Author Archive

Caitlin Wilson

Director, Program Improvement and Practice, AACTE

AACTE’s President/CEO Reflects on Using Virtual Simulation in Teacher Prep During Fireside Chat

AACTE & Mursion Virtual Reality ClassroomsMursion CEO Mark Atkinson hosted AACTE’s President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone for a virtual fireside chat in culmination of a multi-part series highlighting how Mursion’s virtual simulation classroom is being used in educator preparation programs. To start the conversation, Gangone reflected on how the pandemic has shaped the need to collaborate and to think differently on the delivery of instruction in the P-20 setting. She noted, “In our strategic planning process we created a vision to revolutionize education for all learners. We had no idea how prescient that was because of the pandemic.”

Rethinking clinical practice with the use of simulation is just one way in which innovation has supported the delivery of high-quality preparation without having to be on-the-ground. This helped accelerate AACTE’s collaboration with Mursion.

In addition to addressing the challenges and innovations brought on by the shift to virtual learning, Gangone and Atkinson also discussed efforts nationally to promote an antiracist agenda in schools to ensure the fair and equitable treatment of students. Gangone mentioned the importance of AACTE’s work in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion. “We know that we all have implicit bias and that systemic racism exists,” she said. “So AACTE has been doing a lot of work in this area, from entrance exams into programs to other barriers to enter the profession.”

The discussion also focused on how simulation can support both teacher candidates and teacher preparation faculty in addressing their own inherent or implicit biases, which often carry into the classroom. “Simulation gives us an opportunity to deal with our own biases in ways that are really powerful and not bring harm,” commented Gangone. Engaging teacher education faculty in the simulation space could not only help to address biases and equity, but to better understand social and emotional learning, and effective pedagogy. There are a great number of possibilities when thinking through combining scholarship with simulation to move the field of education forward. Atkinson noted, “There is so much that we can bring to the floor, for teachers and leaders together, to really improve the way children experience school once they can get back into them again.”

Listen to the full recording of this conversation.

AACTE and Mursion are collaborating to support teacher preparation through the pandemic and beyond. Learn more details about this collaboration.

Leveraging Teacher Candidates as Assets During the Pandemic: A Win-Win for All

Supporting Inclusive SchoolsLast month, AACTE partnered with CCSSO, the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders at the American Institutes for Research, and the CEEDAR Center to discuss how teacher candidates can be leveraged as assets for PK-12 districts navigating online learning and uncertainty during the pandemic. During the webisode hosted by CCSSO, Loretta Mason-Williams from Binghamton University, Jacqueline Rodriguez from AACTE, and Christian Rodgers from AASA set the stage for how the needs of teacher candidates, schools, and families are changing in 2020. With this shift in needs comes opportunities for both schools and teacher candidates.

This webisode also featured faculty and staff from AACTE member institution, Boston University, and Boston public schools, along with Lindsey Decker, a current teacher candidate. Decker shared her experiences supporting her mentor teacher in an online environment and noted “teachers are looking for additional adults to be in the classrooms.” In the virtual environment, Decker said she works with learners in small breakout groups and “one-on-one to lessen the gap that we’re seeing from the pandemic.”

Join CCSSO’s Webisode on Mitigating Learning Loss: Leveraging Teacher Candidates as Assets During COVID-19

Teacher smiling with arms crossed in a classroomAs students and teachers continue to navigate remote and hybrid learning environments, many are feeling overwhelmed. Parents and teachers are worried about the learning loss that has already and continues to occur during the pandemic. District staff are trying to address budget and service delivery uncertainty posed by the COVID-19 crisis. All of these factors may minimize important opportunities for collaboration between educator preparation programs and school districts. However, the repeated pandemic theme of getting through this together may be the key to addressing some of these challenges. Through collaboration with P-12 teachers, teacher candidates can assist in remote and hybrid learning in several ways to include co-teaching and one-on-one student support.

To discuss these opportunities for collaboration and to share examples of how teacher candidates are supporting teachers during this crisis, CCSSO is hosting a webisode on Mitigating Learning Loss: Leveraging Teacher Candidates as Assets During COVID-19. This webisode will feature key recommendations and discussion around the joint issue brief from CEEDAR, the Center for Great Teachers and Leaders at AIR, and AACTE released this summer: Addressing Shortages of Educators in an Uncertain COVID-19 Landscape: Viewing Teacher Candidates as Assets.

