multiple modalities to engage with direct instruction (e.g., reading or viewing a video) and links for deeper learning that also use multiple modalities (online videos, research papers, blog posts, podcasts, etc.).
- MODELING: Throughout the modules, short videos of New York State educators sharing their own experiences related to teaching across learning environments (TALE) provide inspiration for the learners.
- ENGAGING ACTIVITIES: Learners will receive a variety of activities to support reflection and application through written prompts, guided activities, and opportunities to create videos, cartoons, mind maps, and more.
- APPLIED LEARNING: Learners will complete reflective activities that help them bring what they have learned back to their classrooms and schools in relation to their own teaching contexts (e.g., subject area, grade level, etc.).
- DEEPER LEARNING: Learners are provided opportunities to pursue deeper learning with choices (both in terms of content and format) to engage more intensively with the topics.
How long should my response be to the short answer question in the application?
- While there is no required length for the response, your answer should be long enough to give the reviewers enough information to understand your interest in, commitment to, and experience with virtual learning.
If a person who is currently employed in a district is selected to be a VITAL Educator, but retires a few years down the road, will they still be able to be a VITAL Educator?
- Yes. However, an expectation is that VITAL Trainers, those who successfully complete the entire program, will become champions for virtual learning in the state regardless of employment status. See more in the Post-Program Expectations section below.
Can school social workers apply?
- Yes, social workers currently employed by a public school district, BOCES, charter school, or non-public school within New York State can apply.
Is there an education or certification requirement for this program?
- Although there is no specific certification or education required for this program, any certifications and/or endorsements and higher education will be taken into account during the application review process.
Could a teacher who is going to be on parental, family, or medical leave for a portion of the program still participate?
- Yes, a teacher could participate as long as the teacher is still employed by an applicable institution and able to complete all of the program requirements.
Will this count as PD hours for our certification renewal? If so, how many will it include?
- Completion of modules will earn educators appropriate CTLE credit based on individual module details.
Program Content and Coaching
Can people who are not part of the program access the training materials?
- Yes, the website will be made publicly available by NYSED at the completion of the program.
Will the turnkey training require teachers to develop their own content?
- VITAL Educators will be responsible for utilizing the content that has already been created for the TALE academy to develop a training plan and extend training opportunities in their region.
What is the format that the training/coaching window work is expected to take place in?
- The program activities will be completed virtually, both synchronously and asynchronously.
Are there a number of instances where we will be required to teach virtually?
- There is no requirement for teaching virtually. NYSED seeks to build expertise in teaching and administration of virtual/hybrid schools, programs, and courses.
Are the modules asynchronous?
- Yes, completing the modules will be done asynchronously, with synchronous meetings to reinforce module content.
What do the turnkey and coaching elements look like?
- The turnkey portion refers to the expectation that educators will participate in the training and then use the content and knowledge to train other staff. The coaching sessions will be held both synchronously and asynchronously to help trainers prepare training plans as their final product of the VITAL Educator Program.
Time of Program Activities
What is the time commitment for participating in the VITAL program?
- Over the course of the program, we anticipate it being no more than 100 hours from Nov. 1 to July 31.
Are program activities held during the school day?
- Required synchronous activities will be minimal, no earlier than 3:30 pm on school days, and will be issued with substantial notice.
Do you have an estimate of how many hours per week will need to be dedicated to the program on asynchronous work?
- Asynchronous work allows all educators to grow at their own pace. Therefore, an estimated number of weekly hours is hard to calculate. Over the course of the program, we anticipate it being no more than 100 hours from Nov. 1 to July 31.
Are the synchronous meetings required for completion? Will there be make-ups available?
- Synchronous meetings are required for completion, but most work will be done asynchronously. All meetings will take place no earlier than 3:30PM on school days to accommodate school-based professionals. We are not anticipating offering make-ups.
When is the date of Kickoff? Is it mandatory?
- The date for the Kick-off has not been decided yet. While it’s not mandatory, attendance is strongly encouraged.
Will participants continue to be compensated for further training we create as webinars or facilitate for our region after the kickoff event?
- No further compensation will be given by NYSED after the kickoff event.
Will there be another round for the 2023-24 school year?
- NYSED does not anticipate another round of this program.
What is the expectation after July 31st?
- VITAL Educators will receive a distinction of VITAL Trainer from NYSED. The VITAL Trainers will be listed on NYSED website as approved to deliver trainings based on the TALE Academy resources for at least five years. While there will be no further financial opportunities from NYSED, it is expected that you are able to become a champion for the growth of virtual learning opportunities in New York. The following chart shows some example of how VITAL Educators will be able to champion virtual learning after the completion of this program:
|Educator Program Preparation Faculty||
VITAL Program Calendar
|Application window closes||October 13, 2023|
|VITAL Educator Orientation||November 2023|
|Module completion and focus group window||November 2023- February 2024|
|Turnkey trainer session window||February 2024 - March 2024|
|Training (Coaching) window||April 2024 - July 2024|
|VITAL Kickoff Event||July 2024|