Watch Livestream Recording: Improving Principal Preparation Programs Panel Discussion

In December, the Wallace Foundation hosted a livestreamed discussion on Improving Principal Preparation Programs as the culmination of a two-day event for members of its University Principal Preparation Initiative Professional Learning Community (UPPI PLC). This initiative focuses on redesigning university principal preparation programs at seven universities in an effort to resolve the disconnect between what was happening in the universities to prepare educational leaders and the real-world demands of the job. The panel discussion highlighted the experiences of one UPPI university, Florida Atlantic University, and their district partners.

During this engaging discussion, panelists highlighted the importance of maintaining routines of collaboration so partnerships can advance and how those partnerships played a key role in the success of realigning the experience for educational leaders moving from preparation to school leadership roles. “Relationships and having the right people on the bus makes the difference,” said Ted Toomer of Broward County Schools. Panelists also spoke about the importance of tracking systems to better learn from the data to improve programs and cited that superintendent support for the work is critical.

Virtual Classrooms Deliver Real Advantage for UM Education Majors

 

This article and photo originally appeared on the University of Mississippi Ole Miss News website and is reprinted with permission.

Meet Ava and Dev. They are in middle school. Ava is quick-thinking and decisive and likes to be challenged with new ideas and concepts. Dev is a rule-follower who is self-driven with high standards.

Ava and Dev are not your average students. In fact, they are not even real students at all. They are avatars in a virtual classroom at the University of Mississippi School of Education, where education majors are gaining valuable, hands-on teaching experience even before their student teaching.

Mursion, originally called TeachLive, is a cutting-edge technology that delivers customized virtual reality training to provide professional challenges that exist in the job every day.

Developed at the University of Central Florida, Mursion is being used at more than 85 campuses in the United States. Since 2012, Mursion has grown at UM. Last school year, 800 students in the School of Education practiced with the system and are required to use it at least twice as part of their coursework before graduating.

The Institute of Education Sciences Releases First Look at IPEDS Winter 2017-18 Data

Early last month, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) National Center for Education Statistics released its “First Look” at the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) winter 2017-18 data collection. This includes fully edited and imputed data and four survey components: graduation rates for selected cohorts 2009-14, outcome measures for cohort year 2009-10, student financial aid data for the academic year 2016-17, as well as admissions for fall 2017.

Would you like to learn about or receive other releases from IES and its component centers and regional labs? Sign up for email updates from the U.S. Department of Education. Once registered, you have the option to manage your preferences to receive only those newsletters and updates that will serve you. Similarly, you can sign up to receive updates at your state level to stay abreast of your state’s Department of Education.

New CCSSO Report Offers Guidance for Building a Diverse and Learner-Ready Teacher Workforce and AACTE’s 2019 Annual Meeting Amplifies This Effort

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) released yesterday A Vision and Guidance for a Diverse and Learner-Ready Teacher Workforce, a report that outlines key recommendations state education chiefs, leaders in educator preparation, local education agencies, and others can take to ensure each child in the public school system is taught by a diverse and learner-ready teacher workforce. The report highlights actions for attracting, preparing, placing, supporting, and retaining teachers from diverse ethnic or racial backgrounds and socioeconomic experiences. It identifies specific policy levers state education agencies (SEAs) have authority over that should be activated to achieve the vision of what success can look like for students and teachers as well as highlight distinct responsibilities of SEAs where they have a moral imperative to lead for equity. Additionally, the report appendix references some of the best practices and policy recommendations states have implemented to push this work forward.

Along with state chiefs, AACTE and other national education organizations partnered with CCSSO on its new initiative to diversify the teaching profession through its Diverse and Learner-Ready Teachers (DLRT) Initiative. The collaboration led to the production of the new report—a viable resource for state teams that provide model research- and evidence-based state best practices and policies.

Doctoral Students Receive Jane West SPARK Award for Policy Work on Special Education

Congratulations to Ashley L. White and Cassandra B. Willis (pictured left to right) for receiving the 2018 Jane West SPARK Award at the Teacher Education Division (TED) of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) conference in November. The award, established in 2016, is given annually to individuals who advocate for special education in teacher preparation (e.g., government relations, letter writing, visits to Congressional members), and is committed to continuing this work in the future.