Register for AACTE Webinar on Transitioning to Online Learning

How to Transition to an Online Learning Environment

At a time when the nation’s universities and colleges are moving to an online learning environment, AACTE is prepared to support the transition through webinars, resource sharing, and engagement. Next week, technology and online learning experts from the AACTE Innovation and Technology Committee are hosting a 90-minute webinar, Thursday, March 26 from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. The webinar is open to all AACTE members.

The How to Transition to an Online Learning Environment webinar will address transitioning to online instruction for 30 minutes, followed by a 60-minute Q&A session for members to ask questions of AACTE resident experts. Much like virtual office hours, AACTE members can access our Innovation and Technology Committee members with questions specific to their local context.

The webinar will be recorded and hosted on our resource page for members to access at any time.

Register today.

Complete a Survey on Visibility of National Board Certification in Teacher Prep Programs

Survey

AACTE is excited to work in partnership with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards on several initiatives that contribute to a vision of a coherent career trajectory that supports teachers from initial preparation through teacher leadership opportunities and beyond. The mission of the National Board is to advance the quality of teaching and learning through a voluntary advanced certification. By doing so, the National Board aims to align the teaching profession with other professions such as medicine. Through this collaboration, AACTE, National Board, and other teacher professional organizations seek to elevate the teaching profession and ensure each student is taught by a fully prepared and accomplished teacher.

The work of the National Board, the National Board Standards, and the certification process is founded on five core propositions that describe what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do to effectively support student learning. The five core propositions and National Board Standards are developed and revised by educators based on research and their expertise as practitioners.

AACTE Convenes First Special Education Teacher Shortage NIC

Teacher helping a disabled pupil at the elementary school

Faculty from 10 of AACTE’s member institutions convened in Washington, DC on November 22-23 for the first in-person meeting of the Networked Improvement Community (NIC) focused on reducing the shortage of the special education teachers. During the 2-day convening, nearly 40 NIC members came together to share and discuss the work happening at their institutions and their goals for recruiting more teacher candidates into their special education programs in the next 6 months.

Following the NIC model of the Carnegie Foundation’s for Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the institutions set individual targets connected to the network’s collective aim statement and driver diagram, which serves as the NIC’s working theory of action. Over the summer, faculty from each institution were invited to participate in a book club lead by AACTE staff: Learning to Improve: How America’s Schools Can Get Better at Getting Better. This book serves as a foundational text for the NIC members in understanding improvement science and how to apply it to their work at their institutions.

Join Us for AACTE’s Upcoming Webinar on High-Quality Principal Preparation

What Should High-Quality Principal Preparation Programs Look Like?The role of today’s principal is changing. Now, more than ever, school leaders need to be prepared from day one to succeed in a complex and ever-evolving school context. But what does quality principal preparation look like? How can principal preparation programs ensure that school leaders are ready to meet the demands of the job? Join us for our final webinar in the four-part series on principal preparation, a collaboration with the Wallace Foundation, to hear a panel of researchers and practitioners dig into the answers to both of these questions.

Attend the Upcoming Webinar on Leader Tracking Systems

Teacher to Principal: Educational Leadership Tracking Systems

Join AACTE for a webinar, Teacher to Principal: Educational Leadership Tracking Systems, which will take a closer look at the leader tracking systems created as part of the Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative. Nicholas Pelzer, program officer from the Wallace Foundation will provide an overview on how the leader tracking systems were developed. Leslie Anderson, managing director of Policy Studies Associates and Tricia McManus, assistant superintendent of leadership, professional development, and school transformation, Hillsborough County Public Schools, will share their perspectives and experiences on how data-driven decision making can inform the recruitment, preparation, and placement of principals.

Please register and attend this webinar on November 6 at 1:00 p.m. to consider how leader tracking systems can strengthen both teacher and leadership pipelines through partnerships with local school districts.

Join the Webinar: Partnerships for Preparing Principals

Last week, AACTE and National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) kicked off National Principals Month with the first webinar in a four-part series highlighting principal preparation, titled The Challenges and Success of Principal Recruitment and Retention. The webinar series is developed in partnership with the Wallace Foundation. The premier webinar focused on the challenges and successes of principal recruitment and retention. Three panelists shared their experiences and research related to principal preparation and retention: Ed Fuller from Pennsylvania State University, David Wick, president of NAESP, and Jamon Flowers, currently a doctoral student at William & Mary and former principal.

