This article and photo originally appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch and are reprinted with permission.
Calvin Sorrell was the only black male teacher Rodney Robinson had.
He taught in King William County for three dozen years and remembers Robinson as knowledgeable, caring and talented. Robinson was shy, though, lacking many teachers who looked like him.
“The potential was there; he just had to come out a little bit,” Sorrell said. “I knew he always had the ability.”
Robinson looked up to the one black male teacher he did have, who taught him how to play the trombone, baritone and tuba. He became a teacher to give students the teacher he had only once, among other reasons.
“Kids need positive role models,” Sorrell said of being a black male teacher. “It gives them someone to look up to, and he was no exception.”
It surprised him when Robinson became a teacher, but knowing Robinson now, a man driven to improve teacher diversity while getting to know his students, Sorrell was not shocked to find out last week that Robinson is the National Teacher of the Year.
A majority of the nation’s public school students are students of color, but less than 20% of teachers are teachers of color—and only 2% are Black men. While more teachers of color are entering the classroom, data reveal that educators of color are also leaving at higher rates than their peers. To show the root cause of this problem and to identify solutions, The Education Trust and Teach Plus today jointly released new research that examines the challenges teachers of color face and documents the experiences of staff in schools that deliberately work to retain faculty of color.
If You Listen, We Will Stay: Why Teachers of Color Leave and How to Disrupt Teacher Turnover comprises authentic narratives of teachers of color and successful school leaders. For this report, researchers conducted focus groups with teachers who identify as Black or Latino who talked about their experiences in the workforce and what schools, districts, and states could do to keep them in the field. Researchers also conducted case studies in schools and districts that were selected for their intentionality around retaining teachers of color.
In the focus groups, five themes emerged, highlighting the challenges that teachers of color face in the workforce and the reasons many of them fall out of teaching: (1) experiencing an antagonistic school culture; (2) feeling undervalued; (3) being deprived of agency and autonomy; (4) navigating unfavorable working conditions; and (5) bearing the high cost of being a teacher of color.
This article and photo originally appeared on the Engage TU-Towson University blog and are reprinted with permission.
The Towson Univerity (TU) Teacher Scholars Summer Institute premiered this summer (July 15–18) in an effort to recruit high school students into teaching. This was also an effort to work more closely with our Teacher Academy of Maryland (TAM) program.
One of our main goals was to assist in recruiting more underrepresented students into the field of education, which is predominantly composed of white females across the nation. Conversely, about half of K–12 students are from diverse backgrounds and/or are male. We are also facing a critical shortage of teachers in the U.S., and Maryland is facing the same issues. In fact, all 24 counties in Maryland are experiencing a shortage of teachers based on the last Maryland State Department of Education Staffing Report. In addition, enrollments at TU and across the nation have been declining in education programs. Therefore, we were piloting this program to help create a pipeline of more teachers, as well as more diversity among teachers.
A 19-year teaching veteran, Robinson employs the knowledge he has gained from his students to develop alternative programs to prevent students from entering the school-to-prison pipeline. In 2015, Robinson started teaching at Virgie Binford Education Center, a school inside the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center. He is a member of Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney’s Education Compact Team, which includes politicians, educators, business leaders, and community leaders, and is working with city leaders and local colleges to recruit underrepresented male teachers into the field of education.Be inspired at the AACTE 72nd Annual Meeting Closing Keynote Session featuring Rodney Robinson, the 2019 National Teacher of the Year, on Sunday, March 1. Robinson uses the whole child approach to education to help students who are most vulnerable. His classroom is a collaborative partnership between himself and his students and is anchored in him providing a civic centered education that promotes social-emotional growth.
Read more about Robinson and join the conversation on “Disrupting Inequities: Educating for Change” at the AACTE 2020 Annual Meeting, February 28 – March 1.
The October 30 early bird registration deadline is quickly approaching so secure your spot today! Visit aacte.org for conference details, and follow us on Twitter at #AACTE20 and Facebook.
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Last week, AACTE and National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) kicked off National Principals Month with the first webinar in a four-part series highlighting principal preparation, titled The Challenges and Success of Principal Recruitment and Retention. The webinar series is developed in partnership with the Wallace Foundation. The premier webinar focused on the challenges and successes of principal recruitment and retention. Three panelists shared their experiences and research related to principal preparation and retention: Ed Fuller from Pennsylvania State University, David Wick, president of NAESP, and Jamon Flowers, currently a doctoral student at William & Mary and former principal.
