Alverno’s Mary Diez (right) with her SSSF vice presidents
It’s hard to believe, but it’s true: After 38 years, Mary Diez is leaving Alverno July 1.
Diez, professor and former dean of the School of Education at Alverno College (WI), was elected last month to a 4-year term as president of the School Sisters of St. Francis (SSSF), an international congregation with 850 sisters in the United States, Europe, India, and Latin America. This full-time commitment will take her to all of those places, although she plans to retain her campus residence at the college where she has lived for nearly 4 decades.
Taking her leadership skills off campus is hardly new for Diez, whether as a consultant in the Milwaukee community, member of standards boards, convener of assessment institutes, champion of dispositions work, or president of AACTE—among countless other roles she has held around the country and internationally. Despite having so much on her plate, Diez generously responded to my questions this week about her career to date and future plans.
The Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR) Center, a national center funded by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs, seeks state partners—including state education agencies (SEAs) and educator preparation programs (EPPs)—to work collaboratively on teacher and leader effectiveness across the career continuum to help students with disabilities achieve college and career readiness in inclusive settings.
States may apply to the CEEDAR Center for intensive technical assistance for up to 4 years. Grantees will create strategic partnerships among SEAs and EPPs to support educator preparation faculty and administrators, researchers, state policy makers, and school-based professionals in building and sustaining an aligned, coherent, and systemic approach to personnel preparation. An online application must be submitted by August 1 by the state’s chief school officer or designee, in collaboration with the partnering SEA and EPPs.
AACTE has selected 10 institutions to participate in the Association’s first Networked Improvement Community (NIC), aimed at increasing the diversity of our nation’s teacher candidate pool by focusing on recruitment of more Black and Hispanic men into teacher preparation programs.
More than 50 AACTE member institutions in 25 states applied to be a part of this NIC, known as Changing the Demographic Makeup of the Teaching Workforce. Following a rigorous review by the AACTE Committee on Professional Preparation and Accountabilty, AACTE congratulates the following institutions on their selection:
Last week, I participated in a summit at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania on implementing and preparing for the Pennsylvania Core Standards. In attendance were the institution’s president and vice provost along with faculty, deans, and other administrators from throughout the university. Administrators and teachers from nearby PK-12 school districts as well as representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Education also joined us.
Following my keynote presentation discussing the fundamental instructional shifts of the Pennsylvania Core, all vested stakeholder groups took part in a conversations addressing the impact of the standards on their programs and the supplemental changes necessary to enact to support implementation. Among the suggested changes were strengthening ties with the PK-12 districts to provide necessary clinical experiences for candidates and deepening core content knowledge of both in-service and preservice teachers. One great idea was for the university to host academies throughout the summer to provide training for PK-12 teachers and administrators.
The College of Education at the University of Florida last week announced the launch of a new center on “Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform”—also known as the CEEDAR Center—focused on supporting states in developing teachers to prepare students with disabilities for college and careers. CEEDAR is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs, receiving $15 million over 3 years with the possibility of receiving additional funds for an additional 2 years.
AACTE today announced the official launch of an initiative to support innovation in the professional community and speed the pace of change in university-based educator preparation. The Innovation Exchange will serve as a forum for AACTE members, partners, and other constituents to share experiences and findings as they work together to address the most urgent issues of student achievement, curriculum reform, and educator preparation program advancement.
Through this national initiative, AACTE will seek to strengthen educator preparation, demonstrate the necessity and effectiveness of educator preparation, and enhance members’ opportunities to collaborate on key issues.
The pace of change is quickening as educator preparation programs engage in a variety of reform efforts. Are you interested in learning more about how they are taking charge of change? A major forum at AACTE’s Annual Meeting in Indianapolis will highlight reforms in several programs and the ways they are working with PK-16 partners and communities to meet emerging challenges.
During this forum, the following panelists will share their efforts and partnership work to reinvent programs at their institutions:
The Education Task Force of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) met in Washington, DC, last month, considering two new model state bills: the “Student Achievement Backpack Act” and the “Course Choice Act.”
The “Student Achievement Backpack Act” creates a data “backpack” for each K-12 student in the state that would include an electronic learning profile as well as information on the student’s prior teachers, including teachers’ years of experience and licensure information. The act would also authorize parents and K-12 district employees to access these backpacks, which would be transferable between schools and districts. The bill does include provisions to safeguard students’ privacy.
The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
The latest release of international test results has once again stirred the controversy of whether or not American students can successfully compete academically in a global context. Before we condemn our educational system, however, we must first understand exactly what the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) reveals about student performance and whether a fair comparison can be made between American 15-year-olds and those in other countries.
A major forum at AACTE’s 2014 Annual Meeting will feature efforts to redesign elementary preparation programs so that they are aligned with current PK-12 school expectations, provide deeper content engagement, and offer pedagogical practices with a greater impact.
Preparing elementary school teachers can be challenging, as they need to be well-versed in many subject areas and particularly attuned to the developmental needs of young learners. Indeed, many preparation programs have struggled to produce coherent curriculum to effectively prepare teacher candidates for the early grades.