AACTE 2018 Washington Week Recap

Oregon teacher educators meet with U.S. Representative Kurt Schrader (second from left) during AACTE’s Day on the Hill.

Last week, AACTE members, chapter leaders, and partners convened for the Association’s annual Washington Week events in Arlington, Virginia, and on Capitol Hill. United under the theme “Your Voice Matters,” participants joined in one or more of the three signature events: the State Leaders Institute, the Holmes Summer Policy Institute, and Day on the Hill.

State Leaders Institute

Monmouth University Dean John Henning (foreground) listens to a speaker during the State Leaders Institute.

Kicking off the week, the State Leaders Institute (SLI) ran June 3-4 with over 60 leaders of state chapters of AACTE as well as the Association of Teacher Educators.

During the first day, the group learned about AACTE resources and connections between federal and state advocacy, got the latest state policy trends from Danny Carlson of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and heard from recent recipients of AACTE State Chapter Support Grants about what they’ve been able to do with the funding. The day also featured a business meeting of the Advisory Council of State Representatives (ACSR), the governing body for AACTE’s chapters, and time for sharing and reflection within regions.

Day 2 opened with a keynote address from Virginia House of Representatives Delegate Mark Keam followed by a session with Stephen Parker of the National Governors Association on how to engage with governors. Much of the rest of the day offered concurrent roundtable sessions on topics such as planning a state Day at the Capitol, securing event sponsors, hiring a lobbyist, and creating effective partnerships. Presenter Cindi Chance, executive director of the Georgia chapter of AACTE, said that to make advocacy sustainable, leaders need to establish it as a continuous practice rather than one that depends on a single person. She also emphasized the value of “presenting a united front” of faculty from state and private institutions to heighten impact.

Attendee Valerie Martin Conley of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs stepped out for an interview with AACTE President/CEO Lynn M. Gangone in which they discussed her experience as a first-time attendee of SLI. Listen to their conversation in this Facebook Live broadcast.

Holmes Summer Policy Institute

Down the hall from SLI on June 4, AACTE welcomed more than 40 Holmes Program students and coordinators to the Summer Policy Institute. The day included advocacy training, a policy briefing, and three panel conversations with guest speakers from numerous national organizations and universities, who helped participants consider how their own research can intersect with policy and programming for underrepresented and marginalized students.

Dallas Lee, principal of Drew-Freeman Middle School in Prince George’s County, Maryland, served on a panel discussing how to include the community voice in policy advocacy. He described how he supports his students’ success by making them feel valued. His efforts as a role model include moving into the neighborhood where his students reside, teaching responsibility, and being an active example of a leader for the community.

Watch another Facebook Live interview at this link with AACTE’s Gangone and Rowan University Holmes Scholar Eshe Price.

University of Florida Holmes Scholars enjoy a moment at AACTE’s 2018 Washington Week.
AACTE President/CEO Lynn M. Gangone speaks with Rowan University Holmes Scholar Eshe Price at the Holmes Summer Policy Institute.

Day on the Hill

Many of the SLI and Holmes institute participants stayed on for AACTE’s Day on the Hill, which united some 150 educators and students for a day of advocacy training June 5 followed by visits to congressional offices on Capitol Hill June 6.

The orientation day included an update on the latest activity in Washington and a review of related talking points prepared by AACTE staff. Next, in a new feature for 2018, registrants selected from two tracks of advocacy training–beginner and advanced–each offering a series of three sessions to sharpen participants’ skills. Attendees also heard from a panel of congressional staffers about how to engage with members of Congress and met with colleagues from their state or region to discuss what they’d learned and prepare for the next day’s Hill visits.

Finally, the event concluded with a whirlwind of meetings on Capitol Hill. After an early bus ride across the Potomac River, participants enjoyed a breakfast session in the Senate’s Kennedy Caucus Room before dispersing for the meetings they’d scheduled. By the end of the day, AACTE participants had held dozens of meetings with members of Congress and their staff.

Montclair State University faculty and students pose with U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) during AACTE’s 2018 Day on the Hill.
University of South Carolina at Aiken School of Education Call Me MISTER students and Dean Judy Beck meet with staff from the office of U.S. Senator Tim Scott during AACTE’s Day on the Hill June 6.

You can also read about Day on the Hill from the perspective of AACTE intern Samuel Santos in this article. For a personal look at attendees’ experiences throughout Washington Week, visit our Twitter feed at #AACTEWW18.

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Jerry Stephens

AACTE Intern

Mahlet B. Tesfaye

AACTE Intern