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.

    20 AACTE Member Institutions Receive 2019 Teacher Quality Partnership Grants

    The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) celebrates its 20 member institutions that received the 2019 Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants from the U.S. Department of Education announced last week. With grants totaling more than $20 million, the TQP is the only federal initiative dedicated to strengthening educator preparation at institutions of higher education.

    “AACTE celebrates all of the grant recipients, especially our 20 AACTE member institutions, because our members work year-round to advocate for continual funding for this critical initiative,” said Lynn M. Gangone, AACTE president and CEO. “With so much volatility on Capitol Hill, we view the consensus to support teacher preparation programs as a huge victory. TQP grants empower our members to extend and elevate their innovative and exemplary work.”

    Secretary of Education Awards University of North Florida $1.6M Grant for Innovative Teacher Prep

    Secretary of Education Awards University of North Florida $1.6M Grant for Innovative Teacher Prep

    The University of North Florida’s College of Education and Human Services was awarded a $1.6 million Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support innovative teacher preparation models that prepare prospective and new teachers to serve students in high-need schools.

     The Department of Education made 31 awards totaling $20.1 million, and UNF was the only university in Florida to receive the funding. Recipients include more than two dozen school districts, institutions of higher education, and nonprofit organizations.

     “We know a great teacher is the foundation of a great education,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “By ensuring teachers are able to continually grow and improve in ways that excite and challenge them, we can help students succeed. These grants will help foster meaningful professional development opportunities, especially in the often-lacking areas of STEM and computer science-focused training.”

    Team Wins 5-year, $1.98 Million NSF Grant to Improve Teacher Preparation


    A team of Penn State College of Education faculty led by P. Karen Murphy has won a five-year, $1.98 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to improve the preparation of undergraduate preservice elementary teachers.

    Murphy, distinguished professor of education (educational psychology), is the principal investigator (PI) on the study. She is joined by co-PIs Gwendolyn Lloyd, the Henry J. Hermanowicz Professor of Teacher Education and professor of education (mathematics education); Amy Voss Farris, assistant professor of education (science education); and Rachel Wolkenhauer, assistant professor of education (curriculum and supervision).

    With support from the NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education Program: Education and Human Resources, this project aims to serve the national interest by investigating whether teaching preservice elementary teachers how to use discussion-based pedagogy improves the quality of mathematics instruction in their classrooms. Specifically, the researchers will adapt Quality Talk (QT), a small-group, teacher-facilitated discussion approach, for use by teacher educators in STEM methods courses and classroom-based field experiences for future elementary teachers.

    New Teacher Quality Partnership Grant Recipients Announced

    Department of Education logoThe U.S. Department of Education announced its new Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP), grant recipients, funding 31 projects with $20.1 million dollars. TQP is the only federal initiative dedicated to strengthening and transforming educator preparation at institutions of higher education.  Of the 31 grantees, 20 are AACTE members.

    The grant program addresses the teacher shortage found across the nation by preparing teachers in high needs fields to teach in high need schools. Grantees focus on either the undergraduate or graduate level, extending clinical practice to a full year or creating a residency program. Graduates receive at least 2 years of induction, which research shows supports teachers in remaining in the classroom after their novice years. In fact, a majority of TQP graduates remain in the profession well after the provided induction and drive transformation throughout their schools and even the school district itself.

    For this grant competition, priority was given to those applicants who designed programs to prepare computer science teachers as well as the STEM fields overall, and to those programs taking place in a Qualified Opportunity Zone as designated by the Internal Revenue Service.

    AACTE annually advocates for TQP funding through the congressional appropriations process, and supports augmenting the capacity and reach of this grant.

    The list of awardees can be found in the Department’s press release.

    National Principals Month: Honoring Our Nation’s Principals

    October is National Principals Month —a month to honor our nation’s principals and the important work they do leading schools. Led by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), and the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA), this annual celebration recognizes our nation’s principals for their tireless dedication to their students and the schools they serve.

    To effectively lead a school, today’s principal must fulfill the role of instructional leader and create the learning conditions to support teaching and learning. To do this, principals are in classrooms, observing instruction, engaging with teachers in the nuts-and-bolts of leading learning communities, and connecting teachers with professional learning opportunities. Thus, principals are now more than ever multipliers of effective teaching and possess an enormous capacity to impact student achievement.