Collectively, the panelists stressed that context matters when it comes to principal preparation, placement, and retention. One size does not fit all when it comes to recruiting and retaining principals. In addition to leadership best practices, principal preparation programs should be helping principals to understand what it means to lead in specific settings and provide them with the necessary skills to be successful. Furthermore, the turnover rate for principals is high, especially in high-poverty schools. For insights into the potential causes contributing to this high turnover rate and for additional recommendations for principal preparation, watch the webinar recording.

Upcoming Webinar Series Highlights Principal Preparation

Webinar words on laptopResearch has shown high-quality principals play a key role in the effectiveness of public schools and are second only to teachers in their impact on student achievement. The development of a principal’s leadership skills and disposition is critical to their effectiveness as a school leader. Educational leadership programs across the country are working to improve their programs and prepare principals for the challenges school leaders face today. AACTE invites you participate in an upcoming webinar series, developed in partnership with the Wallace Foundation and focused on research that highlights the role of building the principal pipeline, university and district partnerships, educational leadership tracking systems, and standards for ensuring high-quality preparation programs. Each webinar will be followed by a corresponding Twitter chat for a chance to ask more in-depth questions of the presenters and keep the conversation going.

The first webinar in the series will kick off in October to coincide with National Principals Month. It will focus on the challenges and successes of principal recruitment and retention. Recruiting and retaining highly effective principals is an ever-growing

Register for Free Preconference: Overcoming Challenges to Developing a Quality Assurance System

As you are making plans for the 2019 Annual Meeting in Louisville, KY next month, please consider joining us for a free preconference workshop focused on Overcoming Challenges to Developing a Quality Assurance System that will take place Thursday, February 21 from 1:00-5:00pm. Given the iterative nature of continuous improvement work, it is critical to develop a quality assurance system (QAS) that is sustained beyond an external review and provides meaningful data upon which evidence-based actions can be made.

Attend Preconference Workshop: Enhance Principal Preparation through P-12 Partnerships

The challenges educational leaders face in today’s school environment are ever evolving. With concerns related to school safety, the social emotional well-being of students and staff, and the pressures related to the role of instructional leader, school leaders are expected to have a wider variety of expertise in order to be successful. Several universities, and their district partners, are tackling these challenges and taking steps to ensure their candidates are prepared to meet the real-world demands of the job.

Attend the free Enhancing Principal Preparation through P-12 Partnerships preconference session at the AACTE Annual Meeting to hear about how university based principal preparation programs have redesigned their programs to better align with the challenges facing school leaders. Presenters will highlight the important role that P-12 partnerships play in building a pipeline of school leaders that have the tools and experiences they need to be successful in their new roles.

Watch Livestream Recording: Improving Principal Preparation Programs Panel Discussion

In December, the Wallace Foundation hosted a livestreamed discussion on Improving Principal Preparation Programs as the culmination of a two-day event for members of its University Principal Preparation Initiative Professional Learning Community (UPPI PLC). This initiative focuses on redesigning university principal preparation programs at seven universities in an effort to resolve the disconnect between what was happening in the universities to prepare educational leaders and the real-world demands of the job. The panel discussion highlighted the experiences of one UPPI university, Florida Atlantic University, and their district partners.

During this engaging discussion, panelists highlighted the importance of maintaining routines of collaboration so partnerships can advance and how those partnerships played a key role in the success of realigning the experience for educational leaders moving from preparation to school leadership roles. “Relationships and having the right people on the bus makes the difference,” said Ted Toomer of Broward County Schools. Panelists also spoke about the importance of tracking systems to better learn from the data to improve programs and cited that superintendent support for the work is critical.

Join a National Conversation on University Principal Preparation Redesign

AACTE invites you to view a livestreamed panel discussion on preliminary findings from The Wallace Foundation’s University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI) at 10:30-11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, December 12, 2018. Register here.

Many district and university leaders agree that most university-based programs do not prepare principals to reflect the real-world demands of the job according to a 2016 survey. Consequently, seven universities participating in the Wallace initiative set out to redesign their programs to be more effective. A 2018 independent study by the RAND Corporation, Launching a Redesign of University Principal Preparation Programs, now suggests that the universities’ complex redesign efforts are beginning to pay off—through comprehensive, interdependent partnerships with local districts and the state.

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