In 2014, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) received a federal Teacher Quality Partnership grant for a proposal called Transforming Teaching through Technology (TTtT), winning Year 1 funding of nearly $1.7 million, renewable for up to 5 years. Now, as the partners move into their third year of grant-funded collaboration, I asked Principal Investigator and Project Director Christina O’Connor for an update on their work and what it takes to secure continued funding from the U.S. Department of Education year after year.
The partnership among UNCG, Guilford County Schools, and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools aims to prepare 300 teacher candidates per year with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to incorporate technology to promote academic learning for all students. The idea is to produce teachers who can embed technology and hands-on, problem-based instruction across all content areas, but particularly in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects. By approaching this work through partnerships, O’Connor noted, the strategies and lessons benefit not only preservice teachers but also the school-based educators and UNCG faculty.
An online Education Talk Radio program last month featured AACTE members in a discussion of how their educator preparation programs contribute to high teacher quality. Host Larry Jacobs interviewed guests Rebecca West Burns, assistant professor at the University of South Florida, and D. Mark Meyers, director of the Educational Administration Program at Xavier University (OH).
The show began with discussion around the continuum of teacher development, from preservice preparation through stages of leadership, both formal and informal. Burns explained that teacher leaders include those who are instructional coaches or mentors as well as those acting less formally as leaders from within their classroom. Teachers can work collaboratively to share knowledge and help each other make progressive changes in their school. Meyers added that leadership principles applied by teacher leaders and administrators are often the same, although they may be implemented differently.
In a recent podcast with Enrollment Fuel, the organization’s president, Jacquelyn D. Elliott, interviewed AACTE President/CEO Lynn M. Gangone about what leadership means. The following summary highlights the conversation.
Opening the interview with a question about her definition of leadership, Gangone explained it as the process of orchestrating change “with people and for people” – that is, while the individual leader may have the power to implement change, the collective team is where change happens.
“Although the current dialogue about school choice is generally focused on charter schools, vouchers, and the overall diversion of taxpayer monies to private entities, it misses a fundamental reality: Most public school districts already offer a wide range of choices to their students.” This message is at the core of a new report from the National School Boards Association’s Center for Public Education titled Busting the Myth of “One Size Fits All” Public Education.
At an event unveiling the report earlier this month, panelists discussed the wide variety of alternative options offered in public education. Thomas Gentzel, executive director and CEO of the National School Boards Association, noted that the system has evolved over many years from one that offers limited options into one that molds to students’ diverse needs – providing a greater degree of choice, in fact, than many private schools.