• AACTE 70th Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD

Archive for July, 2015

Free Webinar Series to Explore Principal Preparation for Leadership, Learning

Beginning this fall, AACTE will host a series of four free webinars on preparing effective principals through collaborations among higher education institutions and school districts.

The webinars will feature participants in the Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative, a multiyear effort to strengthen the preparation and support of principals in six high-need urban districts: Prince George’s County (MD), Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC), Denver (CO), New York City, Hillsborough County (FL), and Gwinnett County (GA).

The initiative, for which AACTE has served as a communications partner, builds on over a decade of research that identified four key parts of a pipeline to develop successful principals: rigorous job requirements, high-quality preparation, selective hiring, and on-the-job evaluation and support.

House Completes Its Work on ESEA Reauthorization

On July 8, the U.S. House of Representatives completed its work on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, passed by a vote of 218-213 (Roll Call vote no. 423).

While the final House bill with all agreed-to amendments has not yet been released, there are a few pieces that AACTE members will find of interest.

First, the Growing Education Achievement Training Academies for Teachers and Principals Act – the GREAT Act – is included in the House measure. The GREAT Act would not result in the systemic improvement of our nation’s teacher and principal preparation for several reasons. For one, the “training academies” it proposes are unlikely to involve higher education, which currently prepares 90% of all new teachers, and the bill would not require partnerships with PK-12 schools.

Wichita TQP Grant Yields Lasting Results

As a recipient of federal Teacher Quality Partnership grants over the past 6 years, Wichita State University (WSU) in Kansas has proven the value of investing in innovative educator preparation practices.

The Wichita Teacher Quality Partnership (WTQP) created extensive field-based learning experiences that prepare diverse and highly qualified teachers for urban school settings. Through the application of the professional development school (PDS) model in particular, the initiative fostered partnerships among the Wichita Public Schools (including 26 urban schools), The Opportunity Project (an early learning center), Head Start programs, local community colleges, and the College of Education at WSU.

If You Don’t Say It, Who Will? Improving Communications With PK-12 Communities

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

It happens far too often: PK-12 schools and higher education blame each other for educational shortcomings rather than collaborating on solutions or celebrating each other’s successes.

That’s why it was so encouraging to hear leaders from AACTE’s state chapters identify improved communication with PK-12 counterparts as a priority during last month’s State Leaders Institute. In the session I led on communications strategies, many teacher educators offered examples of how they are already building and strengthening these important relationships.  

Free Online Seminars an Early Hit With Educators

More than 200 participants from a variety of education settings just completed the first Online Professional Seminar (OPS) in the series being offered by AACTE’s new Quality Support Initiative. With another 250-plus registrants signed up for the second free seminar starting next week, the series is off to a strong start—and there is still space in upcoming cohorts!

The focus of each OPS is a topic relating to quality assessment and/or accreditation. Seminars are 3-week, interactive online courses for current and aspiring professional educators, PK-16. Courses are open to all educators, whether AACTE members or nonmembers, and the first two seminars in the series—Building Quality Assessments and Using Data for Improvement—are offered free of charge. These two introductory OPSs can be taken in any order.

AACTE’s Matt Wales to Receive Meeting-Planner Award

Matthew J. Wales, CMP
Matthew J. Wales, CMP

Matthew Wales, AACTE’s senior director of meetings, events, and special projects, will be honored next month with an award from Meeting Professionals International (MPI). Wales will receive the award on behalf of the organization’s Potomac chapter (PMPI), on whose board he has served 5 years, including the past year as president.

The chapter was selected to receive the Recognizing Industry Success and Excellence Award for Community Achievement in Marketplace Excellence, which will be presented August 3 during MPI’s World Education Congress in San Francisco, California. PMPI will receive the RISE award for its Flipped Marketplace program, which in 5 years has helped double the cash sponsorship for its annual Mid-Atlantic Conference and Expo.

Taking Stock of Innovation in Educator Preparation

As another ambitious teacher preparation innovation captures national attention, I invite you to join me in taking stock of how widespread creative change has become in this field. The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently announced the launch of their brand-new research laboratory and graduate program to prepare teachers and school leaders. The educator preparation field, already rife with innovation, welcomes the new Woodrow Wilson Academy of Teaching and Learning as the latest partner in a robust entrepreneurial environment.

While I do not embrace the negative rhetoric that accompanied the new program’s announcement, I am keenly interested in the work. In fact, the Academy’s goals are quite aligned with those being addressed by many other educator preparation providers and organizations. Foundation President Arthur Levine and his partners at MIT will find themselves in good company as they pursue their particular reform interests and share their findings.

A Principal’s Perspective: Five Takeaways From Teacher Discussion on edTPA

I want to congratulate the organizers of the recent Mid-Atlantic edTPA Implementation Conference at Towson University (MD) for doing something that should be standard at educator preparation conferences: They included PK-12 partners in the conversation and created a high-profile opportunity for them to tell their stories. To accomplish this goal, the National Education Association worked with conference organizers to set up a panel discussion, inviting teacher candidates and teachers to participate and asking me to facilitate.

The conversation at the conference provided authentic educator perspectives on recent experiences with edTPA. Here are my five top takeaways from the conversation.

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