    Simply put: You can’t have a great school without a great principal. Whether it’s supporting their teachers, ensuring students have access to nutritious meals, or making parents and families feel engaged and welcome their child’s school, principals make it happen.

    Despite the many rewarding aspects of the principalship and its importance in improving teaching quality and boosting student outcomes,

    Education Majors School Lawmakers on the Importance of Federal Aid for Teachers

    Students and faculty from the University of South Carolina Aiken in Washington

    Students and faculty from the University of South Carolina Aiken headed to Washington to meet with legislators and learn about trends in education policy from leaders in the field, all as part of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education’s annual Washington Week.

    “The primary goal of the trip was to collaborate with the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and engage with staffs of the South Carolina representatives and senators,” said Tiffany Zorn, a USC Aiken education major.

    “This experience permitted us to expound upon particular bills that aid with teacher preparation as well as [champion] the necessity to continue funding the Teach Grant and reevaluate the data gathered within the teaching profession. Without voices to be advocates, our teachers’ stories would never be heard, and no progress would ever truly be made.”

    AACTE is considered “the leading voice on educator preparation,” according to its website, which also states that AACTE represents more than 800 postsecondary institutions with educator preparation programs, like USC Aiken.

    White Fragility: What it Looks Like in Schools

    Caucasian man covering his eyes and holding hand out

    In 2011, renowned academic, lecturer, and author Robin DiAngelo coined the term “white fragility” in an academic article, which influenced the national dialogue on race. DiAngelo will take center stage as the opening keynote speaker at the 2020 AACTE Annual Meeting on Friday, February 28 in Atlanta, GA.

    The following article originally appeared in the National Education Policy Center newsletter and is reprinted with permission.

    Public school enrollment has been majority “minority” since 2014. Yet roughly 80% of teachers are White. Although it’s not easy to get data on the racial makeup of local school boards, a 2010 survey suggests about 80% are White. State legislators, who typically call the shots on K-12 policy and funding, are also about 8 % White.

     So how are educators and policymakers dealing with this glaring gap between the demographics of the people who implement and make education policy and the students who live its results? How are they handling the even bigger chasm between the societal and educational opportunities offered to White students versus students of color?

    In many cases, they’re not.

    Avatar Lab at KSU Provides a World of Scenarios for Teachers of the Future

    Child Interacting with avatars as educators observe.

    This article and photo originally appeared in Cobb Life Magazine and are reprinted with permission.

    Teachers encounter all sorts of situations when they’re instructing students in the classroom, and the Bagwell College of Education at Kennesaw State University is taking an animated approach to preparing teacher candidates for scenarios they will experience as educators.

    Bagwell has a new laboratory where KSU students and faculty utilize mixed-reality technology to interact with avatars of children and adults, simulating a variety of situations and challenges teachers can encounter. The student avatars each have their own unique personalities, and the scenarios have low, medium and high settings requiring varying levels of problem-solving.

    “The lab’s capabilities are endless for providing purposeful practice for teacher candidates before they ever step foot in a classroom,” said Kate Zimmer, interim chair of the Department of Inclusive Education and an associate professor of special education.

    JTE Author Interview: Rethinking Student Teacher Feedback

    JTE logo

    Read the latest JTE Insider blog interview by the Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) editorial team member Lauren Snead. This blog is available to the public, and AACTE members have free access to the articles in the JTE online archives—just log in with your AACTE profile.

    This interview features insights from the article “Rethinking Student Teacher Feedback: Using a Self-Assessment Resource With Student Teachers” by Lauren Oropeza Snead and H. Jerome Freiberg. The article was published in the March/April 2019 issue of the JTE.

    Q1. What motivated you to pursue this particular research topic?

    As a doctoral student in Dr. Jerome Freiberg’s graduate class, I was challenged to self-assess my own teaching by using student feedback. This was an area of growth I had not previously explored and it completely changed the way I looked at my teaching. As I briefly discuss in the article, I had spent many years as a K-12 teacher, where I focused on what administrators thought of me. Up until this point, my teaching evaluations dictated how I taught my class. I based any areas of growth or changes on what the administrators said about my classroom. Now that I look back, I cannot believe how blind I was to all of the potential feedback perspectives in classrooms. Using Dr. Freiberg’s self-assessment resource, the Person-Centered Learning Assessment (PCLA), I realized for the first time that the power for change started with my students. Accessing student feedback gave me a fresh perspective into areas of growth. It was an empowering experience. That experience spurred on my curiosity to dive further into the PCLA. 

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