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Notice of TQP Funding Opportunity: Applications Due July 15

Updated to reflect new application deadline.

Applications are now available for a new slate of Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants, the federal government’s only investment in reforming teacher preparation in institutions of higher education. Interested applicants will have to act quickly, though—the deadline for letters of intent is June 27, and full applications are due July 15.

Last week, in the Federal Register, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced the availability of approximately $35 million in new awards for fiscal year 2014 under the TQP grant program.

Innovation at Bradley University: PDS Partnership

The Innovations Inventory of AACTE’s Innovation Exchange is an online database highlighting members’ pioneering practices in educator preparation that have shown a positive impact on issues of student learning, preparation program advancement, or educator workforce needs. This blog post is one in a series highlighting entries from the inventory. To request inclusion of your institution’s innovations, contact Jessica Milton at jmilton@aacte.org.

The Bradley Professional Development Schools (PDS) Partnership was established in 1995 to address the needs of the eight PDS sites affiliated with Bradley University (IL). Inspired by a full-service community schools model, the partnership extends beyond teacher education to include all five departments in Bradley’s College of Education and Health Sciences.

AACTE ‘Research-to-Practice Spotlight’ Looks at Impact of Clinical Practice

Clinically based educator preparation is the focus of the first installment of AACTE’s new Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series, now available on the Innovation Exchange web site.

This series, part of AACTE’s Innovation Exchange, connects research on educator preparation with practice in the field. Each installment in the series contains videos of interviews with researchers, teacher educators, and practitioners on relevant topics in educator preparation, as well as a set of accompanying resources such as research articles and studies and examples of related innovative practices in the field.

Federal Spending Bill Maintains Investment in Educator Preparation

Last week, President Obama signed an omnibus spending bill funding the government through the end of the fiscal year. This $1.1 trillion plan restores approximately two thirds ($1.6 billion) of the cuts made to the U.S. Department of Education in last year’s sequestration.

Perhaps most important to educator preparation programs, the omnibus maintains funding for Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants, which fund partnerships between institutions of higher education and high-need school districts to create clinical and/or residency programs at the prebaccalaureate or graduate level. This means that the U.S. Department of Education will fund a new round of grants to partnerships seeking to reform teacher preparation programs. Stay tuned for more updates from AACTE on how to apply for this grant funding.

Forming a System of Clinical Preparation: Lessons from CAEP State Alliance Meeting

Earlier this month, I participated in a workshop of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation’s State Alliance for Clinical Preparation and Partnerships in Louisville, Kentucky. The 11 states in the alliance (Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Oregon) have formed a network to improve the systemic infrastructure supporting high-quality clinical experiences for teacher candidates. Mark LaCelle-Peterson, senior vice president for Engagement, Research, and Development at CAEP, framed the discussions over the 3 days with the following quote: “We have a system of education, but we do not have a system of clinical preparation.”

Major Forum Preview: Clinical Preparation, From Policy to Research to Practice

AACTE’s Advisory Council of State Representatives (ACSR) will sponsor a major forum at AACTE’s 2014 Annual Meeting focused on “Clinical Preparation, From Policy to Research to Practice: Strengthening the Programs.”

Research and practice have demonstrated for decades that sustained and high-quality clinical experiences positively contribute to the effectiveness of new teachers and to the likelihood that they will stay in the classroom longer. Unfortunately, preparation providers encounter myriad constraints in developing clinical programming, particularly stemming from challenges facing their PK-12 partners. Today’s school systems are being pressured to implement new teacher evaluation systems amidst new standards, new assessments, and changes to tenure laws—all within the context of significant economic hardships. Despite these challenges, many preparation providers are exploring multiple partnerships and intensive clinical programs, such as a full-year internship or residency, with local districts to ensure that their candidates have high-quality experiences.

Building Allies Through Community Engagement

You all know about the significance of “telling your story.” As an advocacy and public-relations strategy, teacher educators should regularly communicate with media outlets and policy makers to promote their programs’ strengths such as innovative practices, state-of-the art technologies employed by faculty, the qualities of matriculating candidates, and the impact program completers are making in PK-12 schools.

Indeed, AACTE has long encouraged members—collectively, through state chapters, and individually—to build outreach efforts through advocacy and communication strategies. Today I want to remind you of the importance of also engaging members of your local community in these efforts. I’m not talking about your service work here; this is about strengthening the relevance and perceived value of your institution and program within the community.

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