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Ann E. Larson

Dean and Professor in the College of Education and Human Development, University of Louisville

Moving Educator Preparation Forward During the Pandemic

Girl studying homework online lesson at home, Social distance on

COVID-19 has forced educators to say goodbye to their classrooms and embrace adapting their pedagogy to online formats overnight. They have learned new technology, found creative ways to engage students remotely, and most importantly, kept education moving forward. The current public health crisis has placed a well-deserved spotlight on teachers. As parents struggle to balance work, supervise virtual classrooms, and co-educate their children, a new awareness and appreciation for the influence, power, and value of great teachers has emerged.

We have all read headlines about COVID-19’s drastic impact on the education system. We have seen firsthand the pandemic’s sweeping effect on our education institutions and students. And we have all been challenged to find remote learning opportunities that ensure teacher candidates are well-prepared to enter their own classrooms—whether in-person, hybrid, or virtual. While the hurdles we face are multidimensional, overcoming them is essential. To quote Linda Darling-Hammond, “If you don’t have a strong supply of well-prepared teachers, nothing else in education can work.”

Reminder to Complete AACTE Member Survey

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On behalf of the AACTE Board of Directors, I send greetings and warm wishes for your health and safety during this critical time. As your colleague, I understand your tireless efforts to navigate through the unprecedented challenges the coronavirus has caused for your educator preparation program and university. While we may experience similar struggles, our circumstances may differ because institutions are unique in their own way along with the local communities they serve.

AACTE is currently conducting a survey to better gauge the diverse needs of its member institutions. The survey was distributed to senior leaders with responsibility for a school, college, or department of education such as deans, associate deans, vice presidents, or department chairs. If you have not yet received the AACTE invitation to participate in the survey, it may have landed in your spam folder.

I ask that you take a few minutes to complete the short survey by Friday, April 24. AACTE will use your responses to 

  • determine the support members need;
  • inform the public and policy makers about how the coronavirus is affecting educator preparation; and
  • share aggregated information with members to help you benchmark your experience against your peers.

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It is imperative that we receive your feedback so we can be better informed about how to assist you and our profession through this difficult time. Thank you in advance for your time and participation in the survey.

My prayers are with each and every one of you.

Reflections on the 2016 AACTE State Leaders Institute

What an inspirational and invigorating experience I had last week at AACTE’s State Leaders Institute (SLI)—in my 7th year participating in AACTE’s Washington Week!

SLI was held June 5-6 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia. Thirty-five states were represented by 60 attendees, many of whom were new faces adding to SLI’s rich and continuing conversations. This enrollment represented an increase from last year of 10 additional AACTE state chapters and also included 20 attendees who returned from the 2015 institute.

Over the course of 2 days, we enjoyed ample and fulfilling opportunities to engage with expert panelists, peers sharing research-based and cutting-edge practices in preparing high-quality teachers and leaders for PK-12 schools, federal updates, policy trend overviews, advocacy and coalition planning, working with policy makers and their staffers, working with the media, and individual and state chapter strategic planning work time. We also had the pleasure to interact at a special reception with not only each other but also a cohort of AACTE Holmes Scholars—graduate students from across the country who represent the brightest future in the profession.

Meeting Member Needs at SLI, Day on the Hill

A healthy organization works to articulate its mission and meet the needs of its members, and that’s just what AACTE did during this year’s Washington Week. We recently returned home from AACTE’s State Leaders Institute (SLI), where we collaborated with chapter leaders and members from various states, June 9-10, followed by advocacy activities at Day on the Hill, June 10-11.

The SLI agenda included updates on the national and regional landscapes of teacher education, accreditation, and capacity building. AACTE President/CEO Sharon P. Robinson provided her perspective about the state of the organization and introduced AACTE’s new online professional seminars related to assessment and use of data for improvement. SLI was a great opportunity for us to engage in conversations about regulations, state chapter issues, and increasing the level of engagement in order to enhance teacher preparation.

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