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Educators help dual-language learners through the IMPACT-PD grant

Teacher pointing at words on blackboardThe IMPACT-PD grant—Improving Preschoolers’ Acquisition of Language through Coaching Teachers and Professional Development—is playing an integral role in providing preschool educators the tools they need to help their students develop proficiency in English as a second language.

The United States Department of Education National Professional grant, funded by the Office of English Language Acquisition, aims to provide educators with professional development opportunities for improving instruction of dual-language learners in preschool.

The IMPACT-PD program, a partnership between the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education, focuses on four goals to further training and education to children learning English early in life:

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!

AACTE Participates in Next Educator Workforce: Asking the Right Questions


I recently represented AACTE at the Next Educator Workforce: Asking the right questions conference, joining educators from across the country at the Arizona State University (ASU) Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College (MLFTC).

The ASU conference organizers asked the question: Why convene around the idea of the next education Workforce? The response included the following:

  • Fewer people are entering the profession.
  • More educators are leaving the profession early.
  • Educators need more of the sustaining rewards of adult collaboration and efficacy.

Our challenge, according to ASU, is to build broad-based, multilateral partnerships that include colleges of education, schools, districts, and communities committed to designing and fielding new workforce models that make education work better for both educators and learners.

Social Emotional Learning Is Essential for Student Success


Social and emotional skills, habits, and mindsets—such as being able to manage emotions, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions—can set students up for academic and life success. Decades of research show that incorporating social and emotional learning (SEL) into instruction can lead to positive outcomes, from increased test scores and graduation rates to positive behaviors that support student success in school and beyond.

What can teacher preparation programs do to prepare teachers to integrate SEL into everyday classroom learning? A new case study from the Learning Policy Institute (LPI), Preparing Teachers to Support Social and Emotional Learning: A Case Study of San Jose State University and Lakewood Elementary, provides rich examples of how a publicly funded university in California integrates social and emotional dimensions of teaching and learning into its program, from courses on foundational theory and academic curriculum to fieldwork.

AACTE InTouch: ‘What Makes a Good Teacher?’

Did you know AACTE produces a mini-documentary series called AACTE InTouch? These brief videos inform the public about educator preparation and ways to advocate for, get involved in, and support the education profession.

The series educates viewers on how effective teachers are prepared and showcases successes and challenges in educator preparation. The video content is designed to align with the Association’s key messages focused on quality, advocacy, partnerships, and innovation. Featuring a variety of topics and layered storytelling, the series helps viewers understand the critical issues in educator preparation, feel connected to AACTE’s mission, and learn about innovations in the field.

Learn to Use Data for Improvement in Online Course Starting July 17

Data, data everywhere – so now what do you do? When you are awash in student test scores, survey responses, or research results, how do you determine what they mean – and what actions to take as a result?

For a concise and engaging introduction to data sources, uses, and improvement processes, try AACTE’s online professional seminar Using Data to Improve Student Outcomes, opening July 17 for a 3-week run on the FutureLearn social-learning platform. It requires only 3 hours per week and costs nothing! (Or you may choose to upgrade your enrollment, for a fee, to participate in tests, obtain a completion certificate, and gain unlimited access to course materials in the future. A completion certificate is required if you plan to become an AACTE consultant.)

AASCU Seeks Applications for 2017 Christa McAuliffe Excellence in Teacher Education Award

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) invites applications by April 21 for the 2017 Christa McAuliffe Excellence in Teacher Education Award. Only public colleges and universities that are members of AASCU are eligible to apply for the award, which honors exemplary teacher preparation and professional development programs.

To win this award, teacher education and professional development programs must –

Free Data-Use Online Course Starts March 20

AACTE’s enhanced online professional seminars, offered through the Quality Support Center on the FutureLearn social-learning platform, are well under way! More than 5,000 registrants signed up for the first run of our introductory assessment course, which just concluded, and the second course, Using Data to Improve Student Outcomes, opens March 20. (Please note this start date is a change from the original schedule.)

In this free 3-week course, you will discover how to apply data science to deliver better outcomes for students. Led by Linda McKee, AACTE’s senior director for quality support initiatives, you’ll learn to identify a range of data sources, analyze the data, and present your findings, then select indicators and establish actions to achieve continuous improvement.

Ball State Wins AASCU Award for Community-Based Program

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) has selected the “Schools Within the Context of Community” (SCC) program at Ball State University (IN) to receive the 2016 Christa McAuliffe Excellence in Teacher Education Award. The award will be presented October 30 at the AASCU Annual Meeting and recognized again at the AACTE Annual Meeting in March 2017.

Launched in 2009 as a partnership between Ball State University’s Department of Elementary Education and the Whitely neighborhood of Muncie, Indiana, the SCC program takes a unique approach to teacher education. It immerses preservice candidates in a low-income, African-American community where they are carefully matched with mentors who serve as cultural ambassadors and impart the strengths and values of the community.

Study: Evidence ‘Thin’ for Key Accountability Efforts—Except for edTPA

A new policy brief out of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) reviews the evidentiary base underlying four national initiatives for teacher preparation program accountability and finds that only one of them—the beginning-teacher performance assessment edTPA—is founded on claims supported by research. The other three mechanisms included in the study are the state and institutional reporting requirements under the Higher Education Act (HEA), the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) standards and system, and the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) Teacher Prep Review.

Holding Teacher Preparation Accountable: A Review of Claims and Evidence, conducted by Marilyn Cochran-Smith and colleagues at Boston College (MA), investigated two primary questions: What claims does each initiative make about how it contributes to the preparation of high-quality teachers? And is there evidence that supports these claims? In addition, researchers looked at the initiatives’ potential to meet their shared goal of reducing educational inequity.

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