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Archive for September, 2020

WGU North Carolina Signs Agreement with Bladen County Schools

This article originally appeared in the Bladenonline.com and is reprinted with permission.

WGU North Carolina, an affiliate of online nonprofit Western Governors University (WGU), has signed an agreement with Bladen County Schools to help Teacher Assistants (TAs) advance their careers by earning bachelor’s degrees and teacher certifications. Bladen County Schools TAs who enroll in one of WGU North Carolina’s teacher-preparation programs will receive up to $800 in tuition credit per six-month term, after any Pell Grants have been exhausted, for up to three years.

TAs will have access to WGU career services resources and events, and WGU North Carolina staff will be available to participate in any virtual or in-person education/benefits fairs, seminars, and presentations offered by the school system.

WGU’s Teachers College is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP).

Additionally, all Bladen County Schools employees are eligible to apply for WGU Institutional Partner Scholarships valued at $2,000 ($500 per six-month term, renewable for up to four terms). Tuition is around $3,250 per six-month term for most undergraduate degree programs.

Patton College Hosts Black Lives Matter Series

Patton College Hosts Black Lives Matter SeriesThe Patton College of Education at Ohio University has initiated a​n educational ​series with the goal of ​enhancing knowledge about racist and anti-racist behaviors among citizens of the university and global communities. The Black Live Matters Munch & Learn Series features ​educators and industry leaders from diverse backgrounds who share the same passion for improving the ​culture that threatens U.S. communities and nation.

To date, three panel discussion have taken place:

Advocacy & Allyship: Every Day, Not Just When it is Trending

This session, which challenges participants to recognize and speak up against racism, features the following speakers:

  • Brandi Baker, co-founder, Athens Parents for Racial Equality
  • Tyrone Carr, director, Alumni Diversity Initiatives/Racial Equity Coalition of Athens
  • Winsome Chunnu, director, Diversity and Inclusion
  • Sarah Garlington, assistant professor, Department of Social Work/Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)

Local ABC News Features Reyes Quezada on Ask the Expert

As many parents have questions about how to navigate the current school year with their children at home, ABC 10News anchor Lindsey Peña offered them an opportunity to talk with Reyes Quezada, chair of the Department of Learning and Teaching from University of San Diego USD, about their concerns. Reyes fields questions about distance learning, early childhood education, and bilingual education during the segment.

His advice includes tips that families can use to replicate what’s happening in schools to support their students at home. During the interactive session, Reyes also emphasizes the different ways teachers can communicate to meet the needs of the students during remote learning, including socio-emotional learning.

Watch the full interview on ABC10News Facebook page.

Tides Continue to Shift on Capitol Hill as Election Approaches

Close-up of a bright classical pillar

This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide updated information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Passing of RBG Alters Landscape Moving Forward in Congress

The sudden passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg a week ago—and the subsequent immediate determination by President Trump that he would move a nominee to fill the vacancy quickly—have altered the DC landscape dramatically. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) quickly assembled the 51 votes he needs for confirmation of her replacement. Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Lindsay Graham (R-SC), has indicated that confirmation hearings for the new nominee may take place the week of October 12. All roads lead to a final floor vote in the Senate before the November 3 election, possibly on Halloween. The Democrats will be unable to block this vote. The only way it could fail is if three Republican Senators oppose the nominee. Two have indicated that they are opposed to this vote prior to the election (Sen. Collins of Maine and Sen. Murkowski of Alaska), but the elusive third appears out of reach.

Creating a Renewed Vision Around Digital Citizenship

Creating a Renewed Vision Around Digital Citizenship

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), the Education Commission of the States, and Whiteboard Advisors will host a webinar on October 7 at 1:00 p.m. ET to discuss how states and districts are continuing to embed digital citizenship and media literacy into instruction during COVID-19 and remote learning.

Creating a Renewed Vision Around Digital Citizenship
Wednesday, October 7, 1:00 p.m. ET

‘Get Real’ about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion During AACTE’s Leadership Academy Series

Diversity Teenagers Friends Friendship Team Concept

Learn from top leaders in the field (and from your peers!) during AACTE’s virtual 2020 Leadership Academy Series, occurring in three sessions on October 14, October 27 and November 10. Engage in interactive discussions and strategic planning around issues facing your institutions during these challenging and unprecedented times. 

