Vice President for Member Engagement and Support
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend the third annual Summit on Nevada Education hosted by the College of Education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). I was invited to attend the gathering by Dean Kim Metcalf, a member of the AACTE Board of Directors, and was delighted to witness the excitement of participants who shared and discussed their work to improve education across the state.
As I entered the student union on the UNLV campus, I followed the laughter and energy to find the ballroom. The excitement and synergy was palpable among attendees as they gathered, grabbed coffee, and greeted one another. The introductions began, and I was impressed with the numerous video greetings from Nevada senators and representatives as well as from Governor Brian Sandoval. These dignitaries were teeming with pride over the collaborative efforts under way to elevate education in Nevada. They recognized the ongoing work and articulated future directions for preparing teachers with the “next, best practices.”
It is my pleasure to introduce a new feature in the AACTE Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series focused on clinical preparation at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) College of Education.
UNLV offers clinical experiences for educator candidates through a variety of partnerships and programs with the Clark County School District (CCSD), which College of Education Dean Kim Metcalf describes as a “natural laboratory” environment. Their thriving collaboration continues to evolve, with the latest outgrowth being a new initiative for research and clinical experience in Paradise Elementary School. The college also has a long-standing partnership with the inclusive preschool on campus, which serves the wider community and provides learning opportunities for both students and researchers across the university.
We are thrilled to announce the launch of a new AACTE task force to study how to improve the preparation of special education teachers through clinical practice. Growing out of the work of the AACTE Clinical Practice Commission (CPC), the AACTE Special Education Task Force held its inaugural meeting October 1-2 in Washington, DC.
The task force is charged with applying the CPC frameworks for clinical educator preparation to the particular needs of developing special education teachers. During this week’s meeting, the group began outlining the scope of its work, which is supported by a grant from the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR) Center. The task force will study areas such as dual licensure and dual preparation models, pipeline strategies around recruitment and retention, interdisciplinary collaboration, and other factors pertinent to this specialized preparation. They ultimately plan to identify models and develop recommendations to amplify promising practices, establish continuous improvement benchmarks, and provide guidance for the field.
Last week, I was honored to participate in a webinar discussing Empowered Educators, an international comparative study of teacher and teaching quality in the world’s top-performing education systems. Hosted by the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), whose Center on International Education Benchmarking sponsored the study, this event featured members of the research team discussing specific lessons for the recruitment and preparation of profession-ready teachers.
Lead researcher Linda Darling-Hammond (of the Learning Policy Institute and Stanford University) was joined by NCEE President and CEO Marc Tucker for an introduction of the study. Other researchers on this webinar were Finnish researcher Pasi Sahlberg, who helped lead the Empowered Educators case study on Finland, and A. Lin Goodwin of Teachers College, Columbia University (NY), who worked on the Singapore branch of the study. I served as a discussant, as did Mary Sandy, executive director of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
Last week, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released initial data from the 2015-2016 National Teacher and Principal Survey, providing the latest nationwide snapshot of the characteristics of public school teachers. (Results of the school-level survey are being released today, and principal-level data are available here.) The “First Look” report on the teacher survey (download PDF here) shows the education workforce has grown slightly more female (77% compared to 76%) and slightly less White (80% compared to 82%) than it was 4 years ago – although NCES cautions that comparisons are somewhat imprecise because some of the questions were worded differently or drew on different sources than in the former Schools and Staffing Survey, on which the new survey is based.
A recent article in Education Week highlights key data and comparisons between this survey and the last, noting that the education profession has made some advancements in diversifying the teaching workforce. However, these modest gains may be more conditional than intentional, and the survey spotlights continued trouble spots such as low pay and uneven assignment of teacher expertise. What this article says to me is that we must continue to work every day to make teaching a worthy career option, valued for its contributions to the democratic fabric of our society – especially among the most underrepresented demographics. As a profession, we have an ongoing imperative to attract highly motivated, diverse, innovative, smart educators into the profession and support them with programs rich in the pedagogy and content that will serve the nation’s young people well into the future.
The AACTE team has embarked on a new adventure and we can’t wait to share it with you!
This undertaking is engaging all of us in a significant self-study – not unlike what you do on your campuses for quality assurance and continuous improvement – using an improvement science model. Over the next few months, the team will conduct a deep audit of our operations, looking at internal protocols and processes along with membership structures, programs and services, and resources. AACTE is working with the rpk GROUP consulting firm to assist us with this project. This internal work is simultaneous with a comprehensive member survey that is being released next month. These concurrent efforts will empower AACTE as it anticipates its 70th anniversary in 2018.
I am thrilled to introduce the St. John’s University (NY) School of Education as the next featured institution in the AACTE Research-to-Practice Spotlight series. In this latest focus on exemplary models of clinical practice, we highlight the work of the Residential Internship for St. John’s Educators (RISE) program in Queens, New York. This partnership with surrounding school districts aims to develop the very best teachers for local classrooms, a mission to which both the university and the school district are committed.
The first video in the series is now posted in the Innovation Exchange, introducing the RISE program’s yearlong internships and focusing on the importance of relationship-building and a shared professional community. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be publishing additional videos and blog summaries to highlight what AACTE staff learned during our visit to the St. John’s campus and partner sites.
On the last day of the 69th AACTE Annual Meeting in Tampa, Florida, the AACTE Clinical Practice Commission (CPC) held a major forum to unveil and discuss the 10 “Essential Proclamations and Tenets for Highly Effective Clinical Educator Preparation” identified in the CPC’s work. These proclamations and tenets, which undergird a forthcoming white paper, were released during the forum as part of a draft executive summary of the paper.
The event started with a panel presentation and discussion moderated by CPC member Jennifer Robinson, executive director of the Center of Pedagogy and associate professor at Montclair State University (NJ). Panelists included Michael Alfano, Central Connecticut State University; Diane Fogarty, Loyola Marymount University (CA); John Henning, Monmouth University (NJ); Rene Roselle, University of Connecticut; Jennifer Roth, Poudre School District (Fort Collins, CO); and Christine Smith, University at Albany, State University of New York.
The U.S. Department of Education Office of Innovation and Improvement is offering free mentoring services for educator preparation programs to help design, implement, and improve teacher and principal development initiatives. State education agencies, school districts, and other organizations that are actively working to improve teacher and principal preparation or development are also encouraged to participate.
The services will be provided by nonprofit organizations that have received federal Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) grants and that are experienced in implementing educator preparation and professional development initiatives.
It is my pleasure to introduce the George Mason University (VA) College of Education and Human Development as the next featured institution in the AACTE Research-to-Practice Spotlight series. Continuing our focus on exemplary models of clinical practice, this series highlights the long-standing professional development school (PDS) partnership cultivated by George Mason and schools in Fairfax County, Virginia. Mason is the state’s largest producer of PK-12 teachers and largest comprehensive research university.