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.

Local ABC News Features Reyes Quezada on Ask the Expert

As many parents have questions about how to navigate the current school year with their children at home, ABC 10News anchor Lindsey Peña offered them an opportunity to talk with Reyes Quezada, chair of the Department of Learning and Teaching from University of San Diego USD, about their concerns. Reyes fields questions about distance learning, early childhood education, and bilingual education during the segment.

His advice includes tips that families can use to replicate what’s happening in schools to support their students at home. During the interactive session, Reyes also emphasizes the different ways teachers can communicate to meet the needs of the students during remote learning, including socio-emotional learning.

Watch the full interview on ABC10News Facebook page.

Clinically Rich Programs in New York: Syracuse City School District/SUNY Oswego Teacher Residency Partnership

Teacher working with young studentsThis 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.

Syracuse, New York is home to a longstanding residency partnership between SUNY Oswego and Syracuse City School District (SCSD). The district and university first developed the residency with resources obtained through New York State’s Clinically Rich Teacher Preparation Pilot in 2012.

When planning for the residency, partners recognized a particularly promising model inside the master’s level Childhood Education program. By placing residents inside schools as cohorts, committing substantive faculty time to those same schools, and providing time inside the school day for planning, collaboration, and reflection between residents and mentor teachers teams, and between those teams and program faculty, the residency model has become more than a high-quality preparation pathway for teacher candidates—it’s a part of each school’s culture and approach to strengthened teaching and learning inside its classrooms. “We’ve seen the residency model evolve over time as we plan, collaborate, and adjust our approaches, which allows us to be responsive to new goals and identified needs at the university or district level,” says Associate Dean Kristen Munger.

OSPI and University of Washington’s Haring Center Expand Inclusionary Practice Project to Include Preschools

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Haring Center for Inclusive Education

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Haring Center for Inclusive Education at the University of Washington announced that they are expanding their Inclusionary Practice Project (IPP) to include preschools across the state. This work is part of a statewide effort to help more schools to adopt a culture of inclusion.

“When we meaningfully include students with disabilities in general education settings with their peers, all students see improved academic and social outcomes,” said Glenna Gallo, assistant superintendent of special education at OSPI.

In Washington, 49.7% of students with disabilities are participating in early childhood classes separate from their peers. Further, Washington is currently one of the least inclusive states, ranking 44th in the nation.

Clinically Rich Programs in New York: Western New York Teacher Residency at Canisius College Rich

Prepared to TeachThis 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.

In the fall of 2018, Canisius College developed the Western New York Teacher Residency Program (WNYTR).  The two-year, graduate level program is designed to prepare skilled teachers who are committed to teaching in Buffalo schools, especially schools with high poverty rates and few resources.

In the planning phase of WNYTR, representatives from five partner schools, seeking a pipeline of well-prepared, diverse teachers, met regularly with College administrators and faculty to discuss the design of the program and align the curriculum to eight Canisius Resident Practices, including, for example, eliciting and interpreting student thinking; supporting students across their social, emotional, and academic needs; and designing/adapting appropriate student lessons and assessments.

After spending a year planning for this program’s launch, there was deep and mutual commitment to the goals and objectives of the program moving into the resident selection process.