Dr. Jane Coffee (foreground) with Teacher Education Honors Academy students

The Teacher Education Honors Academy (TEHA) is one of the flagship programs at the College of Staten Island. This exceptional program is quickly becoming one of the marquee education programs in New York City.   

Labeled the “Gold Standard” by local high school principals, Dr. Jane Coffee, the Director of the TEHA, likens the program to a med school residency with the students learning both a major discipline at CSI and receiving “hands-on” classroom experience in local Staten Island middle and high schools. All of the Students accepted into the program are Math, Chemistry, Biology, or Physics majors.

The students spend the first seven semesters in the program working among six host schools until the eighth semester, when they choose one school where they will student teach. By the end of their “residency” the TEHA students are “well versed in the culture of the school,” according to Dr. Coffee. 

In order to be accepted into the program, students must be well-rounded with grades somewhere in the high 80s to low 90s as well as have high Math and Science Regent scores. Students who graduate from the TEHA do so in their major, as well as receive New York State certification. Accepted students also receive priority registration at CSI and are guaranteed to graduate in four years. “There is no waste,” Dr. Coffee said. “Students don’t take the wrong course.”

Of the 32 students currently enrolled in the program, 26 are Math majors and their desire to perfect their craft is evident during off-hours between classes when the students can be found untangling calculus problems on the TEHA’s state-of-the art Smart Board. Teachers who come out of CSI’s TEHA are well-versed in their major, are up-to-date with all of the latest equipment, and have all stood in front of a classroom before the end of their first semester–all dynamic attributes that will make them very competitive as they apply for jobs in Staten Island schools. 

TEHA’s objective is to place every one of their students in a Staten Island high school or middle school which, for the most part, means reintroducing these former Staten Island high school students back as teachers.

“My goal is to recruit excellent students and turn them into excellent teachers, so when their students then enroll in CSI, there will be less remediation,” said Dr. Coffee, who added, “Our students are learning from the best.”

Along with the five Presidential scholarships committed by CSI President Dr. Tomás D. Morales, the TEHA has also been awarded a National Science Foundation Robert Noyce grant worth over $800,000 and a grant from the Harcourt Foundation, which supports seven students for three years. The Presidential scholarships are applicable to entering students while the Noyce scholarship is awarded to juniors and seniors. 

CSI’s TEHA began as a part of CUNY-wide program entitled the Teacher Academy in 2006 when it was also offered by Brooklyn, Hunter, Queens, City, and Lehman Colleges.