Archive for January, 2016

68th Annual Meeting Overview

Tomorrow is your last chance to register at a discount and to book your hotel room at The Mirage Hotel for the AACTE 68th Annual Meeting! Complete your conference registration by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on January 27 and save up to $40.

Next month, AACTE will hold its 68th Annual Meeting February 23-25 at The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, NV. Be there to experience the full lineup of conference activities around the conference theme, “Meeting the Demands of Professional Practice: Tough Questions, Tough Choices,” supported by four strands:

Addressing Teacher Shortages at AACTE’s Annual Meeting: A Team Approach

As the Every Student Succeeds Act rolls back the direct federal involvement in improving student achievement and hands over much of that authority to states, lawmakers throughout the country will be examining a range of issues related to PK-12 education during their 2016 legislative sessions. One of the most pressing concerns on many states’ lists is teacher shortages.

At AACTE’s 2016 Annual Meeting next month in Las Vegas, a three-part series of panel discussions on the topic has been organized with the help of the Advisory Council of State Representatives:

Continuous Improvement: The Most Powerful Aspect of Assessment

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Continuous Improvement Cycle — Ministry of the Environment, Tokyo
From OPS #2: Using Data for Improvement

One of the special features of AACTE’s Online Professional Seminars (OPSs) is their attention to assessment internationally. Looking to other countries for examples of assessment processes helps us to appreciate commonalities and, as this diagram accomplishes, reminds us of the power of graphics—even if we don’t understand the text.

As you will learn in the introductory OPS short courses, assessment systems are often depicted as a circle of connected steps. The accreditation world brought “close the loop” to our diagramming to illustrate the conclusion of an assessment cycle and launch of the next one. A spiraling curve communicates the most powerful aspect of assessment: continuous improvement.

AACTE’s Quality Support Initiative offers two free introductory courses, OPS #1: Building Quality Assessments and OPS #2: Using Data for Improvement. Like all of AACTE’s online seminars, these feature mobile-friendly content and asynchronous discussions that can be accessed anytime during their 4-week span. They have no prerequisites, can be taken out of sequence, and are open to everyone.

Volunteer for CAEP Service

The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) seeks reviewers and other volunteers for various roles in the agency’s work. Applications are open through March 18.

It is important for teacher educators to be represented in the CAEP Volunteer Corps, and this can be achieved if you volunteer! Please note that the call for service seeks a diverse population of educators, not only faculty from programs holding CAEP accreditation.

Volunteers are needed for the following roles (note that governance committee volunteers will not be solicited until next year):

Member Voices: Bringing Teacher Educators to the ESSA Implementation Table

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

In December 2015, I published an op-ed in the Washington Post in which I discussed my concerns with some of the teacher education provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). I focused my comments on a section within the law that gives states the authority to use some of their Title II funds to establish “teacher preparation academies.” These academies would, in my opinion, lower standards for preparing teachers and would also support a general downward spiral in standards beyond the academies that would weaken public education.

The academies provision is the most prescriptive option under Title II and could require states to change laws that would lower standards for teacher education programs. For example, if states choose to support teacher preparation academies, then they would not be allowed to place any “unnecessary restrictions on the methods of the academy” which includes requiring faculty to have advanced degrees or placing any restrictions on undergraduate or professional course work. While it is not certain that programs with lower standards would be funded under the academy provision, this option opens the door to that possibility.

Holocaust Museum Program Provided Vital Resources, Connections for Indiana Institute

Now is the time to apply for the 2016 Holocaust Institute for Teacher Educators (HITE), a week-long, all-expenses-paid professional development opportunity in Washington, DC, in June. Applications are due February 15!

This year, for the first time, the event is open to interested faculty members from any AACTE member institution. HITE is supported by a long-standing partnership between the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and AACTE. If you or a colleague is interested in applying, don’t delay—complete your application today!

Deans Academy at Annual Meeting to Offer Dedicated Programming for Administrators, Share Survey Results

You spoke, and we listened! Many of you have asked AACTE to add programming to the Annual Meeting for education deans. This year, we are pleased to do just that when we host a Deans Academy for education administrators during the Annual Meeting in Las Vegas.

This set of sessions, scheduled for 1:45-4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 24, has been put together by member deans and staff at AACTE for the purpose of providing meaningful information, space for dialogue, and an opportunity to explore solutions to the problems of practice inherent in leading schools, colleges, and departments of education.

Opportunities Announced for Federal Grants, Peer Review Service

The U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) this week announced its 2016 grant competitions and timelines. Plan now for these upcoming opportunities (follow the hyperlinks for details):

The Office of Higher Education Programs facilitates grant programs that promote and expand access to postsecondary education, increase college completion rates for U.S. students, and strengthen the capacity of colleges and universities:

NCTQ Says Textbooks Neglect Student Learning Strategies, Adds Related Standard for 2016 ‘Review’

In a report released last week, Learning About Learning: What Every New Teacher Needs to Know, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) evaluates four dozen teacher preparation textbooks for their content of specific student learning strategies. As an offshoot of the exercise, NCTQ will include a new standard, “Fundamentals of Instruction,” for secondary programs in its 2016 Teacher Prep Review.

