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Are You Authorized to Teach Teachers?: The CTLE and You

In a previous post, I reported that the New York State Education Department (SED) had established new procedures to regulate the teaching of teachers for professional development credit. The change was due to the abuses of the old system by teachers and school districts. The new system called Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) was featured at a workshop at the Museum Association of New York (MANY) conference. I attended the workshop and consider it to have been the most important session of the conference.

The presentation was by Kathryn Weller and James Jenkins of the New York State Museum (NYSM) with the assistance of Ann Jasinski (SED). The State Museum had to apply for CTLE authorization itself so the staff could speak from direct personal experience. The PowerPoint presentation is available free. For it or any questions contact:

Kathryn Weller:
James R. Jenkins:

Copies were sent to attendees and I am writing this post based on my notes from the session and the PowerPoint.

By statute, CTLE is defined as follows:

Activities designed to improve the teacher or leader’s pedagogical and/or leadership skills, targeted at improving student performance, including but not limited to formal continuing teacher and leader education activities.

It applies to:

Teachers with a Professional Certificate in the Classroom Teaching Service
 School leaders with a Professional Certificate in the Educational Leadership Service
 Teaching Assistants with a Teaching Assistant Level III certificate.

 CTLE does not apply to new teachers. Once teachers have received their professional certificate the requirements are:

each 5 year registration period, an applicant shall successfully complete a minimum of 100 hours of continuing teacher and leader education, as defined by the Commissioner.

 The issuer of CTLE credits must be authorized to do so by the SED. Some entities automatically qualify as a CTLE provider: schools, teacher centers, and BOCES. Then there is another category called “Other prospective sponsors.” This category includes museums and/or historical societies. There is a $600 application fee for 5 years coverage. Technically the $600 is for the evaluation of your application so if your application is declined you are out the money, there is no refund. There is no indication if a rejected application can be resubmitted without an additional $600 fee based on feedback from SED or even if SED will provide feedback. My impression is this one of the areas that requires finetuning.

To download the application as a PDF go to

Some of the items for the application are similar to what you may already do for grants. The key items in the application process are:

1. Copy of Charter or Certificate of Incorporation
2. Copy of mission statement or purpose of the organization
3. Sample CTLE Activity and all relevant documents – this is the only time a proposed CTLE activity needs to be submitted. You are not required to submit each time you present a program. Most likely history organization programs will be content oriented. You will be presenting information via a lecture, exhibit tour, grounds tour, etc.

One type of presentation not directly addressed is an activity many organizations do: a public lecture by an author/professor. We want teachers to attend such programs and have the opportunity to hear content information from scholars but the program is not a teacher program and would be offered even if no teacher attends. My impression is this is not the type of program SED had in mind when designing the form. However lectures are a common activity by historical organizations. Furthermore, after the lecture, there is not going to be a separate meeting with teacher(s) who attended the often evening lecture. Here is an example when some finetuning in the program may be needed.

CTLE may also be pedagogical. Typically the pedagogy follows the presentation of the content. Here is the information, now how will you use it in the classroom?

The application form provides guidelines on what is to be submitted as a sample CTLE activity.

1. title, description and outline of the program
2. subject/topic of the CTLE activity, learning objectives and its target audience (classroom teachers, school leaders, teaching assistants or any combination of these)
3. names, curriculum vitae and qualifications of the presenter(s) for each lecture or subject/topic
4. a course syllabus and copies of any handouts or materials
5. costs, refund policies, cancellation policies and proposed location(s)
6. a description of the teaching methods to be used
7. advertising materials, brochures and/or information about how the CTLE activity will be marketed and
8. the length of the CTLE activity in contact hours.

Again, please keep in mind that you only have to submit this information once and with one example. It does however indicate the information you will need to keep on file for each program that you offer. See Section 2 CTLE Activities below for more detail.

1. Description of the organization’s procedures to identify, design and evaluate CTLE activities
2. Organization’s procedures and criteria for selecting instructors
3. Description of the organization’s procedures to evaluate effectiveness
4. Plan to maintain records – good old-fashioned folders for each class were recommended although it can be done as computer files too.
5. Financial resources documents
– Attach a brief description of the financial base upon which the organization’s CTLE activities are funded.
– Attach a description of all physical resources (e.g., offices, buildings, etc.), administrative organization, employees, student services, and any other resources available to facilitate CTLE objectives.

One should note that fees can be charged to participating teachers seeking CTLE credit. Still there are some issues. Not all organizations have physical resources. Not all organizations have employees. Not all organizations have a financial base, meaning some programs have to pay for themselves through the registration fees to at least cover the out-of-pocket costs of the program. For the smaller organizations, CTLE may be more of a burden than a help.


What are the CTLE activities that SED wants history organizations to fulfill? Here is some sample jargon. The CTLE activity:

1. will expand educators’ content knowledge and the knowledge and skills necessary to provide appropriate instructional strategies and assesses student progress;
2. is research-based and provides educators with opportunities to analyze, apply, and engage in research.

In some cases, it may be useful to complete the application with the aid of a teacher or someone familiar with the k-12 social studies guidelines.

Sample lesson plan templates used by the NYSM are included in the PowerPoint presentation.


Sponsors are required to use instructors who are qualified to teach the CTLE activities. For museums and history organizations the requirement more likely refers to content specialists than education specialists.  Curators and historians are two prime examples. Educational specialists refers to people who know how to use different types of resources as evidence or can create experiences that embrace the Enquiry Arc of the Social Studies Framework.

