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School-University Partners Discuss Clinical Principal Preparation and Partnerships at Preconference Event

Wallace PreCon
Facilitator Angela Sewall talks with participants in the Wallace-sponsored preconference event

Prior to the start of the 68th Annual Meeting, AACTE hosted a daylong workshop titled “Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders Through School-University Partnerships Educational Leaders Preconference,” sponsored by The Wallace Foundation. The event was attended by more than 125 PK-12 and higher education leaders from across the nation, including school-university partners who attended together with the goal of strengthening their collaboration in principal preparation programs.

The event agenda featured a series of presentations and interactive PK-24 “table talk” discussions, focused on examining aspects of clinical practice and effective partnerships to advance principal preparation. Participants explored topics such as these:

  • Structures of clinical programs, partnerships, and pipelines
  • Current research-based efforts to define, unify, and advance clinical educator preparation
  • Benefits and challenges related to implementing clinical practice in principal preparation
  • Models of high-quality, clinically based educational leadership programs
  • Support for common challenges such as those related to funding, sustainability, governance, and developing memoranda of understanding

In addition to the planned presentations and discussions, the workshop also provided a fitting occasion for Wallace leaders to release a new report about the landscape of principal preparation practice. Nicholas Pelzer, program officer for The Wallace Foundation, announced the report, Improving University Principal Preparation Programs: Five Themes from the Field, during a presentation about the current landscape of principal preparation. (See video from the presentation here).The report synthesizes surveys and literature reviews conducted by AACTE and three other organizations and serves as the basis for the University Preparation Program Initiative, a $47 million initiative recently announced by The Wallace Foundation, which will fund improvements to principal preparation programs at up to six universities in partnership with high-need districts.

Participants also enjoyed a sneak preview of the work of AACTE’s Clinical Practice Commission, exemplars of high-quality clinical practice and leadership, a report about the CAEP State Alliance’s work to advance clinical practice, and a discussion of governance and sustainability models. AACTE leaders also announced plans to form a new commission to study clinical practice in principal preparation.

These presentations provided the basis for a progressive series of table talks about translating lessons from clinical practice in teacher preparation to advance clinical work in principal preparation programs, followed by an examination of the benefits and challenges of implementing clinical principal preparation models. Participants then reported back to the full group to highlight their key discussion points.

In their evaluations, participants expressed enthusiasm for the opportunity to engage with their partners in a day of joint learning and critical conversation and called the event “a welcome addition to the agenda” of the Annual Meeting. Many of the PK-12 partners in attendance even stayed on for the full conference, bringing valuable perspectives to a variety of sessions. AACTE is grateful to The Wallace Foundation for supporting this well-received preconference event.

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Amanda Lester

Director, Programs & Professional Learning, AACTE