How Do High-Performing Education Systems Develop Their Principals?

    A new international-comparison study sheds light on important factors in the development of school leaders in selected "high-performing" systems around the world. The study, sponsored by the National Center on Education and the Economy’s Center on International Education Benchmarking, highlights commonalities in principal preparation among the systems whose students scored highest on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey: Hong Kong, Ontario, Shanghai, and Singapore.

    Australian researcher Ben Jensen authored the report, Preparing to Lead: Lessons in Principal Development From High-Performing Education Systems. Its overarching message is that successful education systems provide current and future school leaders with preparation that is specifically tailored to the real-world problems and contexts they will face in their work environments.

    “The best programs combine a detailed understanding of principals’ roles and responsibilities with a deep grounding in the system’s particular philosophy and objectives for how schools get better,” Jensen said.

    Congratulations to National Distinguished Principals, AACTE Members Who Prepared Them

    In celebration of National Principals Month, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) announced the 2017 Class of National Distinguished Principals and recognized them at an event in Washington, DC, October 12-13. AACTE is proud to congratulate the honorees and to note that nearly all of the principals recognized by the program were prepared at AACTE member institutions.

    This year’s distinguished principals completed their preparation at the following AACTE member institutions:

    UNC Greensboro Celebrates Continued Funding for Tech-Focused TQP Work

    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 fourth 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. 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.

    Scholar of the Month: Stacey Litam, Kent State University

    Congratulations to Stacey Litam of Kent State University (OH), Holmes Scholar of the Month for October!

    Litam’s research rests within the field of counselor education. Her specific research interests pertain to supporting, advocating for, and designing interventions working with survivors of and individuals within sex trafficking. She is also engaged with the improvement of mental health services and civil justices for marginalized groups in regard to sex, sexual orientation, religion, and race.

    Celebrate National Principals Month

    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.

    Creating High Teacher Quality in Teacher Prep Programs- Radio Talk With AACTE Members

    Rebecca West Burns
    D. Mark Meyers

    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.

    Want School Choice? Public Education Has It, Says New Report

    “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.

    Nickey Yates Named September Scholar of the Month

    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.


    Webinar Highlights Resources for Educators in Hurricane-Affected Regions

    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.

    Toledo’s Early Childhood Science Program Wins AASCU’s McAuliffe Award

    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.

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