MSU launches Appalachian Future Educators Scholar Program

This article originally appeared in the Morehead State University news webpage and is reprinted with permission.

Dr. Antony Norman

Since its founding, Morehead State University has always prioritized training teachers and serving the Appalachian region. Both priorities have come together in the development of the Appalachian Future Educators (AFE) Scholars program.  

Created by Dr. Antony Norman, dean of the Ernst and Sara Lane Volgenau College of Education, the AFE Scholars program encourages qualified students from MSU’s 22-county service region to enter the education profession through scholarship, support, and mentorship. The program will enhance the pipeline of qualified educators and educational leaders by strengthening partnerships with school districts in identifying, recruiting and mentoring students to return and give back to their home communities as rural educational leaders. 

The University of Tampa Partners with Pasco Schools to Produce Education Leaders for the Future

University of Tampa

The University of Tampa (UT) announced a partnership last month with Pasco County Schools that will provide Pasco educators interested in taking leadership roles a path to pursue either a certification in educational leadership or a master’s degree in educational leadership.

According to the agreement, the partnership is intended to “increase the supply of effective school leaders in public schools in Florida, and to produce school leaders who are prepared to lead the state’s diverse student population in meeting high standards for academic achievement.”

NSF grant to help Kennesaw State address need for computer science teachers

Dan Lo and Brian R. Lawler

Kennesaw State University computer science professor Dan Lo and mathematics education associate professor Brian R. Lawler have been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to help meet the increasing demand for computer science teachers in grades 6-12.

The College of Computing and Software Engineering will partner with the Bagwell College of Education, as well as with the Georgia Department of Education and local school districts, to create multiple programs to train teachers in computer science. The one-year, $75,000 NSF grant has a stated goal to “create a metro Atlanta hub for computer science teacher education at KSU.”

UMD Announces A ‘Grow-Your-Own’ Teacher Pipeline

The University of Maryland, Prince George’s Community College and Prince George’s County Public Schools announced a dual enrollment program to increase the teaching workforce in the state.

The Middle College Program enables high schoolers from county schools to earn an associate of arts degree in teaching while completing their high school requirements. Dual enrollment students can then transfer seamlessly into the UMD College of Education’s undergraduate teaching program; the program also aligns with Bowie State University and Howard University’s academic requirements.

“The collaboration is a reflection of our commitment to developing innovative new pathways to prepare an excellent and diverse teacher workforce for Prince George’s County Public Schools and for the state of Maryland,” said Jennifer King Rice, dean of the College of Education. “This model of ‘growing your own’ teachers will increase diversity in the education field, develop teachers from the local community and address critical teaching shortages.”

Alabama A&M initiative announces scholarship opportunities for Black Male Teachers

Teachers working with students in classroom

This article originally appeared in the USBE Information Technology magazine and is reprinted with permission.

Although minorities make up more than half of the student population in public schools, people of color make up about 20 percent of teachers. More than 70 percent of the total number of teachers are female. With support from the Education Writers Association, Chandra Thomas Whitfield took a close look at the shortage of Black male teachers in 2019. Nationwide, Whitfield found that only 2 percent of teachers are Black men.

Eleven months after Whitfield’s report, Alabama A&M University launched its Males for Alabama Education initiative to recruit Black male students who have an interest in teaching.

In October 2020, the Males for Alabama Education (M.AL.E.) Initiative announced that the scholarship program is accepting applications again.

Coordinated by the College of Education, Humanities and Behavioral Sciences and its Department of Teacher Education and Leadership, the M.AL.E. Initiative aims to:

Preparing Novices to Teach ELA Content This School Year

The University of Michigan’s TeachingWorks is offering a series of free virtual mini-courses for English language arts teacher educators as part of its goal is to create a system for teacher preparation and establish support that will produce skillful beginning teachers who disrupt inequity.

The mini-courses will help build an understanding of critical content in ELA and develop practice-based approaches for teaching that content to novice teachers. This series will support ELA teacher educators to develop K-12 instruction and teacher education that fills immediate needs for children and contributes to building an education that dismantles injustice instead of perpetuating it.

