NACTE Partners with Nebraska Department of Education on Guidance for Future Teachers During Pandemic

Red Thumbtack Over Nebraska State USA MapAndrew Carnegie once described teamwork as, “… the ability to work together toward a common vision and the ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives … It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” Carnegie was describing the challenges and opportunities that often arose in the business world of the early twentieth century, but the quote has a particular resonance today as the people of the world come together to defeat a global pandemic.   

Teamwork is also how Nebraskans have chosen to face the many challenges related to the Coronavirus in our state—challenges that have expanded beyond healthcare to the economy and to education. And teamwork is at the heart of our efforts to ensure that teacher preparation continues on schedule. To that end, Nebraska education officials and state educational institutions are working together to put in place the program, licensure, and other modifications necessary to keep our student teachers on track.

Nebraska has long enjoyed positive working relationships with its education partners and the closeness of that collaborative partnership has only deepened in the face of the many COVID-related challenges experienced by Nebraska education preparation programs (EPPs).  In particular, the ongoing working relationship between that Nebraska Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (NACTE) and the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) has allowed for a continuous and productive dialogue regarding the program modifications and flexibilities necessary to meet the immediate challenges of spring 2020, and that work has informed NDE guidance for EPPs for the fall of 2021.

The NACTE leadership team worked with designated NDE personnel to discuss and recommend areas of anticipated need and the specific guidance necessary. The result was NDE guidance that provides support to EPPs during the pandemic that will enable students to continue moving forward as they pursue their teacher certification. The decades-long collegiality shared between NACTE and the NDE continues even in these difficult times and Nebraska educators and students are the beneficiaries of that close relationship.

This recent message from Brad Dirksen, administrator of the NDE, is a testament to the commitment and quality of our shared partnership. 

“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic that Nebraska, and the world, is experiencing, I want to let you know that the Nebraska Department of Education is committed to providing you support and guidance related to your continued efforts in preparing future educators. I also want to assure you that the Nebraska Department of Education will continue to consider the Institutional Verification form submitted by Nebraska, state-approved educator preparation programs as evidence that an applicant has met all program requirements of the recommending institution.

We’ve faced challenges this last academic year and I’m sure we’ll need to continue to be creative and innovative to find solutions as the 2020-2021 academic year begins.  Together we can find solutions, share best practices and help ensure the quality of Nebraska’s educator workforce.”

NACTE is proud of its working partnership with NDE and we look forward to continuing to work closely with them in the future on other important issues that may arise in the fields of education and teacher preparation.