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BGSU Inclusive Models Benefit Early Childhood Teachers and Students

Children in an elementary classroom

The Dual Licensure component of the Inclusive Early Childhood Program at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) supports teachers by improving their teaching craft and ensuring that teachers’ instructions remain relevant to their students.

Brenda Gift, the director of student services at Educational Services Center of Lake Erie West, applauds the program for providing high quality teachers who are eager to work in integrated classrooms. She further asserts that school districts are more likely to hire BGSU teacher candidates because of their dual licensure. Not only does the dual licensure indicate that teacher candidates can support all students, but it makes them marketable and competitive for hiring.

Some of the mentor teachers in partner school districts who support BGSU teacher candidates are BGSU alumni. Despite the responsibilities of being a classroom teacher, they value mentoring BGSU teacher candidates because they know how important it is to have an effective and supportive host teacher. The early childhood students benefit from teacher candidates because it provides a smaller teacher-to-student ratio. Teacher candidates agree that having proper training for inclusive education benefits them and the students they teach, assuring they are ready to instruct all learners once they enter the classroom.

To learn more, watch the What’s In It for Me? video highlighting BGSU’s Models of Inclusive Clinical Teacher Preparation, part of AACTE’s Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series.

Portland State Trains Teachers to Be Inclusive

Students working in a group in class
Empowering teachers to feel adequately prepared on their first day of teaching is the goal of Portland State University’s (PSU) Secondary Dual Education Program (SPED). As classrooms becomes more diverse, teachers need skills to address all students’ needs and make every student feel they are included in a positive community.

Andrew Gilford, assistant principal at Clackamas High School, believes the training and preparation his teachers receive from SPED enables them to meet the needs of all their students in the classroom. The program requires all teacher candidates to have two years of practice before entering the classroom. In particular, during the two years candidates engage in a combination of observation and student teaching. Michael Bowersox agrees that the two-year program allowed him to combine his coursework at PSU with classroom practice so that he is ready to be an effective teacher on the very first day as a teacher of record. Teacher candidates are matched with master teachers, learn to plan together, and develop the teaching skills to positively affect student achievement for all.

The highlight of PSU’s Dual Degree program is the training it provides its teacher candidates to be inclusive educators. “A characteristic of a successful classroom is the ability for everyone to feel included and have the opportunity to be included,” says Joseph Cornett, a graduate of PSU and a social studies teacher at David Douglas High School. He explains that the program taught him how to set up his students for success, work collaboratively with teachers, and navigate the school system and curriculum.

To learn more, view the video highlighting PSU’s Secondary Dual Education program, part of AACTE’s Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series.

BGSU Inclusive Early Childhood Education Graduates are Innovative Classroom Teachers

Techers working with students in classroom setting
The Early Childhood Inclusive Education Program at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) prepares teachers to educate the youngest of school-age children with a solid foundation for learning. “This program is an example of innovation as it relates to making sure our students at the earliest stage have opportunities to develop and be successful in their lives,” says Rodney Rogers, president of Bowling Green State University. As a public university, BGSU sees itself as serving the public good and views the College of Education & Human Development as a place where all teacher candidates are prepared to meet the needs of their students. Teachers who graduate from the program are ready to enter the classrooms with the skills to accommodate all students.

Preparing Secondary Educators for an Inclusive Classroom

Portland State University’s Graduate School of Education offers a unique, two-year, full-time master’s degree in secondary dual education. In 2014, the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and the Department of Special Education joined together to meet the need of the surrounding communities to increase the number of teachers who are skilled in effective practices for a variety of students. Graduates of the program are equipped to implement inclusive and equitable practices.

“The secondary dual education program in the Graduate School of Education really represents, I think, innovation, collaboration, and equity and inclusion at its highest levels,” says Marvin Lynn, dean of the Graduate School of Education at Portland State University. This particular program was born out of need to ensure all teachers are meeting the needs of all students in the classroom. The emphasis on diversity and equity is part of the Graduate School of Education’s strategic mission as an access university.

Increasing Effective and Dynamic Inclusive Early Childhood Education Teachers


Bowling Green State University’s innovated Inclusive Early Childhood Education program seeks to address the need for teacher candidates to be well prepared to enter the classroom. BGSU recognized the importance of shifting their program to assist their teacher candidates in garnering the necessary teaching practices for a changing classroom environment. “We certainly have a wide array of learners with very diverse needs and one the things that this program helps us do is to ensure that we are graduating teachers that are ready to meet the needs of all those learners,” says Dawn Shinew, dean of the College of Education and Human Development at Bowling Green State University.