The next course available for registration takes place on December 4, 2020:

From Pivoting to Disrupting the Status Quo

This is Part 2 of an article by Hannah Reeder and Betsy Rosenbalm of Appalachian State University in which they share how they’ve moved from pivoting to disrupting the status quo as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Being forced to think creatively about how to support student teachers and beginning teachers at Appalachian State University  has resulted in changes that we are now continuing into this semester and beyond.   Using virtual platforms such as Zoom, we have been able to establish connections that have reached more people without the logistical barriers that are typically present.  Taking away barriers such as travel, parking, and time constraints that previously seemed inevitable and unavoidable, have challenged us to consider if they are indeed necessary. What we have realized is that what started out as Plan B is now becoming Plan A.  Providing seamless support for students and teachers that disrupts the status quo has many advantages. 

Overcoming barriers and offering meaningful learning opportunities for pre-service and in-service teachers has led us to think differently about how we support our students and teachers.  During the summer of 2020, both of our offices teamed up with the Reich College of Education’s Math & Science Education Center to host a virtual education conference called IDEA-CON.  The conference offered a variety of sessions for educators of all levels, from beginning teachers to teacher educators.  From brief resource sharing sessions to 30-minute idea discussions to panels to plenary speakers, IDEA-CON had something for everyone.  And best of all, we were able to offer this conference for FREE.

Teaching Colleges Must Partner with Communities to Fight Twin Pandemics

The following article is an excerpt from Inspire Magazine and is reprinted with permission.

Woman reading book to students outdoorsAfter schools shut down in March due to COVID-19, teacher Sarah Thornburg and her team tackled remote teaching with gusto.

“We were like, ‘Let’s go.’ We found out, not only could we not teach the way that we wanted, but we shouldn’t,” the Columbus, Ohio, teacher said. “Everything had to slow down and focus not on content but on (students’) mental well-being.”

Some high-schoolers doubled work hours to pay bills. Some feared they would expose grandparents to the virus. Families lost businesses.

“That’s a burden that’s incredible for anybody to have, much less for a 15-year-old to deal with,” Thornburg said. “You can’t teach a child who’s completely freaking out about, ‘Are we going to lose our home?’ That was eye-opening.”

Strengthening Teacher Preparation: Aligning Curriculum

This article, part two of a three-part series, originally appeared on the Education First Blog and is reprinted with permission.

Tackling curriculum in a teacher preparation program is complicated work. At Jackson State, we have three pathways and 18 teaching faculty members across multiple course offerings in the junior and senior course sequence run by the college of education. But we knew that if we wanted to truly transform the experience and eventual effectiveness of our teacher candidates, overhauling the clinical experience—which I described in my previous post—wasn’t enough. And we knew we needed to come together as a team of administrators and faculty to develop a strong vision for the why and how to do it successfully. 

In 2016, we set two goals for ourselves: first, we needed to tightly align each course to the Mississippi Teacher Intern Assessment Instrument (TIAI), the instructional rubric we use to measure our candidates’ proficiency with teaching. (As I described in my previous post, US PREP was a key partner and critical friend in all of our transformation work, including the curriculum work.) This alignment work included revisiting the early field experiences embedded in coursework that precedes candidates’ formal clinical experience. Second, we revisited the sequence of courses to ensure within each pathway, faculty could build teacher candidate skills in a logical progression.  

Fast forward to today: although daunting, we did it. With US PREP’s support and the momentum from our clinical experience work, we channeled the urgency we all felt to achieve our goals. With the exception of a few legacy candidates, our teacher candidates are right now taking revamped courses. And by this time next fall, we will have fully implemented the program-wide curriculum changes.

Clinically Rich Programs in New York: Teacher Residency Pilot at the College of Staten Island

This article is part of a series on clinically rich teacher preparation in New York State, coordinated by Prepared To Teach at Bank Street College. The text is adapted from their latest report, Making Teacher Preparation Policy Work: Lessons From and For New York, and shared by the featured institution.

Teacher Residency Pilot Participants at the College of Staten Island

The College of Staten Island (CSI) enrolls many diverse first-generation college students. A number of these students support their families and themselves, working multiple jobs and limiting expenses while studying—making it impossible to pursue a traditional student teaching pathway that includes a semester of unpaid, full-time student teaching. Seeing that many students were effectively being excluded from teacher preparation, the College and its partner schools set out to create a teacher residency that paid students for their time spent in classrooms, providing an accessible path to a teaching career.

Strengthening Teacher Preparation: Transforming Clinical Practice

This article, part one of a three-part series, originally appeared on the Education First Blog and is reprinted with permission.

