Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ed.D.)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Ceceilia Parnther

Second Advisor

Katherine Aquino

Third Advisor

Catherine DiMartino


The critical shortage of qualified teachers in hard to staff urban schools has been a persistent issue in the U.S. for decades. Teachers and researchers have pointed to the inadequacy of teacher preparation programs to prepare teacher candidates to address the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students and special education students as the catalyst of the teacher shortage in urban schools. Urban school systems, like the New York City Department of Education, have had success in filling their teacher shortages through alternative teacher certification programs. Through these programs, teacher candidates are given a preservice teacher preparation that incorporates three components: college/university coursework, mentorship, and school-based fieldwork. Theoretically frameworks, Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and Culturally Responsive Teaching, are incorporated in the objective of each component and serve as a method of preparing teacher candidates to teach culturally and linguistically diverse students. The success of NYC has generated a significant response from colleges and universities across New York State (NYS), with many adopting some version of an alternative pathway or courses for teacher certification. However, there is little to no research on whether alternative teacher certification pathways outside of NYC are designed to address the same population and needs of students as NYC alternative teacher certification programs were designed to do. This study examines the cultural competencies and practices of preservice teachers enrolled in a NYS rural and suburban college or university alternative teacher certification program. This current study seeks to understand whether the components, like in NYC, of alternative teacher certification programs in rural and suburban NYS address the culturally relevant competencies and culturally responsive practices needed to teach students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and students classified as special education.