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Elizabeth Ross

Manager for State Chapters, AACTE

CEEDAR Center Releases ‘Innovation Configurations’ for Program Evaluation

The Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform Center (CEEDAR Center) has released three new program evaluation tools, called innovation configurations, in partnership with the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders at the American Institutes for Research. The innovation configurations are designed to help evaluate teacher preparation programs and professional development activities for the extent to which they incorporate evidence-based practices in a particular area:

Innovation at Saint Bonaventure University

The Innovations Inventory of AACTE’s Innovation Exchange is an online database highlighting members’ pioneering practices in educator preparation that have shown a positive impact on issues of student learning, preparation program advancement, or educator workforce needs. This blog post is one in a series highlighting entries from the inventory. To request inclusion of your institution’s innovations, contact Zach VanHouten at zvanhouten@aacte.org.

The College of Education at Saint Bonaventure University (NY) has embraced the professional development school model in its initial teacher certification programs as a method for providing rich clinical experiences for teacher candidates. Under this model, candidates receive extensive supervised training in an apprentice style of learning, spending 2 full days per week for 2 semesters in the classroom acquiring the necessary skills to become full-time teachers. Candidates gain in-depth knowledge of classroom structure, management, and technique while learning alongside their cooperating teacher and their cohort of students. Prior to student teaching, each candidate spends a minimum of 300 hours in classrooms; upon completion of the program, each one has spent approximately 1,000 clock hours overall in clinical practice.

Institute Focuses Chapter Leaders on Advocacy, Communications, Leadership

During the week of June 9, more than 40 AACTE state chapter leaders convened in Washington, DC, for the 2014 State Leaders Institute (SLI).

An annual professional development event exclusively for state chapter leaders, SLI aims to strengthen participants’ leadership skills, enhance chapters’ advocacy and communication efforts, and build connections among chapter heads from across the country.

Innovation at Georgia State University: NET-Q

The Innovations Inventory of AACTE’s Innovation Exchange is an online database highlighting members’ pioneering practices in educator preparation that have shown a positive impact on issues of student learning, preparation program advancement, or educator workforce needs. This blog post is one in a series highlighting entries from the inventory. To request inclusion of your institution’s innovations, contact Zachary VanHouten at zvanhouten@aacte.org.

Georgia State University (GSU) is the largest producer of minority educators in the state of Georgia and graduates approximately 500 teachers annually. GSU’s Network for Enhancing Teacher Quality (NET-Q) program aims to increase teacher quality in urban and rural areas in Georgia. The program includes both pre- and postbaccalaureate initiatives for educators serving high-need school districts in these settings.

NET-Q boasts a partnership with at least 15 rural PK-12 schools, local businesses, two historically Black colleges, and the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future.

8 State Chapters Win AACTE Grants

AACTE has awarded funding to state chapters in California, Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Wisconsin in the 2014 State Chapter Support Grant competition.

The grant program, now in its 4th year, directs $50,000 of member dues toward strengthening the capacity of state chapters to operate as an organization and to advocate on behalf of the interests of teacher preparation in the state, as well as toward bolstering the relationship between the state chapters and AACTE. This year, chapter leaders were invited to apply for funds for support of the following priority areas: Policy and Advocacy, Professional Issues, and Chapter Development and Capacity.

CEEDAR Center Offers Intensive Technical Assistance to SEAs, EPPs

The Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR) Center, a national center funded by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs, seeks state partners—including state education agencies (SEAs) and educator preparation programs (EPPs)—to work collaboratively on teacher and leader effectiveness across the career continuum to help students with disabilities achieve college and career readiness in inclusive settings.

States may apply to the CEEDAR Center for intensive technical assistance for up to 4 years. Grantees will create strategic partnerships among SEAs and EPPs to support educator preparation faculty and administrators, researchers, state policy makers, and school-based professionals in building and sustaining an aligned, coherent, and systemic approach to personnel preparation. An online application must be submitted by August 1 by the state’s chief school officer or designee, in collaboration with the partnering SEA and EPPs.

Lock Haven University Hosts Pennsylvania Core Summit

Last week, I participated in a summit at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania on implementing and preparing for the Pennsylvania Core Standards. In attendance were the institution’s president and vice provost along with faculty, deans, and other administrators from throughout the university. Administrators and teachers from nearby PK-12 school districts as well as representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Education also joined us.

