Archive for January, 2016

Reconceptualizing Teaching and Learning: The 2016 National Educational Technology Plan

Last month, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology released the 2016 National Educational Technology Plan, titled Future Ready Learning: Reimagining the Role of Technology in Education. Billed as the nation’s “flagship educational technology policy document,” the plan contains specific recommendations for teacher preparation programs relative to its “vision of equity, active use, and collaborative leadership to make everywhere-all-the-time learning possible.” For this article, AACTE asked two of our field’s leaders on the topic to reflect on the plan and its relevance for educator preparation providers.

Since 2000, the AACTE Committee on Innovation and Technology has hosted an annual leadership summit for the presidents of a dozen teacher educator associations and editors of educational technology journals, who together comprise the National Technology Leadership Coalition. This summit in Washington, DC, provides a unique forum for interdisciplinary planning focused on technology and teacher preparation. Sharon Robinson, president and CEO of AACTE, recently wrote of the coalition, “Rather than reacting to new technologies, members of [the coalition] sought to shape them by partnering with developers to include discipline-specific pedagogical considerations.”

Acting Secretary King Announces January Meeting Tour

The U.S. Department of Education announced Monday that Acting Secretary John King will start an “Opportunity Across America Tour” January 14. The tour will focus on King’s stated priorities for 2016:

  • Promoting equity and excellence at every level of education to ensure that every child has the opportunity to succeed
  • Supporting and lifting up the teaching profession
  • Continuing the Department’s focus on returning America to the top of the rankings in college completion by ensuring more students earn an affordable degree with real value

In the coming week, King will be visiting Texas; Washington, DC; Delaware; and Pennsylvania. If any of the locations are in your community, you might want to attend to connect with King in person. The full announcement and schedule appear below.

Project Management Training, Tools Critical for Managing Accreditation Work

Accreditation work involves considerable project management to track logistics and the activities of stakeholders. Resource management is a usual business practice of academic units, but the tools are not typically suitable for tracking projects with due dates and multiple actors. Tune in to AACTE’s upcoming Online Professional Seminars (OPSs) to learn about specialized software and methods for managing assessment cycles, quality assurance systems, and accreditation submissions.

In a session starting January 25, OPS #6: Leveraging Accreditation for Quality Improvement will cover topics such as ethical considerations, tools, checklists, site visits, mock visits, and walk-throughs. Or join us starting February 8 for OPS #5: Preparing for Accreditation, where we’ll cover teamwork, readiness, calendar planning, document control, best practices, and more.

Stories of Impact: University of Nevada, Reno Responds to Local Workforce Needs

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.

Teacher shortage is an issue nationwide but especially in Nevada, where 955 classrooms were without licensed teachers at the start of the 2015-16 school year. Now with engineering and technology giants Tesla and Switch establishing a strong presence in northern Nevada, top-quality teachers are in more demand than ever in our community.

Tennessee EPPs Optimistic About Changes to State Report Card

On December 2, 2015, the members of the Tennessee Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (TACTE) held their collective breath as the Tennessee State Board of Education released the 2015 Report Card on the Effectiveness of Teacher Training Programs. After 5 years of publicity nightmares as programs’ ratings and rankings received widespread media attention, would this year’s report be any better?

Back in 2007, the Tennessee General Assembly passed legislation requiring the publication of a report on the effectiveness of educator preparation programs (EPPs) throughout the state. The report was to provide the following information on program graduates: placement and retention rates, Praxis II scores, and teacher effect data based on the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS). Meghan Curran, director of Tennessee’s First to the Top programs, noted, “It is our intent that the report cards will help institutions identify both what they do well and where there is room for growth based on the outputs of their graduates.”

AACTE, Nevada EPPs to Host Press Conference on Teacher Shortage

To discuss Nevada’s persistent teacher shortages and what local educator preparation providers (EPPs) are doing about it, AACTE will partner with member institutions for a press conference in advance of the 68th AACTE Annual Meeting. The event will be held Monday, February 22, at 2:00 p.m. PST on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Severe staffing shortages in Clark County, Nevada’s largest school district, have been making national headlines and spurring emergency policy changes to boost numbers in the local teaching workforce. The press conference will address how the state’s EPPs, and those in similar contexts around the country, are addressing the crisis.