Every year, BGSU places over 900 teachers through 88 different partnerships with school districts throughout Ohio, which include both urban and rural districts and social service agencies. Teachers are expected to continue taking coursework during their clinical placements to ensure there is a connection among their coursework and their teacher training in the field. More importantly, BGSU believes teacher candidates should be exposed to the fieldwork earlier than what more traditional programs prescribe. Whereas other, more traditional programs place teacher candidates as student-teachers in their senior year of undergraduate studies, BGSU starts placing juniors in clinical settings with the hope to increase their exposure to their career and receive additional training in a variety of education settings, including special education and inclusive classrooms.  

New AACTE Research-to-Practice Video Series on Special Education Now Available

AACTE is excited to share the latest videos of its Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series on Special Education this spring. The video interviews feature faculty, students, and school district leaders who work with Portland State University (Portland, OR) and Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, OH) to implement extensive clinical preparation for teacher candidates pursuing careers in general and special education. The link to view the video series is now available!

In my recent blog post, I shared a brief introduction to the new Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series. The videos highlight exemplary practices of the two teacher preparation programs for ensuring their candidates are ready to work with all students, including students with disabilities.  Though different in many programmatic elements to address their local contexts, each university designed their programs to equip all teachers with the skills necessary to instruct the diverse needs of their student population.

The Master’s Program in Secondary Dual Education at Portland State University features dual certification in both general and special education at the secondary level. Entrants to the program come with an undergraduate degree in a content area and engage in two years of extensive and increasing involvement in clinical settings in secondary schools. Principals consider the program transformative in terms of the skills graduates bring to their classrooms.

Principal Pipelines Retain Newly Placed Principals and Increase Student Achievement


Research indicates that effective school leadership is associated with better outcomes for students and schools. A high-quality school leader affects their teachers and students for many years. School districts are also instrumental in affecting teacher and student outcomes by playing a pivotal role in supporting their school leaders.

The Wallace Foundation partnered with six large and urban school districts across the nation to study the effects of Principal Pipelines from 2011 to 2016. The purpose was to examine whether a comprehensive principal pipeline would be more effective than business-as-usual approaches to the preparation and management of school leaders. The term, principal pipeline, encompasses the following components: 1) leader standards that guide all pipeline activities, 2) preservice preparation opportunities for assistant principals and principals, 3) selective hiring and placement, and 4) on-the-job induction, evaluation, and support. School districts were also required to produce and implement systems to further develop and sustain the principal pipeline outside of the study’s original time frame.

New Research-to-Practice Spotlight Videos Feature Bowling Green and Portland State Universities


AACTE identified and documented two exemplary teacher preparation programs that ensure all of their candidates are ready to work with all students, including students with disabilities. We are pleased to feature a set of videos from each program documenting how they implement curriculum for dual certification (general education and special education) and feature extensive clinical preparation.

Bowling Green State University’s undergraduate Inclusive Early Childhood Program and Portland State University’s Secondary Dual Education Program support new and beginning teachers in teaching in inclusive classrooms. Both programs lead to certifications in general and special education. “These institutions ensure that all educators have the skills to work with students with disabilities in the 21st century,” said AACTE Consultant Jane West, “School districts scramble to hire these outstanding students, as they come with the mindset and the skillset to be effective with all students.”

Watch Livestream Presentation on Findings from Groundbreaking Study on the Principal Pipeline

AACTE invites you to view a livestreamed presentation and panel discussion about the results of a new, groundbreaking study by the RAND Corporation on the impact of principal pipelines on districts, principals and students. The livestream is on Monday, April 8 from 10:30am – 12:00 noon ET. Register now!

Research has long confirmed principals’ influence on student achievement and the role districts play in shaping school leadership. Yet, until now, there’s been no evidence that districts approaching school leadership strategically and systematically could achieve benefits districtwide.

Launched in 2001, the Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative (PPI) sought to test this hypothesis. The foundation funded six districts that implemented four interlocking components of a principal pipeline: rigorous leader standards, high-quality pre-service training, hiring procedures informed by data, and on-the-job evaluation and support.

Apply to join AACTE’s Special Education Teacher Shortage NIC


AACTE is now accepting applications from member institutions to join a new networked improvement community (NIC) focused on special education teacher recruitment and retention.

The shortage of special education teachers and the lack of diversity among all teachers have been well documented. Half of all schools and 90% of high-poverty schools struggle to find qualified special education teachers.

The aim of this NIC is to positively impact the special education teacher shortage and the lack of diversity in the special education teacher workforce in public schools. Participating institutions will identify a range of best practices related to increasing enrollment, strengthening partnerships with P-12 schools, and retaining special education teachers.

Read more about this new initiative on our website and in the Reducing the Shortage of Special Education Teachers NIC Charter.

Applications are due on April 1, 2019.  Member institutions will be selected through a structured review process and notified in late April of 2019. An introductory virtual meeting will be held in May of 2019, and the first in-person convening will be held in the fall of 2019.

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