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Cooperation Helping Address Va. Teacher Shortage

Jane Bray

This article originally appeared in The Virginian-Pilot and is reprinted with permission.  

SOME SAY mountains cannot be moved, but the commonwealth has done just that.

Achieving solidarity among educators, politicians, policymakers, higher education institutions and leaders from across Virginia, the effort to combat the teacher shortage in our classrooms has been nothing short of truly astonishing.

On June 20, the Virginia Board of Education gave the final seal of approval for 53 four-year undergraduate degree programs in teacher education at 15 institutions of higher education across the state.

Bowie State Program Looks to Draw More Black Men to Education Careers

This article originally appeared on the WUSA 9 website and is reprinted with permission.

Bowie State University

If you look inside many of America’s classrooms, you’ll notice someone is missing: black male teachers.

According to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Education, only 2% of the country’s teaching workforce are black males.

The phenomenon has not been lost on educators like Bowie State University professor Julius Davis. He recently undertook an effort to increase the number of black male teachers that can be found in DMV classrooms.

The University System of Maryland awarded Davis a $44,000 grant to operate a center at Bowie State that specializes in the research and mentorship of black male students and teachers.

Meeting the national need for teachers

Bolstering Education
This article and photo is reprinted with permission from
Illinois State, August 2019 issue.

Media alerts announce another school shooting with lives lost. Another extended teachers’ strike is called to protest inadequate pay. Another round of standardized test results show that American students are falling behind. Another cut made in funds earmarked for public education cripples school districts struggling to keep pace with changing curricula and technology.

ISU College of Education Dean James Wolfinger will tell you the regular recurrence of such reports sparks mounting negative sentiments toward the teaching profession as a whole, which results in one more equally troubling headline: America is facing a critical shortage of teachers.

“The problem is serious, it is real, and it is not overblown by the media,”

JSU Creates Teacher Prep Program with Southern Union State Community College

JSU and Southern Union State Community College are joining force
JSU and Southern Union State Community College are joining forces to provide a smoother route to an early childhood or elementary education degree through the newly established Teacher Prep program.

Teacher Prep creates opportunities for Southern Union students to seamlessly enter JSU’s School of Education through concurrent enrollment. Students are able to earn college credit simultaneously at the community college and university level, placing students on a quicker and more cost-effective pathway to receiving an associate’s degree and a

Tips From PSU on Navigating an Inclusive Educator Prep Program

Representatives from PSUAs the student population has diversified so has our understanding of the general education classroom, specifically who we serve in an inclusive setting. Our students with special education services are learning the majority of their grade level curriculum in general education classrooms. This paradigm shift requires effective collaboration between service providers and teachers as well as a deep understanding and application of differentiation to meet the needs of all students.

For years, the two fields of general education and special education have been siloed. Persistence and partnership is how 

Respond to the Needs of Immediate Communities, Advises BGSU

Teacher in front of classroom of studentsThe key to developing the Bowling Green State University (BGSU) dual licensure program is reaching out to the local area to ensure the program is built with the local needs at the forefront. “The local data is how the university can drive change,” recalls a district leader. Faculty also believe collaboration with the district is central to their mission and their success with candidates. Making connections with the field office and the supervising teachers ensured faculty could relate what candidates were seeing in the field to what they were learning in their coursework.

University systems must also be taken into consideration, especially when working across colleges and across departments. Two questions drove the BGSU program leadership as they developed their dual licensure program: What is best for our students in this program? An what is best for this program? One significant concern was finding strong clinical placements for each teacher candidate. The success of a program with hundreds of teacher candidates rested with strong clinical partnerships.

Finally, serving all students that walk into the classroom was the priority when developing the dual licensure program at BGSU. “This wasn’t an experiment, this is the way BGSU does business,” reflected a faculty member. It was a choice to move away from single licensure that, over time, changes the makeup of the district teaching population, which is why district leaders were involved at every step in the program development.

To learn more, watch the Advice to Others video highlighting BGSU’s Models of Inclusive Clinical Teacher Preparation, part of AACTE’s Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series.

Guilford County Schools draws in, trains new teachers with Teacher Quality Partnership

This article originally appeared on Fox 8 News and is reprinted with permission.

The Guilford County School District is getting more teachers with the help of a new program.

Guilford County Schools, High Point University and North Carolina A & T State University partnered together for the Teacher Quality Partnership. It’s a federal grant that helps get highly qualified teachers into high-needs schools.

The grant awards more than $4 million to get 25 participants into an accelerated program. In this program, they will learn what they need to be an effective teacher while applying the skills simultaneously in their own classroom with the help of a mentor.

