The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
Like other programs, our teacher preparation program at the University of Connecticut Neag School of Education has long struggled to recruit as many students of color as we’d like. That’s why we joined AACTE’s networked improvement community (NIC) in 2014 to collaborate with other institutions on strategies to bring more Black and Latino men into our programs. Already, we have nearly doubled the percentage of students of color in our program, going from roughly 12% of students to 20% of our entering cohort this fall.
Lisa LaDonna Cooper and Linda Mitchell of State Farm present funds to the ACI Center to support Project LEAD during the spring summit in Chicago.
In April, faculty and teacher candidate “ambassadors” representing institutions in the Associated Colleges of Illinois (ACI) convened in Chicago to take part in the Project LEAD (Leaders in Education Advocating for Diversity) Spring Summit. The summit, conducted by the ACI Center for Success in High-Need Schools, followed up on the inaugural Project LEAD meeting that took place last fall. (Read more about that meeting here.)
The day began with a welcome and celebration of the ACI Center and the initial successes of Project LEAD by its sponsor, State Farm. This included a brief talk by Community Relations Specialist Lisa LaDonna Cooper as well as an exciting presentation of funds to support participating institutions.
The AACTE Clinical Practice Commission (CPC) was launched in June 2015 with the goals of establishing a shared lexicon, identifying model protocols and best practices, and developing actionable recommendations for the field to define and align high-quality clinical practice in teacher preparation. The commission’s work is projected to extend through December 2016, but the 68th AACTE Annual Meeting held in February provided an opportunity to share the group’s work to date and gather feedback from the field.
During the conference, members of the CPC presented their vision for clinical practice, built upon a foundation of strong PK-24 partnerships and centered on transforming educator preparation by unifying the profession. Several commissioners provided insight into the CPC’s work as presenters during the preconference event “Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders Through School-University Partnerships,” sponsored by the Wallace Foundation, and as featured panelists in the major forum “Clinical Practice in Educator Preparation.”
Three members of the CPC, Kristien Zenkov and Audra Parker from George Mason University (VA) and Rene Roselle from the University of Connecticut, spoke at the preconference event. Their presentation summarized the commission’s progress toward developing a white paper and a shared lexicon to connect the essential elements of clinical partnerships. They also discussed the common structures of clinical preparation and the implications that clinical teacher preparation has for advancing clinical practice in principal preparation.
In fall 2014, AACTE formed a networked improvement community (NIC) aimed at increasing the number of Black and Latino male teacher candidates in teacher preparation programs. Our College of Education at William Paterson University was among the 10 member colleges selected to participate. As we’ve worked in this collaborative group toward the goal of boosting enrollment of men of color by 25% across our programs, we’ve enjoyed a local impact that reaches well beyond the anticipated range.
The NIC employs the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s “improvement science” methodology to help participants examine our current practices and create new ones that will support the recruitment and retention of more diverse teacher candidates in our programs, and ultimately, their entrance into the teaching workforce.
A new survey report from the Hope Street Group (HSG) presents perspectives of nearly 2,000 classroom teachers on their own preparation and that of future educators, aiming to inform both preparation program improvement and state and federal policy. The report, On Deck: Preparing the Next Generation of Teachers, asks whether teachers are being prepared effectively for the realities of today’s classrooms and what changes to curriculum, clinical experiences, and accountability measures might be needed.
The study was conducted by 18 HSG National Teacher Fellows, who are practicing classroom teachers and instructional coaches from 17 states. Last fall, they collected data through surveys and focus groups from other practicing teachers in their regions on their experiences and perceptions of how well teacher preparation providers are doing. Participating teachers ranged from 1 to 31 years of experience and came from all grade levels and subjects and from rural, urban, and suburban settings.
Please join AACTE November 17 for a free webinar highlighting three AACTE member and partner initiatives that are developing strategies and action to increase diversity in the teaching workforce.
A recent report by the Albert Shanker Institute, The State of Teacher Diversity in American Education, identifies teacher diversity in our nation’s schools as “an educational civil right for students” that is not adequately represented in the current educator workforce. In AACTE’s webinar, “Advancing Diversity in the Teaching Workforce: Three Initiatives Working Toward Solutions,” participants in three initiatives will “tell the story” of their work, providing the background for their initiative, the key issues and challenges they are addressing, and the progress they have made to identify solutions.
Did you know October is National Principals Month? While we appreciate our school leaders year round, this month is a special time to honor principals for their leadership and vital work in schools.
National Principals Month is a broad celebration of the principalship, marked by national and state resolutions, formal awards and recognitions, and acknowledgments from U.S. senators and representatives and other top government officials. It is an opportunity to say “thank you” to principals across the nation and to share with the community all the great things that principals do.
Participants in the inaugural Project LEAD Summit of the Associated Colleges of Illinois
On September 25, AACTE staff had the privilege of taking part in the inaugural Project LEAD (Leaders in Education Advocating for Diversity) Summit in Chicago, Illinois. The summit was a daylong conference conducted by the Associated Colleges of Illinois Center for Success in High-Need Schools to engage teacher candidates and faculty in interactive discussions focused on increasing diversity in the teacher workforce.
Have you tried AACTE’s Online Professional Seminars (OPSs) yet? Trish Parrish, assistant vice president of academic affairs and professor of education at Saint Leo University (FL), has completed three already! Here’s what she had to say when I recently asked her about the experience with AACTE’s Quality Support Initiative.
When Parrish started working on her first OPS, her husband was confused to see her in the student’s role. “He said, ‘But you’ve already prepared all your classes for tomorrow!’ And I replied, ‘Well, yes, but now I am taking my class!’ ” In fact, the time commitment on top of her already-full workload had Parrish worried at first, but she decided to give it a try—and now she has completed the first three OPSs in AACTE’s series. “I’ve definitely enjoyed it,” she says.
As your state chapters plan fall and spring conferences, executive retreats, and other meetings, please keep in mind that AACTE staff are available to serve as speakers and presenters at meetings around the country.