Educators from the Clark County School District speak at the Summit on Nevada Education, held December 4 in Las Vegas. (Photo: UNLV College of Education)
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend the third annual Summit on Nevada Education hosted by the College of Education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). I was invited to attend the gathering by Dean Kim Metcalf, a member of the AACTE Board of Directors, and was delighted to witness the excitement of participants who shared and discussed their work to improve education across the state.
As I entered the student union on the UNLV campus, I followed the laughter and energy to find the ballroom. The excitement and synergy was palpable among attendees as they gathered, grabbed coffee, and greeted one another. The introductions began, and I was impressed with the numerous video greetings from Nevada senators and representatives as well as from Governor Brian Sandoval. These dignitaries were teeming with pride over the collaborative efforts under way to elevate education in Nevada. They recognized the ongoing work and articulated future directions for preparing teachers with the “next, best practices.”
Last month, AACTE staff hosted an exhibit at the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) Legislative Summit in Boston, Massachusetts. We also invited leaders of the local AACTE state chapter, the Massachusetts Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (MACTE), to join us in the exhibit booth to share their work with attendees. Over 5,000 state legislators, state legislative staff, and trade association representatives attended the conference.
As I learned from last year’s NCSL Legislative Summit (see my takeaways here), state legislators are eager to receive input from teacher educators. One recurring theme from my conversations with state legislators this year was that they are unfamiliar with the major state policy levers pertaining to educator preparation – accreditation, licensure, and program approval. It was good for AACTE staff and MACTE leaders to interact with attendees from dozens of states, including many members of state legislatures’ education committees.
On behalf of AACTE, I recently attended the annual National Forum on Education Policy of the Education Commission of the States (ECS), a national organization of state education policy leaders. The more than 550 attendees at the forum included governors, state education chiefs, chairs of state legislatures’ education committees, and higher education executives, many of whom were new to their position. In fact, one of my main takeaways from the conference was the high level of recent turnover in states’ positions for education decision makers – and the associated need for educators to maintain outreach efforts to connect with them.
Over the past 2 years, there has been drastic leadership change for state legislators, chief state school officers, and governors. In 2016, elections were held for 86 of the 98 partisan state legislative chambers and for 6 of the 13 elected chief state school officers. Furthermore, the average tenure of a chief state school officer is approximately 2½ years. In 2017, 36 states will hold elections for their governors, at least 16 of which must be new due to term limits.
A member of the North Carolina A&T State University team shares its work during the May event at Morgan State University.
Abiodun Fasoro of Central State University discusses his campus’ minority male STEM program during the Verizon Innovative Learning Showcase.
Last month, I had the privilege of participating in the Building a Networked Improvement Community Around Engaging Minority Males in STEM Workshop at Morgan State University. The workshop focused on advancing the work of the Early STEM Engagement for Minority Males (eSEM) Initiative, a network of 16 minority-serving institutions (MSIs).
Led by Morgan State and in partnership with Verizon Innovative Learning Programs, SRI Education, the National CARES Mentoring Network, and local school districts, eSEM is a growing collaborative seeking to address STEM achievement challenges and improve outcomes for middle school minority male students through the development of a Networked Improvement Community (NIC). The initiative is supported through grants from the National Science Foundation and includes the following universities:
I am thrilled to introduce the St. John’s University (NY) School of Education as the next featured institution in the AACTE Research-to-Practice Spotlight series. In this latest focus on exemplary models of clinical practice, we highlight the work of the Residential Internship for St. John’s Educators (RISE) program in Queens, New York. This partnership with surrounding school districts aims to develop the very best teachers for local classrooms, a mission to which both the university and the school district are committed.
The first video in the series is now posted in the Innovation Exchange, introducing the RISE program’s yearlong internships and focusing on the importance of relationship-building and a shared professional community. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be publishing additional videos and blog summaries to highlight what AACTE staff learned during our visit to the St. John’s campus and partner sites.
The National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification held its annual Ted Andrews Winter Symposium January 4-6 in San Diego, California, convening educators from varied settings around the topic “Teacher Recruitment and Retention: Innovation Through Collaboration.”
The theme of partnership-driven innovation was reinforced through a number of sessions in which AACTE members presented along with colleagues from the PK-12 sector and from state education authorities. I was pleased to address the group on the topic of teacher recruitment policy and practice from providers’ perspective. Other notable sessions on the program included these:
It is my pleasure to introduce the George Mason University (VA) College of Education and Human Development as the next featured institution in the AACTE Research-to-Practice Spotlight series. Continuing our focus on exemplary models of clinical practice, this series highlights the long-standing professional development school (PDS) partnership cultivated by George Mason and schools in Fairfax County, Virginia. Mason is the state’s largest producer of PK-12 teachers and largest comprehensive research university.
It’s been a busy fall of traveling for the AACTE Member Engagement and Support team as we’ve been visiting campuses to document exemplary clinical partnerships and practices for our online Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series, part of the AACTE Innovation Exchange.
This fall, we’ve been filming at St. John’s University (NY); the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; and California State University, Long Beach. We are also busy scheduling visits with State University of New York at Oswego and Butler University (IN) for spring 2017. At each location, we’ve met with deans, professors, teacher candidates, school district principals, teachers, and PK-12 students to see firsthand how a variety of programs are developing and sustaining successful clinical partnerships. The video production company “Ideas That Breathe” has been a valuable partner for filming, editing, and producing a compelling series from each site we visit. Each series is then segmented into episodes for posting on the Innovation Exchange and highlighting in the Ed Prep Matters blog.
This month, I visited the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) to participate in a kick-off symposium for the new AACTE Holmes Cadets Program starting there. The participating high school students were a dynamic reminder of why AACTE is expanding the Holmes Program: to support historically underrepresented students pursuing careers in education in order to diversify the field, from PK-12 through the professoriate. I was honored to welcome these passionate Holmes Cadets, who are poised to bring a strong Hispanic/Latino contingent to the teaching profession.
What did you do this summer?
For many of us in education, summer is a time for reflection on the past and planning for the future. We engage in professional learning, and if we’re lucky, we expand our horizons by visiting new places.
I had the great fortune to do all of these things last month during a fascinating trip to China.
At the invitation of China’s National Center for School Curriculum and Textbook Development, several U.S. education leaders and I participated in the China Teacher Leaders Forum and a series of other meetings with Chinese agency heads, educators and teacher educators, and business and philanthropic representatives.*