As the student population has diversified so has our understanding of the general education classroom, specifically who we serve in an inclusive setting. Our students with special education services are learning the majority of their grade level curriculum in general education classrooms. This paradigm shift requires effective collaboration between service providers and teachers as well as a deep understanding and application of differentiation to meet the needs of all students.
For years, the two fields of general education and special education have been siloed. Persistence and partnership is how
The key to developing the Bowling Green State University (BGSU) dual licensure program is reaching out to the local area to ensure the program is built with the local needs at the forefront. “The local data is how the university can drive change,” recalls a district leader. Faculty also believe collaboration with the district is central to their mission and their success with candidates. Making connections with the field office and the supervising teachers ensured faculty could relate what candidates were seeing in the field to what they were learning in their coursework.
University systems must also be taken into consideration, especially when working across colleges and across departments. Two questions drove the BGSU program leadership as they developed their dual licensure program: What is best for our students in this program? An what is best for this program? One significant concern was finding strong clinical placements for each teacher candidate. The success of a program with hundreds of teacher candidates rested with strong clinical partnerships.
Finally, serving all students that walk into the classroom was the priority when developing the dual licensure program at BGSU. “This wasn’t an experiment, this is the way BGSU does business,” reflected a faculty member. It was a choice to move away from single licensure that, over time, changes the makeup of the district teaching population, which is why district leaders were involved at every step in the program development.
To learn more, watch the Advice to Others video highlighting BGSU’s Models of Inclusive Clinical Teacher Preparation, part of AACTE’s Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series.
A number of students in Portland State University’s (PSU) Secondary Dual Education Program (SPED) recently reflected on advice they were given before entering the graduate program. “I always want more education than less,” one teacher candidate was advised by a mentor in the field of medicine. The candidate now looks back on her experience in the program with appreciation. “I was ready. I had the resources. I had been in the classroom for two years; it felt natural. I didn’t have the same level of trepidation as some of my first year friends.”
The students who complete the PSU program graduate with a dual endorsement in a secondary education content area and special education. Another candidate reflected on the importance of serving every student in the classroom. His decision to pursue a two-year graduate program in secondary English and special education was an obvious one; it ensured he would be prepared to meet the needs of all students with a range of abilities.
The benefit of being profession-ready is not only valued by the teacher candidates. High school students also note the tremendous advantage they have when a teacher who understands the unique needs of students with IEPs is leading the classroom. In particular, college access traditionally has been stymied for students with significant disabilities. However, one high school student reflected that she has a mentor in her teacher, someone who has guided her toward college-ready curriculum. Learning from their students is another area of mutual benefit expressed by the candidates. The necessity to meet the needs of each student in the classroom is universally acknowledged by candidates, students, and administrators.
To learn more, view the What’s in it for me? video highlighting PSU’s Secondary Dual Education program, part of AACTE’s Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series.
I recently represented AACTE at the Next Educator Workforce: Asking the right questions conference, joining educators from across the country at the Arizona State University (ASU) Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College (MLFTC).
The ASU conference organizers asked the question: Why convene around the idea of the next education Workforce? The response included the following:
- Fewer people are entering the profession.
- More educators are leaving the profession early.
- Educators need more of the sustaining rewards of adult collaboration and efficacy.
Our challenge, according to ASU, is to build broad-based, multilateral partnerships that include colleges of education, schools, districts, and communities committed to designing and fielding new workforce models that make education work better for both educators and learners.
AACTE received nearly 50 applications from preparation programs across the country to participate in the Reducing the Shortage of Special Education Teachers Networked Improvement Community supported by the CEEDAR Center! The AACTE Reducing the Shortage of Special Education Teachers Networked Improvement Community (NIC) aims to address the problem of the shortage and lack of diversity of fully prepared and credentialed special education teachers in public schools across the nation.
AACTE is proud to be partnering with the following member institutions in reducing the special education teacher shortage:
Cleveland State University
Eastern Michigan University
Texas State University
University of Central Florida
University of Nebraska at Omaha
University of Northern Colorado
University of Oregon
University of Wisconsin at Madison
Virginia State University
Western Kentucky University
AACTE will launch a Networked Improvement Community focused on Special Education Teacher Recruitment and Retention in May of 2019. The NIC will investigate strategies to address the persistent shortages in the field of special education.
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. Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia report special education teacher shortages. However, special education teacher shortages are not evenly distributed across the country. Generally, high poverty areas—both urban and rural—are most likely to experience the most severe teacher shortages, including those in special education. States vary in the degree of shortage they experience.
Please join us at the Holmes Community preconference at #AACTE19! All Cadets, Honors, Masters, and Scholars are highly encouraged to attend the session on February 21. Sessions at this year’s preconference emphasize building a research agenda and networking with your colleagues and mentors across the country.
Holmes students are distinctly advantaged as this preconference spans two days! The Holmes Student Council, members of the National Association of Holmes Scholars Alumni (NAHSA), and AACTE staff will facilitate the sessions, which emphasize the theme, Professional and Personal Learning, Networking, and Mentoring. Several sessions will focus on building and maintaining a rigorous research agenda. Holmes students will hear from alumni with unique pathways into education-related careers. In addition to presenting the annual Holmes Poster Session, NAHSA and AACTE are proud to support the Holmes Dissertation Funding Competition.
The Global Lens to Educator Preparation: Shared Knowledge and Advocacy for Diverse and Multicultural Perspective preconference will explore opportunities for a global focus in educator preparation that includes diverse perspectives and multicultural experiences, beginning in the university classroom and moving to infused clinical practice. Selected AACTE award recipients will share best practices, as well as innovative experiences and partnerships that prepare mindful teacher candidates who advocate for and insist on multicultural education and diverse global perspectives within the classroom
Sessions will take place 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on February 21, and will include a focus on the internationalization of teacher preparation. The first presentation and panel discussion, “Identifying and assessing unique indicators of global competency in pre- and in-service teachers and programs, and how to measure the benefits and impact of internationalization on teacher education programs,” ensures participants will walk away with tools and criteria for evaluating their programs on effectiveness on internationalization, as well as framework for positioning themselves for international engagement.
AACTE is collaborating with the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) to present the free webinar, An Intentional Focus on Mitigating Risks Across the Continuum. The webinar will take place on Thursday, January 24, from 7:00-8:00 p.m. EST. Advanced registration is required to participate.
The profession of education is highly complex, with educators having to make multiple decisions in their daily work. Competing tensions and greatly nuanced variables that are inherent in this field can add to the vulnerabilities and risks that educators must navigate, especially when it comes to professional decision making.