The applying organization must certify that standards for the selection of instructors will be maintained. One needs to maintain job descriptions that demonstrate that the individual instructor is qualified by training and/or experience to teach the CTLE activity assigned to them. Typically this would be the CV of an invited speaker. In addition, the organization must maintain and use written procedures to evaluate instructors’ performance. Once again, these requirements do not mean that each and every time you offer at CTLE program you have to submit to the SED the job descriptions and evaluations of each instructor, but that you are required to maintain the supporting documentation m for the program for up to eight years. These records are subject to audit when the participating teacher’s record is up for review.  There are sample forms available and the suggestion was to keep them in hard copy filed by class or program.


Similarly with the assessment of learning, there must be a documented method and record to measure the extent to which the CTLE objectives and educational methods were met in the program. These assessment methods could include:

participant evaluations
activity monitors (a component of a larger assessment)

The NYSM created a participant questionnaire you can copy. It evaluated:

What the participant learned
How they will apply the information learned

The PowerPoint presentation includes a sample of the form used by the NYSM. Some short responses questions are:

Additional comments about the presenter(s)?
How did you learn about this workshop?
What did you learn today and how will you use that information?
What was the most useful part of this workshop? Why?
What was the least useful part of this workshop?  Why & how could we change it?
What future workshop topics would you be interested in?

Again the question here is what about teachers attending a public content program, meaning a lecture? There really isn’t time after the lecture to meet with the attending teachers. Often there isn’t beforehand either. How exactly to handle this will require some trial and error to see what actually works.


As mentioned, records are to be maintained for eight years. The required information to maintain includes:

the date and location of the CTLE activity;
the name and curriculum vitae of the instructor/presenter;
the objectives and learning methods of the CTLE activity;
the outline of the CTLE activity, the assessment methods used, and the number of contact hours of the CTLE activity;
a summary of any evaluation of the CTLE activity;
copies of all promotional materials used in a CTLE activity;
any evaluation of the need for the CTLE activity; and
the list of certified professionals in attendance, including each attendee’s first name, last name, last four digits of their Social Security Number and their date of birth.

Upon completion of the program, the CTLE provider then can issue a certificate to the participating teacher. The certificate is to include:

1. the CTLE institutions name;
2. the name of the participant as it appears on the TEACH website;
3. the last four digits of the participant’s Social Security Number;
4. the participant’s date of birth;
5. the date and location of the CTLE activity;
6. the CTLE activity title;
7. the educational area (e.g., pedagogy, content, English language learning);
8. the number of CTLE hours;
9. the Approved Sponsor Identification number;
10. the sponsor’s contact email address and phone number;
11. the name and signature of the Authorized Certifying Officer and a statement indicating that the organization is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s Office of Teaching Initiatives as an approved sponsor of CTLE for Professional Classroom Teachers, School Leaders and Level III Teaching Assistants.

Obviously there are confidentiality issues in the required information particularly with the date of birth, Last 4 of SSN, and Email/contact.


What does all this mean for an individual history society and museum? If you are a local organization only providing programs to teachers in the school district where you are located, probably not much. The local school district, teacher center, or BOCES will issue the CTLE credit. Your only responsibility will be to certify to them that you are in compliance. That may mean submitting CVs of the instructors in the program. Most likely the school will provide the forms it wants you to use for evaluations, lesson plan, certificates which you will complete and return to the school.

If you are involved with multiple school districts and promote your programs to a larger audience, then you need to become an authorized CTLE provider. At the workshop the NYSM and the Albany Institute of History & Art both in attendance are authorized. Since the workshop, I have noticed that the New-York Historical Society and Teaching Hudson Valley (NPS) have become authorized providers as well. Obviously these organizations offer programs covering wide geographical areas, they want to be in control of their own programs which they initiate, and they have the staff to complete the application.

One possibility raised at the workshop, in response to my own comment, was whether one organization could function as the recordkeeping organization for another. The answer was yes. This means, for example, that the Albany Institute of History & Art could be the one official CTLE authorizer in Albany (city and/or county) and would maintain the required records for eight years. So rather than smaller organizations going through the formal application process, it could simply contact the Albany Institute of History & Art and send its program forms there. This would enable a smaller organization in Albany to offer a program to multiple school districts without being a CTLE provider itself.

Although the program originated in 2016, it is still brand new to the history community. At the time of the workshop there may only have been the one non-government CTLE provider, the Albany Institute of History & Art with additional applications in the pipeline. There are some improvements which would be helpful:

1. Clarifying how the “parent” relationship would work so smaller societies can offer CTLE activities without having to pay the $600 evaluation fee or spending the time to prepare the application.

2. Clarifying how teacher participation in public programs with content value would qualify such as a lecture series during the school year, conferences such as the recent American Revolution in the Mohawk Valley, and the routine types of walks, tours, talks, historical organizations present during the normal course of operation or for designated days like the Ramble in the Hudson Valley or the Path through History.

3. Recognizing that not all history providers have physical offices, resources, or staff, especially municipal historians and volunteer organizations.

4. Providing a list of the most common guidelines and standards in the curriculum relevant to history organizations especially for content.

The CTLE represents an important step in potentially reducing the abuses of the previous situation. Still there should be no underestimating the determination and ability of school districts to game the system. It is important for the history community to learn the language of the CTLE process so it can be proactive by saying to the schools : “We know what you have to do to comply with the CTLE requirements, here is how we can help.”