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Nebraska Teacher Shortage ‘Summit 2.0’ Lifts Strategies, Ideas to State Steering Committee

The Nebraska Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (NACTE) is proud to be a leader in the state’s efforts to address the educator workforce challenges it faces. It was thanks to an AACTE chapter grant, that NACTE was able to host the first Nebraska State Educator Shortage Summit in October of 2021.   

The original summit’s 100 participants, representing PK-12 education, the State Board of Education, the Nebraska Department of Education, supporting education associations, Educational Service Unit, and educator preparation programs (EPPs) participated in fully interactive discussions designed to identify state priority areas. The day-long summit concluded by identifying four priority areas and establishing a state task force for each area.  In 2022, the four task forces, composed of those who attended the first summit, focused on the areas of certification, recruitment, and retention, elevating the profession and the Praxis Core required exam.  While many things were accomplished it also was apparent that there was more work to be done as a collective education community in Nebraska. 

That is how the Nebraska State Educator Shortage Summit, or Summit 2.0, came to be.  Funded in large part by a Nebraska Department of Education Shortage Pipeline Grant, this event convened a few months ago in October.  Summit 2.0 was a two-day event with an expanded program that included interactive discussions, keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and a 100% increase in registrants. That meant we had to move to a legitimate conference facility, which was fairly daunting to our planning committee as it got very real, very quickly.

Keynote and breakout speakers brought both national and local perspectives to their remarks. Recruitment and branding, Educators Rising, shortage effects on athletics and activities, Department of Education initiatives, total compensation, and employee experience were topics participants enjoyed in various formats.  The American Association of School Personnel Association’s (AASPA) document, 5 Shifts to Address the National Educator Shortage, and its promising practices served as a framework for Summit 2.0.  We were also honored to have Kelly Coash-Johnson, the AASPA Executive Director attend the summit as a keynote speaker. 

The Summit 2.0 event focused on those strategies and initiatives that have been implemented, the successes of those implementations, and the new challenges that may have emerged.  Interactive discussion deliverables provided the identification of long and short-term priorities for the state and local levels, a repository of strategies and initiatives that had so far, demonstrated success in reducing the educator workforce shortage, and new challenges that had emerged. 

It was not all work and no play, however.  Attendees got to enjoy a “puppy break” and an ice cream truck.  A networking reception to celebrate the end of day one also received high marks — reconnecting with colleagues and building relationships is the key to making true change.

The information from the Summit 2.0 event was elevated to the Nebraska State Educator Shortage Steering Committee.  The committee is using that stakeholder information to assist its direction and decision-making at the state level.  NACTE established the committee and is proud to be a co-leader of this advisory group.  The information will also be shared back to participants to be utilized within their specific groups and constituencies. 

NACTE is excited to be an active participant in Nebraska’s efforts to address the educator workforce shortage.  It has provided the education community another opportunity to collaborate at the PK-20 level and with policymakers to work toward the common goal of having every child supported by the education professionals and support personnel they deserve. 

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