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Critical Friends Working Toward Program Improvement While Building a Partnership


In September of 2018, University of North Georgia (UNG) Educational Leadership staff began partnership discussions with Gwinnett County Schools. The UNG educational leadership program went through several iterations and was working toward revising the program to align with the Principal Pipeline Research from the Wallace Foundation. This revision also met the requirements for the new Tier 1 certification program implemented by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. We were new to the work and very interested in the successful, data-driven work Gwinnett County Schools Leadership development programs.

The initial discussions were about the application process and how we screen candidates, as well as, how we measured the success of our candidates beyond the obvious licensing test by the state.  This was the beginning of deep thinking for us about our program. We quickly learned that to build a quality program, we needed to attract the best candidates and track them through their placements in schools as leaders to determine the effectiveness of our work. We were most impressed with Gwinnett’s systems for measuring the success of their leadership development programs. This was great timing for our program as our Tier I participants had just completed the first cohort.  

The quality measures divide the process program improvement into six domains. We shared our practices in our Tier I program in each of the six areas, collecting evidence to support our work with our critical friends from Gwinnett.  At the same time, Gwinnett County Schools examined its practices in its principal preparation program sharing with us as critical friends. The process was transparent and helpful.  We both walked away with fresh ideas for improving our programs.

Why Board and Standing Committee Service is Important, Valuable, Gratifying, and Fun

How often have you said (or thought to yourself), “I can’t possibly take on any more responsibilities!  I can barely keep my head above water now?” 

As I write to encourage you to serve on the AACTE Board of Directors and standing committees, I’m acutely aware   that concerns about time and commitments exist for each of you. Given that we all struggle to balance our professional and personal lives, why should we commit time for service to AACTE?  As someone who manages to serve on the Board of Directors—and who is now the chair—let me offer a few reasons why I find service to AACTE worth the investment of time and talent.

  1. It is important. Our institutions prepare students for the most important profession in the world. Yet, we are regularly reminded that policy makers and political leaders, the members of our communities, and sometimes even our colleagues in the academy don’t fully value the breadth or impact of our work. AACTE, through our collective voice, is both a vehicle and a resource for highlighting the value and importance of high-quality, university-based educator preparation. Being actively engaged in the work of AACTE has provide me with opportunities to influence the national conversation about educator preparation, helped me be better aware of developments beyond my institution, and provided tools and materials by which to more effectively communicate to my own regional and state audiences.

Kelly C. Henson to Receive AACTE’s Imig Award

AACTE’s Committee on Professional Preparation and Accountability has selected Kelly C. Henson to receive the 2019 AACTE David G. Imig Award for Distinguished Achievement in Teacher Education. Henson, who in January 2019 retired as the executive secretary at the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, will be presented with the award at the AACTE 71st Annual Meeting, February 22-24, in Louisville, KY.

The Imig Award, named for AACTE President and CEO Emeritus David G. Imig, recognizes distinguished achievement in the formulation, implementation, or analysis of teacher education policy, or in the performance of distinguished scholarship in educator preparation.

Since 2007, Henson has led substantive educator preparation policy, certification, and ethics reform efforts in his role at the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. During his distinguished career of over 45 years in education, he also served as the superintendent of schools in Floyd County, principal of Walton High School, principal of Pope High School and associate superintendent in Marietta City Schools in Georgia. He has contributed to the statewide and national implementation of tiered certification, preparation program effectiveness measures (PPEM), performance-based educational leadership, enhanced ethics instruction and assessment and job-embedded professional learning.

Register for Free Preconference: Overcoming Challenges to Developing a Quality Assurance System

As you are making plans for the 2019 Annual Meeting in Louisville, KY next month, please consider joining us for a free preconference workshop focused on Overcoming Challenges to Developing a Quality Assurance System that will take place Thursday, February 21 from 1:00-5:00pm. Given the iterative nature of continuous improvement work, it is critical to develop a quality assurance system (QAS) that is sustained beyond an external review and provides meaningful data upon which evidence-based actions can be made.

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.

Radio Show Profiles Colorado State University’s School Leadership Institute

AACTE members Donna Cooner and Wendy Fothergill at Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins were featured in a recent episode of Education Talk Radio to discuss their university’s School Leadership Institute. CSU launched the institute a year ago to identify effective ways to support new PK-12 principals and administrators.

The institute helps identify effective ways to support principals in their critical first year on the job based on feedback from recent program graduates. The goals of the Institute are

Beliefs About Preparing Candidates to Navigate Complexities of Professional Decision-making: A Survey

The profession of education is highly complex, with educators having to make multiple decisions in their daily work. Competing tensions and multiple, greatly nuanced variables that are inherent in this field can add to the vulnerabilities and risks that educators must navigate, especially when it comes to professional decision making.

To gauge attitudes regarding teacher educators’ beliefs about the role of preparing candidates to navigate these complexities through preparation in educator ethics, current practices, and what resources might be most useful for enhancing professional ethics preparation, AACTE is collaborating with the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC), and the National Council for the Advancement of Educator Ethics (NCAEE) to conduct a brief survey.

Towson University Builds Clinical Curriculum Through Virtual Simulation

In Fall 2017, AACTE member institution Towson University’s College of Education launched a pilot program, SIMTeach@TU, to strengthen its clinical and practice-based curriculum through virtual simulation. The program features eight faculty who develop problem-based case scenarios for teacher candidates to experience real-world human interactions with avatars via the virtual reality technology called Mursion. The training simulations recreate the most demanding interpersonal challenges that teacher candidates may confront in the classroom with PK-12 students. It allows preservice teachers to practice and master the complex interpersonal skills necessary to be effective in difficult situations.

“We see simulation—or approximations of practice—work as part of the trajectory of getting our preservice teachers ready to work with real students in classrooms,” said Laila Richman, associate dean of the College of Education at Towson. “We think about this as the first phase of a university-based clinical curriculum that moves them towards being able to work with students.”

Join a National Conversation on University Principal Preparation Redesign

AACTE invites you to view a livestreamed panel discussion on preliminary findings from The Wallace Foundation’s University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI) at 10:30-11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, December 12, 2018. Register here.

Many district and university leaders agree that most university-based programs do not prepare principals to reflect the real-world demands of the job according to a 2016 survey. Consequently, seven universities participating in the Wallace initiative set out to redesign their programs to be more effective. A 2018 independent study by the RAND Corporation, Launching a Redesign of University Principal Preparation Programs, now suggests that the universities’ complex redesign efforts are beginning to pay off—through comprehensive, interdependent partnerships with local districts and the state.

Northwest Missouri State University Receives National Award for Excellence and Innovation

Photo courtesy of AASCU

Northwest Missouri State University was presented with the Christa McAuliffe Excellence in Teacher Education Award by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) at the opening session of its Annual Meeting last month in Washington, D.C. The award is named in honor of Christa McAuliffe, a teacher who was killed in the 1986 space shuttle Challenger disaster, and honors institutions for excellence and innovation.

Recipients of the award have shown evidence of top-level administrative support, alignment with its institutional mission and strategic agenda, contributions to significant institutional improvements or programming, research, and incorporated best practices.

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