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State Affiliates Gather, Collaborate, and Strategize at SLI

2021 Washington Week - State Leaders InstituteAs the door closes on another successful State Leaders Institute (SLI), I want to thank all the attendees and participants for helping make 2021 SLI the enjoyable, informative, and successful event that it was.  Thank you to AACTE for renewing their commitment with the new State Affiliate Agreement. We look forward to many years of advocacy and collaboration.

SLI is one of the few occasions when state leaders can come together as a physical group and discuss best practices, learn about the latest developments in educator preparation, and fellowship. The demands placed on all of us as professionals and individuals over the past couple of years have made gatherings such as SLI especially meaningful.  I miss meeting as a group and look forward to seeing everyone next year in person.  Though this year’s SLI had to be virtual, judging from the energy and comments, everyone enjoyed themselves and took full advantage of the occasion.

The response on Day One to the presentations of the California, Nebraska, and Kentucky state chapters about the projects they are leading as recipients of State Affiliate Awardees, showed how important and useful these awards continue to be. The work being done will have value not only to those involved in  chapters, but to everyone interested in social justice, strategies for addressing the teacher shortage and P-12 teacher performance. I know I speak for all attendees when I say we look forward to learning the results of the projects next year. 

Attendees were also treated to a report about another project currently in the works at AACTE, this time involving the Learning Policy Institute (LPI). During the session, LPI shared the exciting news about its collaboration with AACTE state chapters to help shape local discussions on teacher licensure.  Like the State Affiliate Awards, the collaboration between LPI and AACTE is a year-long project, and as the project matures, we look forward to getting involved.

Advocacy continues to be an important strategy to achieve many of the goals of our profession and SLI attendees were treated to a panel discussion led by members from Minnesota and North Carolina on the subject. Through my years attending SLI, I have always found these discussions about state advocacy to be frank, informative, and highly useful. This year was no exception. 

SLI is also a time to gather and discuss significant developments concerning AACTE as a whole. This year, attendees were given an opportunity to discuss an important new change in the relationship between state chapters and the national office. It is times such as these, when members gather to focus collectively on the important work of the larger organization, that I feel a special connection to AACTE and its mission. Such occasions remind us that at its heart, AACTE is a community of like-minded professionals organized in collective pursuit of a noble goal. If you were not able to attend SLI, connect with your State Chapter to learn how you can get started working to support educators in your state and the nation. 

 John Blackwell is Chair of the Advisory Council of State Representatives (ACSR).

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