“I never thought I would be in the classroom. People have been telling me for years, ‘Oh, you’d be a great teacher,’” Rashida Queen, one of the 

Students Discuss the Value of PSU’s Secondary Dual Education Program

PSU students reflecting on their experienceA number of students in Portland State University’s (PSU) Secondary Dual Education Program (SPED) recently reflected on advice they were given before entering the graduate program. “I always want more education than less,” one teacher candidate was advised by a mentor in the field of medicine. The candidate now looks back on her experience in the program with appreciation. “I was ready. I had the resources. I had been in the classroom for two years; it felt natural. I didn’t have the same level of trepidation as some of my first year friends.”

The students who complete the PSU program graduate with a dual endorsement in a secondary education content area and special education. Another candidate reflected on the importance of serving every student in the classroom. His decision to pursue a two-year graduate program in secondary English and special education was an obvious one; it ensured he would be prepared to meet the needs of all students with a range of abilities.

The benefit of being profession-ready is not only valued by the teacher candidates. High school students also note the tremendous advantage they have when a teacher who understands the unique needs of students with IEPs is leading the classroom. In particular, college access traditionally has been stymied for students with significant disabilities. However, one high school student reflected that she has a mentor in her teacher, someone who has guided her toward college-ready curriculum. Learning from their students is another area of mutual benefit expressed by the candidates. The necessity to meet the needs of each student in the classroom is universally acknowledged by candidates, students, and administrators.

To learn more, view the What’s in it for me? video highlighting PSU’s Secondary Dual Education program, part of AACTE’s Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series.

BGSU Inclusive Early Childhood Program Builds Strong Partnerships with Local Schools

Teacher working with two young girls in classroom. Developing and sustaining partnerships with local school districts are critical to the success of the Bowling Green State University (BGSU) Inclusive Early Childhood (IEC) program. Superintendents who work with BGSU assert that all parties need to understand the challenges each school district and university face and must be willing to bridge the gap between research and clinical practice together. BGSU’s teacher candidates are deployed for clinical practice in special education at local schools including in rural areas.

“One of the pieces that works really well for us is that all of the people working in the education department at the university are parents themselves of students in our district so there’s a vested interest,” said Francis Scruci, superintendent of Bowling Green City Schools. “I think there’s a mutual respect. We certainly respect what the university does and I think they respect what we’re trying to do at the K-12 level and we understand the challenges that both of us face. We are willing to bridge that gap and try to help each other become successful.”

BGSU’s overall objective is to prepare graduates of the IEC program to teach young children with and without disabilities in inclusive settings. The IEC program blends the best practices from early childhood education with early childhood special education. It addresses the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to meet the needs of each child. Graduates of the program are prepared to provide differentiated, evidence-based instruction to young children from birth through grade 3. 

To learn more, watch the Developing and Sustaining Partnerships video highlighting BGSU’s Models of Inclusive Clinical Teacher Preparation, part of AACTE’s Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series.

PSU Partners with Schools to Advance Inclusive Education

Teacher working in classroom with students

One of the key components of Portland State University’s (PSU) Secondary Dual Education Program is its success in developing and sustaining partnerships with local school districts.

Marvin Lynn, dean of the Graduate School of Education at PSU, shares how the program prepares secondary education teacher candidates to bring content knowledge and “the knowledge that special education teachers have to bare about the learning process and about how to work with these unique populations” to local schools.

Educators like Ana Capac, a special education teacher at Evergreen High School, specifically ask for student teachers from the PSU program because of the mindsets and approaches they bring to the classroom and community. “It is really important that I’m supporting both the student teachers I’m working with on how they are developing this mindset of inclusion, supporting all students, and working within the school to support their colleagues as well,” says Capac.

Andrew Gilford, assistant principal at Clackamas High School, emphasizes this culture shift to more collegial relationships where the PSU teacher candidates and the classroom teachers “speak the same language” and can work together to serve students with disabilities and improve learning outcomes. “Coming from this kind of program and this kind of background, you are immediately an advocate,” adds Rob Parness, special education teacher and former academic coach at Tigard High School.

In discussing the culture shift, Will Parnell, curriculum and instruction department chair at PSU, emphasizes that the program was built based on relationships with the community. “There were local districts that were saying ‘we want special ed teachers that can support students in general ed classrooms’ but they found out that teacher prep programs were not focused on that,” says Susan Bert, assistant professor of practice, special education at PSU.  “So there was a need.”

To learn more, view the Developing and Sustaining Partnerships video featuring PSU’s Secondary Dual Education program.

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