Congratulations to Thomas S. Tucker, superintendent of Princeton City Schools in Cincinnati, Ohio, who has been named 2016 AASA National Superintendent of the Year!
Tucker’s selection was announced February 11 at the National Conference on Education hosted by AASA, The School Superintendents Association. He was one of four finalists for the honor; others included Pamela Moran of Charlottesville, Virginia; Steven Webb of Vancouver, Washington; and Freddie Williamson of Raeford, North Carolina.
Ed Prep Matters is featuring “Stories of Impact” to showcase AACTE member institutions with educator preparation programs that are making a positive impact in their communities and beyond through innovative practices. We are committed to sharing members’ success stories and encourage you to do the same.
In one of the most impoverished neighborhoods of Portland, Oregon, a flourishing partnership between Concordia University and the PK-8 Faubion School has spawned ambitious plans for a new model of education to help disenfranchised students and the whole community.
Two new studies commissioned by the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) credit the collaborative professional learning of teachers in British Columbia, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Singapore with their students’ strong performance on international assessments. NCEE’s Center on International Education Benchmarking organized a half-day forum last month featuring panel discussions of these countries’ policies that support such systems—and what lessons the United States should draw from them.
Rather than treating professional development as an add-on program such as monthly workshops, the studies say, successful education systems embed it broadly. Teacher-led collaborative learning is deliberately planned into structures such as well-defined career ladders, mentorship programs, and schools’ daily schedules. Although some of these features can be found in U.S. districts, none is widely used or as robust as described in the reports, and panelists advocated for a stronger systems approach.
On January 12, the Council of Chief State School Officers announced the finalists for the 2016 National Teacher of the Year award. The finalists are state teachers of the year from Washington, Connecticut, California, and Oklahoma.
The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) seeks reviewers and other volunteers for various roles in the agency’s work. Applications are open through March 18.
It is important for teacher educators to be represented in the CAEP Volunteer Corps, and this can be achieved if you volunteer! Please note that the call for service seeks a diverse population of educators, not only faculty from programs holding CAEP accreditation.
Volunteers are needed for the following roles (note that governance committee volunteers will not be solicited until next year):
In a report released last week, Learning About Learning: What Every New Teacher Needs to Know, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) evaluates four dozen teacher preparation textbooks for their content of specific student learning strategies. As an offshoot of the exercise, NCTQ will include a new standard, “Fundamentals of Instruction,” for secondary programs in its 2016 Teacher Prep Review.
For Learning About Learning, NCTQ reviewed 48 “relevant textbooks” used at just 28 institutions of higher education to determine whether they include six of the strategies identified as effective by the Institute of Education Sciences’ Organizing Instruction and Study to Improve Student Learning: A Practice Guide (2007). Finding little of what NCTQ sought, the report contends that textbook authors and publishers (and the preparation programs that assign the texts) are “failing the teaching profession, students, and the public by neglecting to provide our next generation of teachers with the fundamental knowledge they need to make learning ‘stick.’” See also Education Week’s coverage of the new report.
Editor’s Note: This briefing has been postponed due to weather challenges. Please stay tuned for an announcement of the new date.
On Wednesday, January 27, the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) will hold a congressional briefing to release its new study Teacher Advancement Initiatives: Lessons Learned From Eight Case Studies. Completed in conjunction with Pearson, the report is the product of a 3-year study of schools and districts with established career advancement initiatives. The study identifies components of successful, sustainable teacher career continuums with positive impacts on teacher recruitment, retention, and job satisfaction.
The eight case studies include schools and districts in urban and rural areas of Arizona, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Iowa, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington. The report identifies key elements of effective career continuums such as structured roles for teacher leaders, opportunities for release time and collaboration, compensation differentiation, peer coaching and evaluation, embedded professional development, and structured opportunities for teacher voice in decision making.
Accreditation work involves considerable project management to track logistics and the activities of stakeholders. Resource management is a usual business practice of academic units, but the tools are not typically suitable for tracking projects with due dates and multiple actors. Tune in to AACTE’s upcoming Online Professional Seminars (OPSs) to learn about specialized software and methods for managing assessment cycles, quality assurance systems, and accreditation submissions.
In a session starting January 25, OPS #6: Leveraging Accreditation for Quality Improvement will cover topics such as ethical considerations, tools, checklists, site visits, mock visits, and walk-throughs. Or join us starting February 8 for OPS #5: Preparing for Accreditation, where we’ll cover teamwork, readiness, calendar planning, document control, best practices, and more.
An educator preparation program’s quality assurance (QA) system, with feedback loops and continuous improvement mechanisms, monitors all the processes of a program so that effectiveness can be measured. A convenient feature is a dashboard to display status and progress. Your personal activity tracker may have one of those, too!
Fitness trackers reflect a movement called the quantified self, describing people’s desire to measure all the contributing factors to personal fitness. In the assessment arena, our unit of analysis is the academic program or the institution rather than the human body, but we use the same principles as in fitness tracking: data, measurement, analysis, improvement.
On November 3, the Wallace Foundation hosted a policy briefing in Washington, DC, to highlight findings from its recently released report, Developing Excellent School Principals to Advance Teaching and Learning: Considerations for State Policy. Commissioned by the Wallace Foundation and authored by Paul Manna, professor of government and policy at the College of William and Mary (VA), the report addresses the question What can state policy makers do to help ensure that schools have excellent principals who advance teaching and learning in their schools?
During the briefing, Manna presented findings from the report with a focus on the changing role of the principalship, the principal’s position as multiplier of effective teaching and leadership practice, and the impact of state policy making on principal effectiveness. Wallace Foundation President Will Miller underscored these perspectives in his introductory remarks: “There’s growing recognition that principals should no longer mainly be thought of as managers of buildings and bus schedules,” he said. “Indeed, effective leaders are their schools’ chief improvement officers—strengthening instruction, building a culture of high achievement, and supporting teachers and other educators to boost student performance.”