Ohio Ed Prep Providers Converge for Day on the Square

Do you think educator preparation programs are out of touch with today’s PK-12 schools? See what Ohio’s teacher educators are doing to engage with their partners in this video for AACTE’s Debunking Myths campaign. See how you can participate in the campaign here.

In early March, 60 representatives from Ohio public and private higher education institutions converged for Day on the Square to meet with state legislators, including Senate Education Committee Chair Peggy Lehner and House Education Committee Chair Bill Hayes. Conversations centered on current policies, legislation, and the direction of teacher education in Ohio, focused specifically on the theme “Merging Voice and Vision Through P-16 Partnerships.”

“We wanted [legislators] to know what is happening now in teacher education and all the great things we are doing—and all the ways we’re making ourselves accountable,” said Amy McClure, president of the Ohio Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (OACTE).

Held annually since 2009, Ohio’s Day on the Square has been offered as a special event during the Ohio Confederation of Teacher Education Organizations (OCTEO) spring conference. The confederation is an umbrella organization that brings together OACTE and other teacher educators’ and deans’ organizations in the state for two annual conferences.

Day on the Square provides Ohio educator preparation providers an opportunity to establish a relationship with legislators; communicate a consistent message about the value of educator preparation in Ohio; demonstrate the commitment of educator preparation institutions and faculty; provide information about current initiatives and educational issues; listen to legislators’ concerns and respond to questions; advocate for legislation that supports a vision for comprehensive, high-quality educator preparation; and network with colleagues on important issues in the state.

OACTE prepared its participants on how to contact and approach their legislators by providing training sessions during the conference and talking points to share with representatives. This year’s key messages included promoting clinically based teacher preparation as a performance-oriented, outcomes-driven approach that is adding value in the state by ensuring that Ohio’s graduates are ready to be successful in the classroom on Day 1, by strengthening communities, and by meeting state and local needs.

“The knowledge our legislators have about teacher education has increased tremendously,” said McClure. “The more knowledge they have about teacher education, the more they will be equipped to support legislation in favor of our work.”

Also featured during the conference was the Ohio Clinical Alliance for Educator Preparation, of which OACTE is a key sponsor along with partners such as the Ohio Board of Regents. The alliance is committed to supporting Ohio’s future teachers working shoulder to shoulder with practicing educators from the very beginning of their preparation programs, through continuous school-based clinical practice.

At Day on the Square breakout sessions, faculty from all over the state shared resources on program improvement and how to successfully facilitate partnerships between higher education institutions and PK-12 schools.

Looking to engage this way at the national level? Come to Day on the Hill during AACTE’s Washington Week, June 9-11, for an opportunity to meet with your members of Congress and network with peers around partnerships and other professional issues.

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Jerrica Thurman

Director of Marketing & Communications, AACTE