Collectively, the panelists stressed that context matters when it comes to principal preparation, placement, and retention. One size does not fit all when it comes to recruiting and retaining principals. In addition to leadership best practices, principal preparation programs should be helping principals to understand what it means to lead in specific settings and provide them with the necessary skills to be successful. Furthermore, the turnover rate for principals is high, especially in high-poverty schools. For insights into the potential causes contributing to this high turnover rate and for additional recommendations for principal preparation, watch the webinar recording.
The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) celebrates its 20 member institutions that received the 2019 Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants from the U.S. Department of Education announced last week. With grants totaling more than $20 million, the TQP is the only federal initiative dedicated to strengthening educator preparation at institutions of higher education.
“AACTE celebrates all of the grant recipients, especially our 20 AACTE member institutions, because our members work year-round to advocate for continual funding for this critical initiative,” said Lynn M. Gangone, AACTE president and CEO. “With so much volatility on Capitol Hill, we view the consensus to support teacher preparation programs as a huge victory. TQP grants empower our members to extend and elevate their innovative and exemplary work.”
The University of North Florida’s College of Education and Human Services was awarded a $1.6 million Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support innovative teacher preparation models that prepare prospective and new teachers to serve students in high-need schools.
The Department of Education made 31 awards totaling $20.1 million, and UNF was the only university in Florida to receive the funding. Recipients include more than two dozen school districts, institutions of higher education, and nonprofit organizations.
“We know a great teacher is the foundation of a great education,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “By ensuring teachers are able to continually grow and improve in ways that excite and challenge them, we can help students succeed. These grants will help foster meaningful professional development opportunities, especially in the often-lacking areas of STEM and computer science-focused training.”
A team of Penn State College of Education faculty led by P. Karen Murphy has won a five-year, $1.98 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to improve the preparation of undergraduate preservice elementary teachers.
Murphy, distinguished professor of education (educational psychology), is the principal investigator (PI) on the study. She is joined by co-PIs Gwendolyn Lloyd, the Henry J. Hermanowicz Professor of Teacher Education and professor of education (mathematics education); Amy Voss Farris, assistant professor of education (science education); and Rachel Wolkenhauer, assistant professor of education (curriculum and supervision).
With support from the NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education Program: Education and Human Resources, this project aims to serve the national interest by investigating whether teaching preservice elementary teachers how to use discussion-based pedagogy improves the quality of mathematics instruction in their classrooms. Specifically, the researchers will adapt Quality Talk (QT), a small-group, teacher-facilitated discussion approach, for use by teacher educators in STEM methods courses and classroom-based field experiences for future elementary teachers.
The U.S. Department of Education announced its new Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP), grant recipients, funding 31 projects with $20.1 million dollars. TQP is the only federal initiative dedicated to strengthening and transforming educator preparation at institutions of higher education. Of the 31 grantees, 20 are AACTE members.
The grant program addresses the teacher shortage found across the nation by preparing teachers in high needs fields to teach in high need schools. Grantees focus on either the undergraduate or graduate level, extending clinical practice to a full year or creating a residency program. Graduates receive at least 2 years of induction, which research shows supports teachers in remaining in the classroom after their novice years. In fact, a majority of TQP graduates remain in the profession well after the provided induction and drive transformation throughout their schools and even the school district itself.
For this grant competition, priority was given to those applicants who designed programs to prepare computer science teachers as well as the STEM fields overall, and to those programs taking place in a Qualified Opportunity Zone as designated by the Internal Revenue Service.
AACTE annually advocates for TQP funding through the congressional appropriations process, and supports augmenting the capacity and reach of this grant.
The list of awardees can be found in the Department’s press release.
October is National Principals Month —a month to honor our nation’s principals and the important work they do leading schools. Led by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), and the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA), this annual celebration recognizes our nation’s principals for their tireless dedication to their students and the schools they serve.
To effectively lead a school, today’s principal must fulfill the role of instructional leader and create the learning conditions to support teaching and learning. To do this, principals are in classrooms, observing instruction, engaging with teachers in the nuts-and-bolts of leading learning communities, and connecting teachers with professional learning opportunities. Thus, principals are now more than ever multipliers of effective teaching and possess an enormous capacity to impact student achievement.
Simply put: You can’t have a great school without a great principal. Whether it’s supporting their teachers, ensuring students have access to nutritious meals, or making parents and families feel engaged and welcome their child’s school, principals make it happen.
Despite the many rewarding aspects of the principalship and its importance in improving teaching quality and boosting student outcomes,