Following my keynote presentation discussing the fundamental instructional shifts of the Pennsylvania Core, all vested stakeholder groups took part in a conversations addressing the impact of the standards on their programs and the supplemental changes necessary to enact to support implementation. Among the suggested changes were strengthening ties with the PK-12 districts to provide necessary clinical experiences for candidates and deepening core content knowledge of both in-service and preservice teachers. One great idea was for the university to host academies throughout the summer to provide training for PK-12 teachers and administrators.

University of Florida Launches CEEDAR Center for Teaching Students With Disabilities

The College of Education at the University of Florida last week announced the launch of a new center on “Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform”—also known as the CEEDAR Center—focused on supporting states in developing teachers to prepare students with disabilities for college and careers. CEEDAR is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs, receiving $15 million over 3 years with the possibility of receiving additional funds for an additional 2 years.

Common Core Field Tests Under Way; Resources Available for Teacher Candidates

Starting last week, approximately 4 million students across 36 states and the District of Columbia began taking field tests for the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) assessments developed by the PARCC and Smarter Balanced consortia. The field tests are scheduled to run March 24 through June 6.

A few states are piloting the tests on a broader scale. Nearly all students in California, Connecticut, Idaho, Montana, and South Dakota will participate in the field tests.

Webinar Series to Offer Resources, Tools on Common Core

AACTE has partnered with Achieve Inc. to provide a series of webinars on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) this spring for teacher preparation programs.

In the summer and fall of 2013, AACTE surveyed its members about the activities programs have undertaken relative to CCSS and what resources AACTE might provide to support members’ understanding and capacity to address the standards. A majority of respondents cited access to CCSS-aligned lesson plans and rubrics as the number-one resource they needed.

RFP Announcement: AACTE State Chapter Support Grant Program

AACTE is pleased to offer the State Chapter Support Grant Program for a 4th year, directing member dues toward strengthening the relationship between the state chapters and AACTE and supporting the development of state chapters through their initiatives. Since the creation of the program, AACTE has dispensed $150,000 in grants to 26 states to support chapters’ advocacy, professional development, and capacity-building efforts.

Proposals Sought for Conference on Postsecondary Ed for Students With Disabilities

A call for proposals is now available for the 2014 State of the Art Conference on Postsecondary Education and Individuals With Intellectual Disabilities. The conference, to be held in Virginia in November, is cosponsored by the Helen A. Kellar Institute for Human disabilities at George Mason University (VA) and the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education at Syracuse University (NY).

Forming a System of Clinical Preparation: Lessons from CAEP State Alliance Meeting

Earlier this month, I participated in a workshop of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation’s State Alliance for Clinical Preparation and Partnerships in Louisville, Kentucky. The 11 states in the alliance (Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Oregon) have formed a network to improve the systemic infrastructure supporting high-quality clinical experiences for teacher candidates. Mark LaCelle-Peterson, senior vice president for Engagement, Research, and Development at CAEP, framed the discussions over the 3 days with the following quote: “We have a system of education, but we do not have a system of clinical preparation.”

Major Forum Preview: Preparing Teacher Candidates for the Math Common Core

A major forum at AACTE’s 2014 Annual Meeting will examine current efforts to redesign secondary mathematics teacher preparation programs so that they correspond to the pedagogical shifts demanded by the Common Core State Standards.

As states and districts across the country are transitioning to the Common Core, understanding the distinct pedagogical and content-specific shifts is a critical element to implementation and teaching practices—which holds significant implications for educator preparation programs. The Common Core math standards, for example, call for significant deep focus in the early grades and eliminate the vast majority of topics covered in current state standards. The secondary grades are restructured in grade bands rather than in content-specific subjects, requiring secondary math courses to be completely redesigned.

Major Forum Preview: Clinical Preparation, From Policy to Research to Practice

AACTE’s Advisory Council of State Representatives (ACSR) will sponsor a major forum at AACTE’s 2014 Annual Meeting focused on “Clinical Preparation, From Policy to Research to Practice: Strengthening the Programs.”

Research and practice have demonstrated for decades that sustained and high-quality clinical experiences positively contribute to the effectiveness of new teachers and to the likelihood that they will stay in the classroom longer. Unfortunately, preparation providers encounter myriad constraints in developing clinical programming, particularly stemming from challenges facing their PK-12 partners. Today’s school systems are being pressured to implement new teacher evaluation systems amidst new standards, new assessments, and changes to tenure laws—all within the context of significant economic hardships. Despite these challenges, many preparation providers are exploring multiple partnerships and intensive clinical programs, such as a full-year internship or residency, with local districts to ensure that their candidates have high-quality experiences.

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