Ball State Program to Receive AACTE Multicultural Award

AACTE has selected the Ball State University Teachers College (IN) “Schools Within the Context of Community (SCC) program to receive the 2017 AACTE Best Practice Award in Support of Multicultural Education and Diversity. The award will be presented at the 69th AACTE Annual Meeting Welcoming Session, Thursday, March 2, at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida.

SCC takes an innovative approach to preparing culturally responsive, community-engaged candidates. In partnership with a local neighborhood and the Muncie Community School District, the university’s Department of Elementary Education immerses both teacher candidates and faculty into the community and provides opportunities for unique mentoring relationships, service-learning projects, family engagement, and more. Both the community and the university students have benefited in numerous ways since the program started in 2009, ranging from higher elementary student achievement to cultural immersion for teacher candidates to grant funding for community improvements, such as a shared walking path on the grounds of the elementary school.

“Ball State University’s program provides an innovative approach to teacher education that capitalizes on community funds of knowledge in the preparation of future teachers,” said Teachers College Dean John E. Jacobson. “As our candidates embed culturally responsive pedagogies into their teaching, they bridge the worlds of school and community in ways that make learning more relevant and engaging.”

According to the president of the community council, the program “intends to instill in candidates an ethic that wherever their careers leads them, they will understand the importance of engaging in the communities in which they serve in order to best support children and families.”

SCC already has won numerous recognitions in its short lifespan, including the 2016 Christa McAuliffe Excellence in Teacher Education Award from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the 2016 Innovations in Research on Diversity in Teacher Education Award from Division K of the American Educational Research Association, and a second-place award in 2012 for the AACTE-Southern Poverty Law Center Award for Exemplary Culturally Responsive Teacher Preparation. In addition, SCC founders Eva Zygmunt and Patricia Clark are receiving this year’s AACTE Outstanding Book Award for their book based on the SCC experience, Transforming Teacher Education for Social Justice.

AACTE’s annual Best Practice Award in Support of Multicultural Education and Diversity recognizes a member institution for the infusion of diversity throughout its teacher preparation curriculum, personnel, policies, and programs. Specifically, the successful incorporation of issues related to culture, language, demographics, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, and exceptionalities in the education process are valuable to quality teacher preparation and professional development. The award is overseen by AACTE’s Committee on Global Diversity.

AACTE issued a press release today announcing all of its 2017 award winners. For more information on AACTE’s awards program, visit Applications for next year’s awards open in June.

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