Ashley L. White
A doctoral student at the University of South Florida (USF), White received a 2015 doctoral fellowship for the Special Education Policy Studies, a grant specifically designed to prepare doctoral scholars as leaders in the field of special education policy. The following year, she was accepted to the Higher Education Consortium for Special Education’s (HECSE) Doctoral Short Course. HECSE is an organization that advocates for the “appropriate educational opportunities and effective school outcomes for millions of American children and youth with disabilities.” Since becoming involved in HECSE, her advocacy activities have included interning at the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) where she engaged in policy matters including but not limited to regulatory reforms, ED/OSEP grant priorities, and engagement with advocacy organizations. White also served as an HECSE intern, with responsibilities that included connecting faculty at USF with HECSE committees, distributing USF documents to its Congressional representatives, and arranging Hill visits for university faculty as well as all of HECSE’s Florida members.

Call for Proposals to Improve Outcomes for Students in Higher Education

The U.S. Department of Education Office (USDOE) of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, recently published a funding opportunity geared to help improve the outcomes of postsecondary students, specifically underrepresented students. The Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF) has issued a Funding Announcement and Request for Proposals on “Building Rigorous Evidence about How to Improve Postsecondary Success.

According to the USDOE newsletter, “LJAF is interested in funding research and evaluation projects testing interventions related to postsecondary success (including student learning, persistence, completion, time to completion, job placement, and post-college earnings). They are particularly interested in interventions that promise to improve success among underserved students, such as low-income students, students of color, adult students, and veterans. LJAF has committed up to $10 million for these grants.”

Letters of Interest are due by January 31, 2019.

(Please note: AACTE is sharing this opportunity; it is not an endorsement of the foundation or its work.)

To stay abreast of other funding opportunities and updates, subscribe to the USDOE newsletters.

Educators hope that ‘Year of the Teacher’ could be first of many

This article and photo originally appeared on Cronkite News and is reprinted with permission. 

A record 1,800 teachers were on ballots across the country this fall, and the National Education Association estimates that as many as 1,100 of them won their races. 

Not a perfect score, but good enough for educators to boast that what they have been calling the Year of the Teacher could be just the first of many such years. 

“Educators stepped out of their classrooms and into the public realm to run for the legislature and they did it fearlessly, and they did it in a way that made all us proud of them,” said Joe Thomas, Arizona Education Association president.

Learning First Alliance Issues Joint Statement on Federal School Safety Commission

AACTE and fellow members of the Learning First Alliance issued a joint statement on December 19, 2018 that emphasizes the Federal School Safety Commission should help schools provide mental health resources to prevent violence. LFA members said the federal government should focus its next steps on resources and training more mental health specialists to ensure safety of students and school staff:

A new federal report misses a high-profile opportunity to bring leadership and resources to social-emotional and mental health needs in K-12 schools, the Learning First Alliance, a coalition of 12 major national education organizations that represents 10 million parents, teachers, administrators, school counselors, specialists, teacher educators, and school board members, stated in response to recommendations by the federal Commission on School Safety, led by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Simply talking about the need for something to be done without creating the ability for schools to have the tools to reach more students in need avoids a core responsibility.

Webinar Series on Principal Preparation Wrap Up

AACTE hosted its final webinar of this year’s series on principal preparation sponsored by The Wallace Foundation on Wednesday, December 12. As co-hosts, we discussed “Principal Preparation for the Complexity of the Work” with invited guests: Dr. Traci Gile, a principal at Lopez Elementary in Fort Collins, Colorado, Travis Hargreaves, an assistant principal at Cherry Creek Academy in Denver, Colorado, and Donald Kotnik, an assistant principal at Mountain View High School in Loveland, Colorado. Presenters discussed how Colorado State University’s (CSU) School Leadership Institute helped bridge their preparation program to practice for participants.

The Institute consists of two retreats for CSU graduates who are currently in their first few years of school leadership. Institute fellows on the panel shared how their involvement not only improved their practice as leaders, but offered a desperately needed support network for a job that is often isolating. Presenters also shared the importance of contributing to the ongoing research project associated with the Institute and communicating the challenges of the profession through focus groups. This research, and their voices in the focus groups, will not only impact current preparation programs, but also the larger professional community.

U.S. Department of Education to Help with TEACH Grant Conversions

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) announced that it will allow TEACH grant recipients who met or are meeting their TEACH grant service requirements and had their grant converted to a loan to have this conversion reconsidered.  While there are no details yet, the TEACH Grant webpage states that the Department will share its process for reconsideration by January 31, 2019. This is available only for those recipients who were meeting the requirements and had their loans converted due to noncompliance with the certification requirements.

During the course of the year, stories have arisen of TEACH grants being erroneously converted by the servicer, FedLoan. While the Department is moving into negotiated rulemaking on the TEACH grants starting in January, it is taking action in the meantime to change processes to protect recipients. In addition to reconsideration, the Department is also making a universal annual certification deadline of October 31, starting in 2019.

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