AACTE celebrates National Principals Month this October! The key to student success is a great school, and the key to a great school is a great principal. Please join us in this opportunity to say “thank you” to principals across the nation and to recognize their valuable contributions in your local community.
National Principals Month gives us the chance to honor and reflect on the roles of school leaders and the importance of preparing them well. AACTE members across the country are working to advance principal preparation through a variety of initiatives and partnerships. For example, AACTE member institution Colorado State University will host a 2-day School Leadership Institute this fall to survey new principals about ways to enhance university-based preparation programs and support school leaders in their critical first year on the job. Many other institutions are participating in AACTE’s new Principal Preparation Program Learning Community Topical Action Group, a member-led collaborative exploring issues and promising practice in principal preparation.
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.
“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.
This article also appears in the September issue of Scholars Report, a monthly e-newsletter for and about the AACTE Holmes Program. You can subscribe to the newsletter here. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
Congratulations to Nickey F. Yates Sr., Holmes Scholar of the Month for September!
Yates is a doctoral candidate in the Ph.D. program in educational leadership at Florida A&M University. His research interests include Black superintendents’ engagement with White community constituents, PK-12 environments, and racial issues in education.
The U.S. Department of Education (ED), along with relevant federal and state agencies, hosted a webinar last week to provide emergency-response resources to districts and schools serving hurricane-affected regions.
Officials on the webinar included representatives from ED, the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and state education officials in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. The webinar largely focused on the requirements in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which outlines the procedures for identifying homeless students and the resources schools must make available to homeless students.
The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) has selected a professional development partnership of the University of Toledo (OH) to receive the 2017 Christa McAuliffe Excellence in Teacher Education Award. The award will be presented October 22 at the AASCU Annual Meeting in La Jolla, California.
The winning program, NURTURES (Networking Urban Resources with Teachers and University to enRich Early Childhood Science), aims to improve the science learning and readiness scores of preschool through third grade students in the Toledo area. NURTURES is a collaboration among the university’s education, engineering, and natural science faculty; local daycare centers and nursery schools; informal science centers; and other community resources to create a complementary, integrated system of science education. The program enhances teacher understanding of science content to improve classroom practices and offers classroom extension activities and family learning opportunities.
“The three R’s alone don’t cut it anymore,” announces a report released August 28 on the 49th annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. In addition to solid academics, Americans want their schools to provide job training, more explicit focus on social-emotional skills, and “wraparound” services like health centers and afterschool programs. Respondents also want students to learn in diverse classrooms and are skeptical about vouchers and the value of standardized tests.
This year’s survey sought to learn more about last year’s discovery of a desire among the American public for schools to focus less on honors classes and more on career and technical education. The new data suggest that the public really wants both strong academics and job preparation, including classes focused on career skills, technology and engineering, and programs leading to a professional certificate or license. The less satisfied respondents are with their local schools, the more likely they are to say schools should offer more job/career skills classes.
A new policy brief from the Data Quality Campaign presents recommendations for states to support educator preparation through better sharing and use of information – not just for accountability but also for continuous improvement. The report, Using Data to Ensure That Teachers Are Learner Ready on Day One, calls attention to current data challenges faced by educator preparation providers (EPPs) and offers suggestions and examples for states to improve the situation.
“State education agencies already collect information about teachers, like their licenses, where they teach, and how much they improve student learning, but that information is not consistently shared with EPPs,” the brief states. “On the program side, EPPs are often frustrated by data collection and reporting requirements that do not help them answer important questions about their own program quality. And a lack of publicly available information on EPP outcomes means that EPPs and their stakeholders, from prospective teachers to K-12 principals, too often must spend their own limited time and resources to collect and synthesize information that could be provided by the state.”
The report, developed in partnership with AACTE and several other partner organizations, lists the following primary challenges to using data for EPP improvement:
Congratulations to Whitney Watkins, Holmes Scholar of the Month for June-July 2017! Watkins is a third-year doctoral candidate in the Higher Education and Policy Studies Ed.D. program at the University of Central Florida (UCF).
Watkins recently completed a 2-year tenure as president of the Holmes Scholars Council, marked by her heart and passion for equity and diversity. Putting forth all efforts into the Holmes Program expansion, she was excited to see the organization grow.
At UCF, Watkins teaches at least two classes a semester focusing on student leadership and development, often with a heavy focus on diversity initiatives. In addition, she serves as the adviser for two student organizations on her campus and mentors countless individual students from a variety of backgrounds, reflecting her incredible passion for college student development and leadership.
Last month, more than 150 educators and organizational leaders convened in Washington, DC, for a summit on strategies to recruit and retain a more diverse teaching workforce. Hosted by the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the “Grow Your Own: Teacher Diversity and Social Justice Summit” offered a series of presentations and panel discussions focused on efforts to recruit educators from local communities.
One panel focused on educator preparation programs and included faculty from several universities across the nation. They discussed the challenges and successes of their candidates and the particular approaches of successful grow-your-own (GYO) programs, from community-centered recruitment to unique financial incentives and other supports.