Tennessee edTPA: Rubrics and Rigor, and Rethinking Retakes

The second annual Tennessee edTPA Conference was held November 12–13 at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville. Attendees from 13 Tennessee institutions, and one guest from North Carolina, collaborated to learn more about edTPA and develop new skills to share with faculty, staff, and candidates on their campuses.

The growing interest in edTPA across the state was evidenced by this year’s attendance, which grew by about 10% to 130 educators. The busy first-day agenda included a keynote presentation on the recently released edTPA Administrative Report, 13 breakout sessions, and lunch conversations among attendees with similar responsibilities. The second day was equally full, with local evaluation training facilitated by Cathy Zozakiewicz from the Stanford Center on Assessment, Learning, and Equity.

You Don’t Know What You Have Until It’s Gone

We have all heard that old saying, “You don’t know what you have until it is gone.” Delistray (2013) identified 11 things that we don’t appreciate until they are gone. Several, such as love in the time of youth, innocence, and our dreams, can be particularly poignant. Others, such as free/cheap/student-reduced pricing, we get to recoup once we hit our golden years. I would add membership with AACTE as an additional item to the list.

Commentary: Teachers Deserve Respect

There are certain professions within our society that carry with them an inherent respect. Doctors, nurses, firefighters, soldiers – the list goes on. These people save lives. They care for the sick. They run into burning buildings. They defend our freedom.

These people, without question, deserve our gratitude and appreciation.

There is, however, another profession that deserves that same level of respect, a profession that, for whatever reason, does not always seem to receive it: teaching.

Teachers work with minds. Teachers work with hearts. Teachers work with souls. They are preparing the next generation of doctors, nurses, firefighters, and soldiers (and countless other professionals). And yet, many people act as though that’s something that anybody can do. It isn’t. Teaching requires years of schooling and training, and even then, the job is not easy.

Member Voices: Advice on Building Clinical Practice Partnerships

If you have been inspired by the previous Research-to-Practice Spotlight videos featuring the robust partnership between Colorado State University (CSU) and the Poudre School District (PSD) in Fort Collins, don’t miss the newest installment in the series, in which school and university officials share advice on how to implement a successful clinical practice model.

Utilizing a professional development school approach, CSU and PSD have created an intentional, collaborative endeavor to achieve their shared mission of preparing highly qualified and effective teachers.

edTPA as a Common Language: ‘Back Mapping’ and Other Lessons From Minnesota

Minnesota requires all teacher candidates to take edTPA as part of the state’s program review and approval process. At the state’s annual edTPA conference October 7, educators from across the state joined in invigorating conversations about the changes the assessment has spurred and the common language it has given educators to communicate about effective teaching.

During the session I helped moderate on how programs can use edTPA components and candidate performance data to “back map” their course work, the exchange was both lively and informative. Panelists shared stories about how they are getting edTPA performance data to more faculty, identifying needs, and developing instructional resources such as new observation rubrics that adjunct faculty can use to better understand teaching skills that edTPA asks candidates to demonstrate.

GACTE Plays Prominent Role in Statewide Partnership Work

Meaningful and purposeful collaboration among multiple agency heads is something that many states aspire to do. Georgia is among those that have been successful in forming such alliances, which provides a supportive environment for the work of the Georgia Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (GACTE).

The collaborative culture is well established in the Georgia Alliance of Education Agency Heads, which over the past decade has been successfully fulfilling its mission to collaborate, innovate, and achieve while addressing three strategic goals: (1) increase the percentage of students reading at grade level by completion of third grade; (2) increase the percentage of graduates from high school and postsecondary institutions prepared for the demands of college, workplace, a global economy, and responsible citizenship; and (3) increase the percentage of effective teachers and educational leaders. The alliance includes the state’s universities and technical colleges, the governor’s office, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, and other education agencies.

Illinois Educator Event Comes at Pivotal Moment in State’s edTPA Transition

Illinois has moved beyond the trial phase with edTPA, which became consequential here as of September 1, 2015. That’s why the recent state conference of the Illinois Teacher Performance Assessment Consortium (TPAC) was aptly named Moving Forward.

The event convened 131 educator preparation experts from 45 institutions and education organizations from across the state September 11-12 to discuss this next phase in our state’s edTPA journey.

Five Keys to Successful edTPA Implementation

Elisa Palmer, edTPA coordinator at Illinois State University, shares five takeaways from a panel on edTPA implementation during the Illinois Teacher Performance Assessment Consortium conference Sept. 11.

edTPA implementation can be overwhelming. But after 5 years of experience with more than 1,800 teacher candidates to complete the process, faculty and administrators from across our campus have helped us identify five key areas that, if addressed thoughtfully, might also lead to successful edTPA implementation on your campus.

Kick Off a New Appointment With Media Outreach

How are you telling your story in the media? Although teacher educators may feel perpetually short on time given their duties across colleges and partner schools, it can be well worth the effort to establish yourself as a respected resource to local newspaper reporters, radio stations, and other media outlets. A prime time to reach out is when you take on a new leadership role, giving you a window of opportunity to introduce yourself to the community while presenting the outlet an expert connection to call on in the future.

Take Donald Easton-Brooks, former professor and dean of the Colleges of Business and Education at Eastern Oregon University, who recently became dean of the University of South Dakota (USD) School of Education. To mark his new appointment, Easton-Brooks sat for a recorded interview with a local news outlet, introducing himself to the local audience and promoting his vision for the school. Here are some of the points he shared in his 15-minute interview.

Survey Invitation: What Do Education Deans Believe?

Very little is known about education deans’ perceptions of what they think is important for their actual, effective performance on the job. To address this knowledge gap, we invite deans to participate in a national survey, which we are conducting with AACTE’s support, that will tap education deans’ beliefs about their essential ways of thinking, being, and acting.

But first, here is some more background. In short, effective leadership of a school, college, or department of education (SCDE) is vital in light of both internal and external forces that provide significant challenges for these academic units. For instance, in the realm of teacher preparation, education deans and directors must articulate their role as leaders of change in the field. This charge includes determining ways to provide concrete evidence of how their programs broaden and deepen the learning and mastery of their teacher and leadership candidates, and also the learning that takes place in the classrooms of their graduates.

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