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New NCLD Helps Teachers Unlock the Power of Students Who Learn Differently


One in 5 students in the United States have learning and attention issues. This includes those with identified specific learning disabilities, diagnosed attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, or related disorders that impact learning. Despite often having above average or average intelligence, the majority of these students are achieving below grade level. This equates to millions of students across the nation whose strengths and potential are going untapped.

The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) and Understood set out to unpack and address this problem. We partnered with teachers—often the most consistent touchpoint for students after their caregivers—to understand their experiences and insights. We rooted these experiences in rigorous research focused on general education classrooms, where the majority of the “1 in 5” spend most of their time. The culmination of this work is found in “Forward Together,” a new report from Understood and the NCLD.

AACTE is joining several other education organizations to develop Forward Together Toolkits for our teachers and teacher educators. Stay tuned for more information on the dissemination of those toolkits!

Call for Chapter Proposals – Rethinking School-University Partnerships: A New Way Forward

As co-editors, we are inviting you to submit a chapter proposal for the upcoming book, Rethinking School-University Partnerships: A New Way Forward, which will be published by Information Age Publishing. This volume will explore innovative ways in which colleges of education and education preparation providers (EPPs) engage with school partners to improve teacher education and educational outcomes for P-12 learners. The main focus of this book project is to extend the literature in this area and to learn from others around the country engaged in this important work. We are particularly interested in partnership work that addresses mutually beneficial outcomes and persistent issues/problems in teacher education.

This book will provide educational leaders in public schools and colleges of education with insight, advice, and direction into the task of creating effective, proactive partnerships. In current times, colleges of education and local school districts need each other like never before. School districts struggle with pipeline-workforce, recruitment, and retention issues. Colleges of education face declining enrollment and a shifting educational landscape that fundamentally changes the way that teachers are trained and what local school districts expect their teachers to be able to do. It is with these overlapping constraints and converging interests that partnerships emerge as a strategy for strengthening the education of our teachers.

The partnerships that we envision are different from the ways in which colleges of education and school districts have traditionally worked with one another. In the past, these loose relationships centered primarily on student teaching and/or field experience placements. We conceptualize “new” partnerships as being proactive, mutually beneficial, pragmatic, and futures oriented. By focusing on people who are leaders in colleges/schools of education and local schools, this book will be well-positioned to help us develop a better understanding of how to initiate and lead change around the concept of partnerships.

Preparing Secondary Educators for an Inclusive Classroom

Portland State University’s Graduate School of Education offers a unique, two-year, full-time master’s degree in secondary dual education. In 2014, the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and the Department of Special Education joined together to meet the need of the surrounding communities to increase the number of teachers who are skilled in effective practices for a variety of students. Graduates of the program are equipped to implement inclusive and equitable practices.

“The secondary dual education program in the Graduate School of Education really represents, I think, innovation, collaboration, and equity and inclusion at its highest levels,” says Marvin Lynn, dean of the Graduate School of Education at Portland State University. This particular program was born out of need to ensure all teachers are meeting the needs of all students in the classroom. The emphasis on diversity and equity is part of the Graduate School of Education’s strategic mission as an access university.

Solving the Teacher Shortage Crisis: APSU and CMCSS Team Up on New Program

The first class of residents in the Early Learning Teacher Residence program, a partnership between Austin Peay State University and the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System, wait to sign their contracts on May 24, 2019. (Photo: Jennifer Babich)

This article and photo originally appeared in the Leaf Chronicle and are reprinted with permission

These are not your typical college students.

Instead, they’re the first class of aspiring professionals embarking on a free three-year residency and degree program to turn themselves into teachers, as part of a partnership between Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools and Austin Peay State University.

Increasing Effective and Dynamic Inclusive Early Childhood Education Teachers


Bowling Green State University’s innovated Inclusive Early Childhood Education program seeks to address the need for teacher candidates to be well prepared to enter the classroom. BGSU recognized the importance of shifting their program to assist their teacher candidates in garnering the necessary teaching practices for a changing classroom environment. “We certainly have a wide array of learners with very diverse needs and one the things that this program helps us do is to ensure that we are graduating teachers that are ready to meet the needs of all those learners,” says Dawn Shinew, dean of the College of Education and Human Development at Bowling Green State University.