Nadine GilbertBack in 2015, a group of department chairs, administrative leadership, program directors and faculty at Jackson State University formed a task force to write a plan for transforming our teacher preparation program. In that plan, we identified areas of strength and areas we needed to improve. We wanted to build on the deep experience and wisdom of faculty, while taking a fresh look at how we could more strongly ground the experience of our teacher candidates in current K12 practices. At around that same time, we were fortunate to find incredible support by joining the US PREP coalition. With JSU leaders and faculty leading the way, the US PREP peer network and coaches acted as critical friends to strengthen and accelerate our work. We have achieved so much together.

Teaching and Learning During Crisis: Collaboration for the Collective Good

The text of this article is adapted from Project SOLVE’s free resource, Strategies for Virtual Education: Resources for Educators and Teacher Educators.

Project SOLVE (Strategies and Opportunities for Leading Virtual Learning) is a small inquiry research group comprised of Massachusetts-based teacher educators and PK-22 practitioners who came together in response to widespread school closures, the result of the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 that forced PK-22 teacher and teacher educators’ sudden use of technology into educational and instructional planning and decisions. The group was formed in response to widespread inequity, an urgent need for increased training for teachers, uneven resources, and lack of practical solutions to help us move forward as a field. Members brought varied expertise to the table: PK-22 experience and teacher preparation, as well as a combination of technology, general and special education expertise, and work in equity and social justice education. Harnessing the group’s collective experience, expertise, and resources helped to chart a path forward instead of waiting for direction, a pattern of treading water that we all found ourselves in and frustrated by.

Clinically Rich Programs in New York: Urban Teacher Residency at the American Museum of Natural History

Children visiting science museum

Photo Credit: Denis Finnin, AMNH

This article is part of a series on clinically rich teacher preparation in New York State, coordinated by Prepared To Teach at Bank Street College. The text is adapted from their latest report, Making Teacher Preparation Policy Work: Lessons From and For New York, and shared by the featured institution.

The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) may be most well-known for its long history of scientific research, and for its expansive galleries featuring casts of dinosaurs, or dioramas from around the world, and the 94-foot long Blue Whale suspended in the Hall of Ocean Life. However, for just as long as the museum has been engaged in educating the public about scientific phenomena through visits, the museum has been supporting teachers and teaching. Since just after the museum opened in 1880, the museum offered lecture courses for teachers, broadening offerings by the 1920s. In the late 1930s, the museum offered a preparation program for teachers interested in using out-of-school learning experiences in their classrooms. Today, the museum offers a wide range of professional development opportunities for teachers in science, as well as works in partnership with cultural institutions around the city to support science teacher development.   

Clinically Rich Programs in New York: Early Childhood Urban Education Initiative at the Bank Street Graduate School of Education

This article is part of a series on clinically rich teacher preparation in New York State, coordinated by Prepared To Teach at Bank Street College. The text is adapted from their latest report, Making Teacher Preparation Policy Work: Lessons From and For New York, and shared by the featured institution.

Teacher working with young childrenBank Street Graduate School of Education is a small, progressive institution in New York City, founded in 1916. Bank Street has a long history of pioneering innovative, inclusive education programs, dating back to the founding of Head Start.

One of Bank Street’s newest programs—the Early Childhood Urban Education Initiative—helps uncredentialed early childhood educators in under-resourced New York City neighborhoods complete their certification and earn master’s degrees while remaining employed in their existing early childhood classrooms.

The educators who enroll in the program often come from the communities in which they teach and, as they progress through the rigorous program, they are able to bring their knowledge and skills to bear on the students in their classrooms, the organizations in which they are housed, and the community overall.  By completing a master’s degree and obtaining their certification, participants in this initiative gain access to a wider set of professional opportunities.

WGU North Carolina Signs Agreement with Bladen County Schools

This article originally appeared in the Bladenonline.com and is reprinted with permission.

WGU North Carolina, an affiliate of online nonprofit Western Governors University (WGU), has signed an agreement with Bladen County Schools to help Teacher Assistants (TAs) advance their careers by earning bachelor’s degrees and teacher certifications. Bladen County Schools TAs who enroll in one of WGU North Carolina’s teacher-preparation programs will receive up to $800 in tuition credit per six-month term, after any Pell Grants have been exhausted, for up to three years.

TAs will have access to WGU career services resources and events, and WGU North Carolina staff will be available to participate in any virtual or in-person education/benefits fairs, seminars, and presentations offered by the school system.

WGU’s Teachers College is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP).

Additionally, all Bladen County Schools employees are eligible to apply for WGU Institutional Partner Scholarships valued at $2,000 ($500 per six-month term, renewable for up to four terms). Tuition is around $3,250 per six-month term for most undergraduate degree programs.

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