In the first installment of the series on October 14, attendees will participate in a town hall style session, in which practices from three institutions will be shared. Entitled “It’s Time to Get Real: Deliberate Action in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion,” participants will hear how these institutions have risen to the challenge and taken strides to make lasting change in their programs and policies. Each will contextualize the work they have undertaken; share successes, challenges, and lessons learned; and provide suggestions for how leaders in the ed prep community can engage in furthering this work.

Clinically Rich Programs in New York: Syracuse City School District/SUNY Oswego Teacher Residency Partnership

Teacher working with young studentsThis article is part of a series on clinically rich teacher preparation in New York State, coordinated by Prepared To Teach at Bank Street College. The text is adapted from their latest report, Making Teacher Preparation Policy Work: Lessons From and For New York, and shared by the featured institution.

Syracuse, New York is home to a longstanding residency partnership between SUNY Oswego and Syracuse City School District (SCSD). The district and university first developed the residency with resources obtained through New York State’s Clinically Rich Teacher Preparation Pilot in 2012.

When planning for the residency, partners recognized a particularly promising model inside the master’s level Childhood Education program. By placing residents inside schools as cohorts, committing substantive faculty time to those same schools, and providing time inside the school day for planning, collaboration, and reflection between residents and mentor teachers teams, and between those teams and program faculty, the residency model has become more than a high-quality preparation pathway for teacher candidates—it’s a part of each school’s culture and approach to strengthened teaching and learning inside its classrooms. “We’ve seen the residency model evolve over time as we plan, collaborate, and adjust our approaches, which allows us to be responsive to new goals and identified needs at the university or district level,” says Associate Dean Kristen Munger.

OSPI and University of Washington’s Haring Center Expand Inclusionary Practice Project to Include Preschools

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Haring Center for Inclusive Education

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Haring Center for Inclusive Education at the University of Washington announced that they are expanding their Inclusionary Practice Project (IPP) to include preschools across the state. This work is part of a statewide effort to help more schools to adopt a culture of inclusion.

“When we meaningfully include students with disabilities in general education settings with their peers, all students see improved academic and social outcomes,” said Glenna Gallo, assistant superintendent of special education at OSPI.

In Washington, 49.7% of students with disabilities are participating in early childhood classes separate from their peers. Further, Washington is currently one of the least inclusive states, ranking 44th in the nation.

The Preparation: AACTE 2020 Inaugural Virtual Day on the Hill

As first and third time AACTE Day on the Hill participants, we eagerly participated in this inaugural virtual event to prepare for congressional visits. Although we were not physically together, Lynn M. Gangone, president and CEO, made us feel welcomed and valued members of AACTE during her opening greeting to attendees.   

Why Day on the Hill? 

Beth: As a newbie, I wondered about the lay of the land. Then Jane West, AACTE government relations consultant, shared, “The Big Picture: Current Policy & Political Landscape,” providing a framework for what we need to do and why.

Anne: After three years of attending the event, I was inspired by Jane West’s quote: “If your voice isn’t heard, someone else’s is,” which provided us meaning. 

What and how?
AACTE’s legislative priorities provided the framework. Having the specific agenda items gave us the focus we needed. 

Jacqueline Rodriguez, AACTE vice president of research, policy and advocacy, joined West in stressing the importance of building a rapport. Rodriguez supported planning with spreadsheets and materials. AACTE gave the legislative framework and a foundation. We’re ready to work!   

State and regional colleagues collaborated to plan for advocacy. Presenters joined the meetings, to support the planning process. The virtual format allowed people to “travel” amongst groups. We’re ready to plan! 

Advocating from Home: A Holmes Scholar Perspective

This article is a personal reflection of the 2020 Washington Week Day on the Hill virtual conference and congressional visits by Holmes Scholar Eleanor Su-Keene.

Eleanor Su-KeeneWhen I attended the AACTE Annual Meeting in February of this year, I did not know that would be the last time I flew on a plane or attended any large gathering for the foreseeable future. Needless to say, the past seven months have been a surreal experience. As I try to navigate life as a mother of two young children, a homeschool teacher, and a doctoral student, I find myself not only working from home, but working with home. As such, I came to the computer skeptical of an experience that lived up to that which my fellow Holmes Scholars experienced in pre-COVID years.

