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Learning First Alliance Issues Joint Statement on Federal School Safety Commission

AACTE and fellow members of the Learning First Alliance issued a joint statement on December 19, 2018 that emphasizes the Federal School Safety Commission should help schools provide mental health resources to prevent violence. LFA members said the federal government should focus its next steps on resources and training more mental health specialists to ensure safety of students and school staff:

A new federal report misses a high-profile opportunity to bring leadership and resources to social-emotional and mental health needs in K-12 schools, the Learning First Alliance, a coalition of 12 major national education organizations that represents 10 million parents, teachers, administrators, school counselors, specialists, teacher educators, and school board members, stated in response to recommendations by the federal Commission on School Safety, led by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Simply talking about the need for something to be done without creating the ability for schools to have the tools to reach more students in need avoids a core responsibility.

Webinar Series on Principal Preparation Wrap Up

AACTE hosted its final webinar of this year’s series on principal preparation sponsored by The Wallace Foundation on Wednesday, December 12. As co-hosts, we discussed “Principal Preparation for the Complexity of the Work” with invited guests: Dr. Traci Gile, a principal at Lopez Elementary in Fort Collins, Colorado, Travis Hargreaves, an assistant principal at Cherry Creek Academy in Denver, Colorado, and Donald Kotnik, an assistant principal at Mountain View High School in Loveland, Colorado. Presenters discussed how Colorado State University’s (CSU) School Leadership Institute helped bridge their preparation program to practice for participants.

The Institute consists of two retreats for CSU graduates who are currently in their first few years of school leadership. Institute fellows on the panel shared how their involvement not only improved their practice as leaders, but offered a desperately needed support network for a job that is often isolating. Presenters also shared the importance of contributing to the ongoing research project associated with the Institute and communicating the challenges of the profession through focus groups. This research, and their voices in the focus groups, will not only impact current preparation programs, but also the larger professional community.

U.S. Department of Education to Help with TEACH Grant Conversions

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) announced that it will allow TEACH grant recipients who met or are meeting their TEACH grant service requirements and had their grant converted to a loan to have this conversion reconsidered.  While there are no details yet, the TEACH Grant webpage states that the Department will share its process for reconsideration by January 31, 2019. This is available only for those recipients who were meeting the requirements and had their loans converted due to noncompliance with the certification requirements.

During the course of the year, stories have arisen of TEACH grants being erroneously converted by the servicer, FedLoan. While the Department is moving into negotiated rulemaking on the TEACH grants starting in January, it is taking action in the meantime to change processes to protect recipients. In addition to reconsideration, the Department is also making a universal annual certification deadline of October 31, starting in 2019.

Beliefs About Preparing Candidates to Navigate Complexities of Professional Decision-making: A Survey

The profession of education is highly complex, with educators having to make multiple decisions in their daily work. Competing tensions and multiple, 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.

To gauge attitudes regarding teacher educators’ beliefs about the role of preparing candidates to navigate these complexities through preparation in educator ethics, current practices, and what resources might be most useful for enhancing professional ethics preparation, AACTE is collaborating with the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC), and the National Council for the Advancement of Educator Ethics (NCAEE) to conduct a brief survey.

New Webinar Helps Principals Prepare for the Complexity of the Work

Strong leadership is a necessary catalyst for student learning, yet the complexity of the work makes it sometimes hard to focus on the role of instructional leader. AACTE will host a free webinar, Supporting Novice Principals on the Job: Principal Preparation for the Complexity of the Work on Wednesday, December 12, from 3:00-4:00 p.m. EST. Please tune in to attend the webinar, part of a series on principal leadership sponsored by The Wallace Foundation.

Topics will include

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.

New Webinar Focuses on Mentoring Novice Principals in Difficult Situations

AACTE will host a free webinar on principal leadership on Wednesday, November 28, from 3:00-4:00 p.m. EST. Please tune in to attend the Supporting Novice Principals on the Job: Mentoring Support in Difficult Situations webinar, part of a series on principal leadership sponsored by The Wallace Foundation.

Topics will include

  • When to seek outside support
  • Trust building in the mentoring role
  • Questioning strategies for mentors and mentees
  • Structures for principal mentorship

Northwest Missouri State University Receives National Award for Excellence and Innovation

Photo courtesy of AASCU

Northwest Missouri State University was presented with the Christa McAuliffe Excellence in Teacher Education Award by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) at the opening session of its Annual Meeting last month in Washington, D.C. The award is named in honor of Christa McAuliffe, a teacher who was killed in the 1986 space shuttle Challenger disaster, and honors institutions for excellence and innovation.

Recipients of the award have shown evidence of top-level administrative support, alignment with its institutional mission and strategic agenda, contributions to significant institutional improvements or programming, research, and incorporated best practices.

Rich Milner Delivers Brown Lecture Centered on Disrupting Punitive Practices and Policies

AACTE member H. Richard (Rich) Milner, IV, a leading scholar of urban education and teacher education, recently delivered the 15th Annual Brown Lecture in Education Research sponsored by the American Educational Research Association. The Annual Brown Lecture in Education Research is designed to feature the important role of research in advancing understanding of equality and equity in education. Each year, a distinguished scholar notable for producing significant research related to equality in education is invited to give a public lecture in Washington, D.C.

Milner is currently the Cornelius Vanderbilt Endowed Chair of Education and professor of education in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Vanderbilt University. His lecture, “Disrupting Punitive Practices and Policies: Rac(e)ing Back to Teaching, Teacher Preparation, and Brown,” focused on research on the practices and policies that implicitly or overtly punish rather than support the development of students of color.

Colorado Gives Grants to AACTE Member Institutions to Combat Teacher Shortage

The Colorado Department of Higher Education announced this month that it has awarded nearly $2 million to 17 collaborative projects designed to recruit and retain more educators as part of the Plan Into Action grant established in partnership with the Colorado Center for Rural Education. Of the recipients, nine are AACTE member institutions, which have developed initiatives to combat teacher shortages. The other grantees include school districts, boards of cooperative educational services, and traditional and alternative educator training programs from across the state. The projects will establish teacher residency programs, leverage technology for improved professional support, and encourage more teacher candidates to specialize in high-need content areas.

“Teachers are the backbone of our education system and critical to our state’s long-term success,” CDHE executive director Dan Baer said. “These funds will strengthen the relationships among our institutions, alternative programs and the schools in their backyard, helping communities cultivate their own teacher corps and better support those already in the classroom.”

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