Every year, BGSU places over 900 teachers through 88 different partnerships with school districts throughout Ohio, which include both urban and rural districts and social service agencies. Teachers are expected to continue taking coursework during their clinical placements to ensure there is a connection among their coursework and their teacher training in the field. More importantly, BGSU believes teacher candidates should be exposed to the fieldwork earlier than what more traditional programs prescribe. Whereas other, more traditional programs place teacher candidates as student-teachers in their senior year of undergraduate studies, BGSU starts placing juniors in clinical settings with the hope to increase their exposure to their career and receive additional training in a variety of education settings, including special education and inclusive classrooms.  

The “Inconvenient Truths” of Early Childhood Education and Care

The United States needs to rethink its approach to early childhood education and care (ECEC), based on the experiences of innovative systems around the world, and develop a cohesive system that is high-quality, equitable, sustainable, and efficient. This is the principal finding of the groundbreaking study from the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), The Early Advantage. An event to release the study was held in Washington, DC, on May 16.

The study examines how innovative jurisdictions around the world are strategically and inventively designing and implementing early childhood policies and services to advance children’s well-being, and provides policy recommendations to help the United States expand the reach, equity, and rigor of its early childhood offerings.

AACTE Selects 10 Institutions for Networked Improvement Community Around Special Education Teacher Shortage


AACTE received nearly 50 applications from preparation programs across the country to participate in the Reducing the Shortage of Special Education Teachers Networked Improvement Community supported by the CEEDAR Center! The AACTE Reducing the Shortage of Special Education Teachers Networked Improvement Community (NIC) aims to address the problem of the shortage and lack of diversity of fully prepared and credentialed special education teachers in public schools across the nation.

AACTE is proud to be partnering with the following member institutions in reducing the special education teacher shortage:

Cleveland State University
Eastern Michigan University
Texas State University
University of Central Florida
University of Nebraska at Omaha
University of Northern Colorado
University of Oregon
University of Wisconsin at Madison
Virginia State University
Western Kentucky University

New Research-to-Practice Spotlight Videos Feature Bowling Green and Portland State Universities


AACTE identified and documented two exemplary teacher preparation programs that ensure all of their candidates are ready to work with all students, including students with disabilities. We are pleased to feature a set of videos from each program documenting how they implement curriculum for dual certification (general education and special education) and feature extensive clinical preparation.

Bowling Green State University’s undergraduate Inclusive Early Childhood Program and Portland State University’s Secondary Dual Education Program support new and beginning teachers in teaching in inclusive classrooms. Both programs lead to certifications in general and special education. “These institutions ensure that all educators have the skills to work with students with disabilities in the 21st century,” said AACTE Consultant Jane West, “School districts scramble to hire these outstanding students, as they come with the mindset and the skillset to be effective with all students.”

Session highlights Innovative Programs that Address Workforce Needs


During the AACTE 2019 Annual Meeting, panelists for the Deeper Dive session, “Innovations to Address Today’s Workforce Needs” examined inclusive education preparation and strategies to address the national teacher shortage. The session highlighted AACTE’s partnership with the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR) Center at the University of Florida and its federal supporters.

AACTE Consultant Jane West, who leads the Association’s work with CEEDAR, moderated a discussion with panelists Mary Murphy and Mark Seals (Bowling Green State University) and Marvin Lynn (Portland State University) on best practices at Bowling Green’s undergraduate teaching program and Portland State’s master’s program. 

Apply to join AACTE’s Special Education Teacher Shortage NIC


AACTE is now accepting applications from member institutions to join a new networked improvement community (NIC) focused on special education teacher recruitment and retention.

The shortage of special education teachers and the lack of diversity among all teachers have been well documented. Half of all schools and 90% of high-poverty schools struggle to find qualified special education teachers.

The aim of this NIC is to positively impact the special education teacher shortage and the lack of diversity in the special education teacher workforce in public schools. Participating institutions will identify a range of best practices related to increasing enrollment, strengthening partnerships with P-12 schools, and retaining special education teachers.

Read more about this new initiative on our website and in the Reducing the Shortage of Special Education Teachers NIC Charter.

Applications are due on April 1, 2019.  Member institutions will be selected through a structured review process and notified in late April of 2019. An introductory virtual meeting will be held in May of 2019, and the first in-person convening will be held in the fall of 2019.

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