As educators, we know how incredibly important it is to be cognizant of both the lesson at hand and what exactly students will be doing during that lesson. In this respect, it should come as no surprise that the conference was extremely well planned and thoroughly thought out from beginning to end. The 2020 AACTE Washington Week Virtual Day on the Hill conference was incredibly well organized from the platform that was chosen to the ease of use from getting to and from the main “stage” to breakout sessions. As a Holmes Scholar, I had more intimate meetings with leading scholars and advocates in socially just educational reform, but I was surprised to find even in the main conference, it felt just as personal. The real time engagement of the speakers with the chat box function allowed for an exchange that would be impossible during an in-person format.

Ohio State University Launches Series on Anti-Racism in Educational Research

The Ohio State University’s College of Education and Human Ecology will host a webinar series this fall on anti-racism in educational research for its alumni and the general public. This series, titled “Unapologetic Educational Research: Addressing Anti-Blackness, Racism and White Supremacy,” will examine how to conduct research on race that moves beyond the standardized approach to educational research. Participants will learn strategies to ensure that their research practices are equitable to inform findings that do not perpetuate the marginalization of people of color.

The series will launch on October 1, and feature sessions on a variety of topics, including engaging “diversity” in qualitative research, interrogating whiteness, and conducting research with indigenous methodologies. The webinar will feature guest alumni: D-L Stewart of Colorado State University, Rich Milner of Vanderbilt University, and April Peters-Hawkins of the University of Houston.

 Learn more about the events and how to register.

 

Navigating an Unpredictable Pandemic

Mid adult man attending online math's lecture on laptop at homeIn early spring, when the coronavirus (COVID-19) shut the doors to classrooms, there was an optimistic belief that by fall the obstacles of the pandemic would disappear and in-class instruction would return to normal. However, as states began to lift emergency orders and school districts prepared to reopen schools, it became evident that education leaders would still be grappling with the unpredictable public health crisis this fall.

With COVID-19 spreading more rapidly in some regions of the United States, each state must assess whether they can safely open schools. Recently, some school districts that deemed it safe to reopen have reverted to remote learning when students and/or teachers have tested positive for the coronavirus. Certainly, navigating the current crisis is complicated, and it is having a profound effect on educator preparation programs (EPPs).

Due to PK-12 school closures in the spring, many teacher candidates were unable to complete their clinical and field experiences in a classroom setting—typically a prerequisite for licensure. Acknowledging that a lack of new teachers entering the field would adversely impact the current teacher shortage crisis, EPPs responded with alternative learning opportunities to ensure that teacher candidates are prepared and competent to enter their own classrooms. As a result, many states have implemented emergency policy changes to licensure, thus enabling recent graduates to teach this fall.

AACTE Issues 10 State Recommendations for Educator Preparation Programs and New Teachers During Global Crisis

Teamwork Team Collaboration Connection Togetherness Unity Concept

Today AACTE released its new report, Teaching in the Time of COVID-19: State Recommendations for Educator Preparation Programs and New Teachers. The 10 recommendations address critical state policy changes necessary to support innovative improvement in education during the global pandemic and beyond. Increased barriers to developing the educator workforce during the health crisis, coupled with the national teacher shortage, create demands for acute collaboration between educator preparation programs (EPPs), state education agencies, and PK-12 schools to reinvent systems for producing high-quality teachers to meet the growing needs of diverse learners.

AACTE reviewed and analyzed COVID-related state guidance to EPPs in pursuit of three goals: (1) to understand what states are doing to help prepare teachers for the classroom during this crisis, (2) to understand any extant trends in state guidance and (3), to identify recommendations for state leaders to enhance the support of new teachers impacted by program and policy disturbances stemming from the coronavirus crisis. From the analysis emerged recommendations that address changes to licensure and certification requirements, clinical experience pathways, and induction supports for novice teachers.

