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Frequently Asked Questions for applicants

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What's a Confidential College file?

If you have one, you know it! These are files set up for students in a college teaching program to keep a record of their student teaching recommendation letters and teacher certifications. If you don't have a confidential file, two written reference letters written within the previous two years are acceptable. If you have not worked in a school setting, list references that can attest to your ability to work with children.

I have a Confidential College file. Should I have it sent to you by my college? If so, where do I send it?

Colleges usually insist on sending the credential files directly to us, as most credential files are confidential. Our address is Capital Region BOCES Substitute Coordination Service, 900 Watervliet-Shaker Road, Suite 102, Albany, NY 12205. Make sure your college sends it to the attention of the Substitute Coordination Service. Some colleges will fax credential files. Please ask for the fax number when you set up your appointment.

Can my two reference letters be from the same people I list in the references section of the page on the application? What should the reference letters contain?

Yes, they may be from the same people you list on the application. They must have been written in the last two years, but do not have to be written specifically to us. You may bring copies of letters written for you for other employment or graduate school etc. as long as they are signed and have the references telephone number or address on them. The reference letters should attest to your ability to handle a classroom if you are in a teacher education program, or may be character references if you are not.

Should my references send their letters to me or do they have to be sent directly to you, and what is your address? Do they need to be sealed?

Our address is Capital Region BOCES, 900 Watervliet-Shaker Road, Suite 102, Albany, NY 12205. Please address your letter to Program Consultant, Substitute Coordination Service. Letters may be sent directly to us or you may bring them in yourself, and they do not have to be sealed.

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My mother (or other family member) wants to write a reference letter for me. Is that acceptable?

We do not accept reference letters from relatives.

Do you accept e-mail references?

Yes

Do you need my actual bachelor's (or masters) degree? How about a transcript?

We can accept your diploma or a good copy, or a transcript (does not have to be sealed) from your college that states that your degree was conferred and the conferral date. We are unable to accept multi-page unofficial transcripts downloaded from the Internet.

I haven't graduated from college yet. How do I prove Ill be graduating?

You can provide a transcript from your college showing courses completed (not the down-loadable document from the internet) or a registrars letter stating when you will graduate.

How can I prove I'm certified?

You may bring a copy of your certification or you can access the TEACH Web site. Make a copy of the page showing that your certification was issued and bring it to your interview.

Do I have to be certified to substitute for your districts?

Certification is strongly preferred but each district does look at applications on a case-by-case basis. The school districts do require that substitute teachers have been awarded a bachelor's degree with a few exceptions. You may be accepted in some districts with a certain number of college credits.

You may sub as a teaching assistant with your high school diploma, an Associate’s Degree or 60 college credits with the exception of North Colonie which does require New York State Teaching Assistant Certification.

I'm not able to bring everything requested for my interview. Should I still come to my appointment?

We suggest that you do keep your appointment, as long as the application itself is completely filled out. You may mail, fax or bring in subsequent documentation after your interview. Note, your application will not be forwarded to the Program Consultant for a reference check until all required paperwork is complete.

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What if I cant come to my appointment?

Due to high demand, there is often a waiting list of a couple of weeks for an interview appointment. Please call and leave a message to cancel your appointment so that someone from the waiting list can take your place.

How long does it take to be approved?

You should allow a minimum of four weeks if all required documents are in your file. Reference checks can take anywhere from a day to many weeks. Please make sure your references know you need this reference. Once youre approved out of our office (application file complete, reference check done) your application will be sent to the districts for approval. Approval is dependent upon each districts board meeting schedule.

I used to substitute for you and I would like to come back on the list. What do I have to do?

Call the help desk at (518) 464-5127 and your file will be pulled and checked over. In most cases a new application and payroll forms are required.

Do you hire permanent or long term substitutes?

No. Hiring long term or permanent subs is a district decision.

Do you handle substitutes for summer school?

We call substitutes for the BOCES Special Education division during the summer school session. We also handle substitutes for some component districts. Please call the help desk for a list of locations and component districts.

Do you handle home tutors?

Bethlehem, Cohoes, North Colonie and South Colonie districts pull tutor names from our substitute list. If you want to home tutor for any of these districts proceed with the substitute application process and then follow up with them directly. The service does not call for home tutors at this time.

I have questions about New York State Teacher Certification. How do I contact the New York State Education Department or BOCES Certification Officer?

The Capital Region BOCES Certification Officers can be reached at (518) 862-4918 daily between the hours of 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. only. For certification information, please refer to the New York State Education Department Web site.

I was fingerprinted for the NYSED OSPRA database once already. Do I have to be printed again? How do I tell if my fingerprints are on file? What if I was fingerprinted for the New York City Board of Education?

You do not have to be reprinted as long as you were fingerprinted for the NYSED OSPRA database after July 1st, 2001. If you were printed for the New York City Board of Education after July 1, 1990 you will need to fill out and send the NYCBOE an OSPRA 104 form authorizing the NYCBOE to release your print results to NYSED OSPRA.

If you were printed for daycare or as a bus driver, you have to be fingerprinted again. Our process and fees are explained on our fingerprint link.  Or you may call NYSED OSPRA directly at (518) 473-2998 for information.

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