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Uniting the Profession at AACTE’s Washington Week

Throughout AACTE’s Washington Week, June 9-11, the theme “Diverse Perspectives, Deep Partnerships, One Profession” permeated each event, motivating attendees to forge and nurture bonds that will strengthen the profession. From the emerging leaders attending the Holmes Scholars Summer Policy Institute to the chapter executives at the State Leaders Institute, and from the STEM conference through Day on the Hill, participants connected with peers, policy makers, and partners around common goals and interests.

On Tuesday, June 9, state chapter leaders convened for the State Leaders Institute, where they discussed developing relationships with political and state officials and forming coalitions. Laurie Mullen, president of the Indiana Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, and Joelle Tutela, president of the New Jersey Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, encouraged participants to work with state organizations such as principal and teacher unions to build alliances and engage in the teacher continuum to promote shared goals.

During the STEM conference that same day, attendees were inspired by global corporate partnerships effecting change for innovative learning in deprived communities. For example, presenter Vasanta Akondy shared how the Verizon Foundation is providing unique opportunities to girls in India to succeed in STEM careers through the Verizon Innovative Learning Program. The initiative focuses on improving education through innovative teaching methods and encouragement from role models, mentors, teachers, and parents. It promotes educating girls and women for careers in STEM fields as critical to economic development in India.

Also on Tuesday, AACTE Holmes Scholars® kicked off their annual policy institute, affording them an insider’s view of the world of national-level education policy and research work. Scholars met with representatives from the U.S. Department of Education, the National Association of Holmes Scholars Alumni, and AACTE and held a business meeting Tuesday.

On Wednesday, an education panel of representatives from the National Education Association, Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, Center for American Progress, and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities discussed educator preparation quality, minority student access to education, and current policy issues. Holmes Scholars were encouraged to work closely with human and civil rights organizations to promote leadership diversity and equity, and with state and federal policy makers to strengthen professional development for teachers in high-poverty and high-minority schools, and to create union-district agreements and compacts to address distribution.

Scholars then joined other participants for Day on the Hill, which included a half-day orientation followed by a day of advocacy with members of Congress. Building relationships with legislators and partnerships with other educators and stakeholders was a resounding message from the various panels during the orientation. Participants learned strategies for engaging with state and federal officials and for establishing themselves as a recognized resource on educator preparation for politicians, the media, and local communities.

On Thursday, AACTE members concluded the week by visiting their representatives on Capitol Hill to implement relationship-building strategies and to advocate for the profession.

Photos from the events are available on AACTE’s Facebook page through these links:

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Jerrica Thurman

Director of Marketing & Communications, AACTE