Officials from Clark County School District, nearby university-based colleges of education, and AACTE will discuss factors contributing to the local shortage as well as efforts to alleviate it. The following panelists have been confirmed to date:

  • Staci Vesneske, Former Chief Human Resources Officer, Clark County School District, on special assignment to the superintendent’s office
  • Kim Metcalf, Dean, College of Education, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Kenneth Coll, Dean, College of Education, University of Nevada, Reno
  • Dennis Potthoff, Dean, School of Education, Nevada State College
  • Thomas Reagan, Dean of Arts and Sciences, Great Basin College
  • Mark LaCelle-Peterson, AACTE Senior Vice President for Policy and Programs

AACTE Board Election Results

Congratulations to the future members of AACTE’s Board of Directors! In a recent online election, AACTE members chose several of their colleagues to serve a 3-year term beginning March 1:

Wanda Blanchett, Rutgers University – New Brunswick (CADREI)
M. Christopher Brown II, Southern University System (NAFEO)
Kim Metcalf, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (At-Large)
Beth Quick, University of Alabama Huntsville (At-Large)
Monika Shealey , Rowan University (At-Large)

Free Webinar to Discuss Expanding Principal Pipeline Framework

Please join AACTE next week for a free webinar led by participants in the Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative, who will discuss lessons from their urban districts on how to sustain and expand successful models for principal preparation and development.

The online event, to be held Wednesday, January 13, at 12:00 p.m. EST, is the final webinar in a series sponsored by the Wallace Foundation to showcase the work of the initiative. Earlier installments addressed laying the foundation for change, building partnerships among districts and institutions of higher education, and revising process and practice to enhance districts’ and principals’ commitment to professional development and improvement. (To access recordings of the earlier webinars in the series, click here. Member login is required to view the archive.)

Are Rubric Shortcuts OK?

Is it OK to take a shortcut with rubrics? Join a free online course starting February 1 to discuss the appropriate uses of “minirubrics” and other feedback mechanisms in AACTE’s Online Professional Seminar (OPS) #1: Building Quality Assessments.

Here’s a quick preview: A minirubric is a cross between a rating scale and a short rubric. With criteria barely described, a minirubric cannot be said to provide guidance—but it does provide feedback. And its typical visual form puts color to work for the learner. The rating labels may be identical to those in a full rubric. What’s new is the at-a-glance presentation.

Department of Education Webinar Slides Available on ESSA

On December 21 and 22, the U.S. Department of Education held webinars on the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the law that reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Click here to access slides from the webinars, which included some timelines and initial information about the transition from the framework of the No Child Left Behind Act to the new framework of ESSA.

I recommend that you review the Department’s slides to support and enhance your program’s partnerships by giving you a sense of what your state education leaders and PK-12 partners will be experiencing over the coming months and year(s). In particular, consider the implications of ending the waivers (referred to in the webinar as ESEA flexibility or ESEA waivers) as of August 1 of this year.

Plums and Lemonade: Making the Most of ESSA

On December 10, after many painful years of wrestling with the heavy-handed No Child Left Behind Act and state waivers that were often more prescriptive than the law itself, educators finally got a new federal law governing PK-12 education. Its replacement, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), promises to return power to the states, reduce accountability burdens, and broaden the scope of support for students with the greatest needs. I join my fellow educators around the country in celebrating these improvements.

Nonetheless, there are lemons lurking among the plums in the new ESSA. This law contains more concessions to reformist entrepreneurs and venture philanthropists than many of us would like. For example, one provision in Title II allows states to create charter-like “academies” for preparing teachers and principals for high-need schools—an idea that has been debated for several years and widely opposed by education organizations. Now that it is part of the law, however, we will do well to heed Maya Angelou’s advice: if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. So let’s celebrate the plums and then get busy making lemonade.

Stories of Impact: Getting Doable Ideas on the Education Table

This post also appears on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas web site and is reposted with permission. 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.

UNLV
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval addresses the Summit on Nevada Education held at UNLV. (R. Marsh Starks/UNLV Photo Services)

Improving education in the Silver State and beyond was the focus of more than 250 educators, policy makers, and community leaders who gathered December 7 for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) inaugural “Summit on Nevada Education.”

The daylong conference, hosted by the UNLV College of Education (COE), drew decision makers from the local, state, and national levels to discuss policy opportunities in the wake of a landmark 2015 Nevada Legislative Session for education. Also front and center were Nevada’s role and impact on the national education conversation and the importance of partnerships to ensure quality education at all levels.

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