“Navigating the current crisis is complicated, to say the least, and the pandemic’s impact has a profound effect on many, including colleges of education and educator preparation programs,” said Lynn M. Gangone, Ed.D., AACTE president and CEO. “The circumstances of the pandemic open a window to think differently about our collective work. AACTE released this report at its State Leaders Institute today to provide our state chapter leaders with the latest research to inform their collaborations and conversations with state officials, PK-12 partners, and legislators.”

The report’s 10 recommendations are:

  1. In making licensure and certification waivers for teachers, states should make changes that are directly necessary because of the pandemic temporary, with a timeline for an ending that is clearly delineated, and transparent in that those who are granted certification as a result of waived requirements must be so classified, (e.g., “waiver-certification”).
  2. States should seek innovative opportunities to address ongoing challenges—such as lack of diversity in the profession and the need to modernize the processes of licensure and certification—as they consider licensure and certification revisions.
  3. Ensure candidates continue gaining experience teaching in a clinical setting with a mentor teacher, university supervisor, and continuous feedback.
  4. Encourage flexibility and collaboration between EPPs and school districts that ensure teacher candidates participate in clinical experiences online or in distance settings if PK-12 schools are not physically back in brick and mortar buildings.
  5. Encourage innovative approaches to clinical experiences including distributed learning models that employ team teaching in PK-12 settings, simulated classroom environments that allow candidates to approximate teaching, and financially supporting candidates through employment with the local school.
  6. Assess the needs of new teachers impacted by COVID-19 and identify areas for additional support.
  7. Require an induction action plan for new teachers describing the activities that must be completed or acquired for successful induction.
  8. Establish a mentorship program to equip new teachers with strategies to deliver high-quality instruction to diverse learners.
  9. Implement co-teaching for new teachers whose clinical experiences were fully or partially waived and teachers who have not passed exams for licensure and certification due to COVID-19.
  10. Partner with EPPs to provide professional development to ensure that new teachers possess the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to teach diverse students.

View the full report at AACTE’s website.

Congress Aims for the September 30 Finish Line

Sunset sky over the US Capitol building dome in Washington DC.

This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide updated information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Congress Looks to Avoid Government Shutdown after Failing to Move COVID Relief Bill

Remember your students who waited until the last minute to turn in their assignments? Well, they are all Members of Congress now! Congress will walk right up to the September 30 deadline before passing a short-term measure that will avoid a government shutdown and keep federal funding flowing.  Called a “Continuing Resolution”—or CR—the bill will be a “simple extension” to continue current levels of funding for the time being. The White House, Senate and House leadership agree that this must be passed by the deadline and a shutdown must be avoided. 

Two outstanding questions remain. The first is: What will the expiration date be for the CR?  The answer is anywhere between mid-December and March.  

The second outstanding question is what will and will not be attached to the CR? While all parties are agreeing on a “clean” CR—meaning no “poison pill” amendments—there are always what are known in Washington-speak as “anomalies.”  These are friendly changes to law, which are not supposed to be controversial. Of course, ensuring that all parties agree that something is not controversial can be a challenge. Given that passage of a COVID relief bill failed to make progress last week, there will be pressure to add COVID-related provisions to this bill.  Most anticipate that there will be no further action on a COVID relief bill until after the election in November. Stay tuned for some action on the CR next week.

Dreams Will Not Be Deferred: A Conversation with New Jersey Higher Education Chief Diversity Officers on DEI Gains

With the growing racial unrest in the country, higher education institutions are uniquely situated to promote anti-racism through education, create safe spaces for marginalized communities, engage in coalition building and ensure accountability in addressing bias, harassment and discrimination complaints. Colleges and universities across the country are responding to the current climate and the persistent issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion by appointing Chief Diversity Officers in record numbers.  In an upcoming panel session hosted by Rowan University, Chief Diversity Officers at New Jersey higher education institutions will discuss promising gains in reimagining campuses that center the voices of diverse communities and leading institutional change that results in positive outcomes for students, faculty, and staff.

The session, “Dreams Will Not Be Deferred: A Conversation with Chief Diversity Officers on the Status Of Diversity, Equity And Inclusion In New Jersey Higher Education Institutions,” will take place Friday, September 25, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. Join the conversation at GO.ROWAN.EDU/DEINJCDO.

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