For Learning About Learning, NCTQ reviewed 48 “relevant textbooks” used at just 28 institutions of higher education to determine whether they include six of the strategies identified as effective by the Institute of Education Sciences’ Organizing Instruction and Study to Improve Student Learning: A Practice Guide (2007). Finding little of what NCTQ sought, the report contends that textbook authors and publishers (and the preparation programs that assign the texts) are “failing the teaching profession, students, and the public by neglecting to provide our next generation of teachers with the fundamental knowledge they need to make learning ‘stick.’” See also Education Week’s coverage of the new report.

Where’s the O? Building Awareness for Quality Assurance

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Real sign from the UK, highlighting the absence of Type O blood in the nation’s blood banks.
From OPS #3 Creating a Quality Assurance System

The “missing O” campaign in the United Kingdom embedded a crucial message in the community to bring attention to the dwindling supply of Type O blood in the nation’s blood banks. From graphics and encoded messaging like this city sign for Downing Street, citizens learned of a need in novel ways.

An entire environment can serve as the billboard for information that can drive change. That type of systemic thinking is behind AACTE’s Online Professional Seminar (OPS) #3: Creating a Quality Assurance System.

As Mark Lacelle-Peterson advises, “Every EPP has a quality assurance system, but it is not necessarily recognized. The work of committees, of data reviewers, of stakeholders at all levels contributes to what is essentially the quality assurance provision.”

Stories of Impact: Preparing STEM Teachers to Serve High-Need Schools in Georgia

Ed Prep Matters is featuring “Stories of Impact” to showcase AACTE member institutions with educator preparation programs that are making a positive impact in their communities and beyond through innovative practices. We are committed to sharing members’ success stories and encourage you to do the same.

It’s no secret that Georgia, like many states throughout our nation, struggles to recruit highly qualified teachers committed to serving students in high-need schools in urban and rural communities—especially in math, science, and special education. When you take into consideration the state’s explosive population growth over the last several years, one-third of new teachers leaving the profession within 3 to 5 years, and a large number of retiring teachers, it is imperative that institutions responsible for teacher preparation work together to find a solution to the staffing crisis.

NNSTOY to Hold Congressional Briefing on Teacher Career Continuums, ESSA Implementation

Editor’s Note: This briefing has been postponed due to weather challenges. Please stay tuned for an announcement of the new date.

On Wednesday, January 27, the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) will hold a congressional briefing to release its new study Teacher Advancement Initiatives: Lessons Learned From Eight Case Studies. Completed in conjunction with Pearson, the report is the product of a 3-year study of schools and districts with established career advancement initiatives. The study identifies components of successful, sustainable teacher career continuums with positive impacts on teacher recruitment, retention, and job satisfaction.

The eight case studies include schools and districts in urban and rural areas of Arizona, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Iowa, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington. The report identifies key elements of effective career continuums such as structured roles for teacher leaders, opportunities for release time and collaboration, compensation differentiation, peer coaching and evaluation, embedded professional development, and structured opportunities for teacher voice in decision making.

Webinar Explores Preparing Educators for Common Core Math Standards

Last month, AACTE concluded its two-part online series on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) with a webinar discussing preparation of preservice teachers for CCSS in mathematics. The webinar highlighted ways to engage candidates in thinking mathematically, figuring things out the way their PK-12 students will need to do, and using mathematics in context to better assist students in their learning.

The webinar, “Preparing Teacher Candidates for Common Core State Standards in Mathematics: The Sequel,” was presented December 15 by Reuben Asempapa from Ohio University along with Fran Arbaugh from Penn State University and Cynthia Vavasseur from Nicholls State University, and moderated by AACTE Senior Director Linda McKee. They discussed strategies for program leaders to work on their campuses to educate mathematicians and mathematics educators about the CCSS in mathematics and to bring them together to effectively prepare future teachers:

Go Green—and Even Win a Contest—With AACTE’s Event Planner

Event apps for conferences are no longer a novelty. Businesses and associations everywhere are adopting this technology to facilitate interaction with their audiences—and AACTE is no exception! In response to member requests, and to keep AACTE’s meetings up to speed with industry standards, the Association now offers a custom-designed online Event Planner with full mobile functionality.

“We developed the Event Planner to help our members better manage their time and receive real-time updates during AACTE events,” said Alexandr Gumbar, AACTE’s director of information technology, who created the platform 2 years ago and recently completed its mobile version.

The online planner takes the place of a printed conference program. A digital planner is not only more environmentally friendly than a printed one, but also more accurate: It can nimbly reflect the latest scheduling changes to provide the most up-to-date information during the event. AACTE’s application also guides you around the conference, assists with creating your agenda, notifies you of important announcements, and facilitates your feedback through surveys.

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