Community Opportunities: USED Bus Tour Coming Sept. 14-18

Get ready to connect with your communities this month around the U.S. Department of Education’s 2015 “Ready for Success” bus tour, making stops in 10 cities September 14-18.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and other senior officials will hold events in schools, universities, and other education settings to celebrate efforts to improve educational access and opportunity. Each “bus stop” will spotlight a different topic, ranging from college access and affordability to teacher leadership, disability resources, and technology.

Demystifying Clinical Practice in Teacher Preparation

This post also appears on the Public School Insights blog of the Learning First Alliance.

Educators from PK-12 schools and higher education share the goal of preparing preservice teachers in a way that develops candidates’ skills, contributes positively to student growth, and stimulates mutual renewal of schools and collegiate preparation programs. The conception of clinical experience as a few weeks of student teaching not only is antiquated but runs counter to our professional commitment to quality. Instead, today’s preparation programs are nurturing complex clinical partnerships with yearlong residencies or internships that both produce beginning teachers who are practice-ready and support a process that strengthens the schools’ capacity to deliver high-quality education for their students.

NCTQ Solicits School Districts to Partner on Student Teaching Agreements

In its latest effort to debase educator preparation programs, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) is reaching out to PK-12 school districts to develop an “Honors Student Teaching” program in partnership with NCTQ. The effort seeks to replace existing student teaching commitments the districts may have with their local institutions of higher education (IHEs) over the course of 2-3 years. See this document for the details of the proposal.

A recent NPR story quoted NCTQ President Kate Walsh as saying, “It’s time for school districts to be much more insistent on what the qualifications are of teachers who enter and try to get a new job with them.” The new partnership proposal demonstrates that NCTQ intends to take charge of defining those qualifications. The proposal offers districts a set of complimentary services that include developing the knowledge and skills requirements for teacher candidate selection, as well as identifying local teacher preparation programs that would best meet the needs of the district—presumably using NCTQ’s Teacher Prep Review as a guide.

Research-to-Practice Spotlight: Partnering for Principal Preparation

A new video is now available in the Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series, part of AACTE’s Innovation Exchange. Kicking off a series focused on building partnerships for clinical preparation, this first video presents an interview with Jennifer Roth, who is both a doctoral candidate in principal leadership at Colorado State University and assistant principal at nearby Fort Collins High School. This blog highlights Roth’s experiences shared in the interview, which was conducted by AACTE with support from the Wallace Foundation.

Jennifer Roth’s principal leadership journey began more than a decade ago, when she was a teacher at Fort Collins High School and wanted to step up her work developing educator interns from Colorado State University (CSU). To do so, she completed a master’s degree for principal licensure at CSU, after which she became assistant principal at Fort Collins. This move allowed her to co-instruct CSU’s school-based course for interns, have a greater impact on future educators, and jump-start her own leadership trajectory.

Free Webinar Sept. 10 on Partnering for Principal Preparation

On Thursday, September 10, AACTE will offer the first free webinar in a series focused on preparing effective principals through collaborations among higher education institutions and school districts. Please register now to join us at 1:00 p.m. Eastern!

The webinar, Principal Pipeline Initiative: Laying the Foundation, is offered with support from the Wallace Foundation as part of its multiyear effort to strengthen the development and support of principals in large urban districts. For this webinar, participating district representatives will be on tap to provide their insights and to engage in discussion with a faculty member from a higher education institution to compare their experiences and to discuss goals and results from the partnership work.

Be There in Vegas: Affordability, Convenience for AACTE’s 68th Annual Meeting

AACTE’s 2016 Annual Meeting will be held February 23-25 in Las Vegas—an affordable location where you get the best value for your travel dollar! With over 900 inbound and outbound flights per day and nonstop service from more than 130 U.S. and international cities, Las Vegas is easy on your time as well as your budget.

Few other cities are able to boast the wide array of dining options available in Las Vegas, from all-you-can-eat buffets to some of the finest restaurants in the world—with options for every culinary taste. In addition, the close proximity of Las Vegas hotels nearly eliminates the need for transportation, as attendees can walk to many destinations. When transportation is required, however, Las Vegas supplies myriad options including bus, taxi, shuttles, and the country’s first automated monorail.

PDK/Gallup Poll: U.S. Public Values Teacher Quality, Opposes High-Stakes Testing, Split on Opting Out

AACTE’s more than 800 member institutions are dedicated to high-quality preparation that ensures the effectiveness, diversity, and readiness of professional educators, supporting the priorities of the American public surveyed in the 47th annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. The recently released 2015 poll included questions on teacher quality and evaluation, standards, testing, and more, and a new online polling format captured selected demographic information, allowing for more disaggregated responses than past surveys.

The survey shows that 95% of Americans consider the quality of teachers to be very important and an integral factor for improving public schools. As in past years, an overwhelming majority of the U.S. public also is pleased with the performance of their local schools. Testing is viewed less favorably, though, including for teacher accountability purposes; 55% of Americans and 61% of public school parents oppose using student scores on standardized tests as part of teacher evaluations. Respondents also are skeptical of federal policy influences on public schools and of the Common Core State Standards.

Recording, Slides Available From Webinar on Proposed Federal Regulations, Advocacy Roles

Did you miss AACTE’s recent webinar on the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed regulations for teacher preparation programs? Don’t worry: Members can find a recording of the webinar here along with the PowerPoint slides (updated based on questions from participants!).

If you have any questions about how you can engage in advocacy around the regulations or other matters, please contact me at dkoolbeck@aacte.org.

Superintendents Share Advice for Improving Principal Pipeline

In a new series of short videos, superintendents of six large, urban school districts around the country share lessons for improving development of leaders for their districts’ schools. AACTE members working to prepare leaders for schools and districts may find the videos to be a useful resource for their candidates.

The series features the superintendents in Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC), Denver (CO), Gwinnett County (GA), Hillsborough County (FL), New York (NY), and Prince George’s County (MD), which have been participating in the Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative for several years. (AACTE is a communications partner for the initiative and, along with its members, is devoting new attention to principal preparation, beginning with a survey this fall.)

Developing Urban Teacher Leaders Together: The Mort Teacher Leader Academy

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Teacher education is entering an exciting era. Scholars and practitioners alike are calling for teachers to be educated differently (AACTE, 2010; CCSSO, 2015; NCATE, 2010), which means that the way we prepare teachers and the way we support teachers’ ongoing professional development must change. In lieu of one-size-fits-all, “sit and get” training sessions, teachers’ professional development must be ongoing, differentiated, sustained, and rooted in issues that they face on a daily basis. Such is the experience for the teachers of Mort Elementary School in Hillsborough County Public Schools (the 8th largest school district in the United States) who participate in the Mort Teacher Leader Academy (MTLA).

Member Voices: The Value and Rewards of Participating in a State AACTE Chapter

Early in my academic career as a faculty member, the Indiana Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (IACTE) was referred to as "the deans group." Its meetings were attended primarily by those holding administrative positions, which did not include me. Still, I got to work with IACTE during this time: I had been appointed by the governor to the Indiana Professional Standards Board (IPSB) for teacher education and licensure, which worked collaboratively with IACTE on developing new standards-based licensure and assessments. At a time when teacher education was truly valued in the state, our joint efforts placed Indiana as one of the front runners in best practices in teacher preparation and the use of performance-based assessments.

Interact With Holmes Scholars on Social Media

The AACTE Holmes Scholars® Program thrives because of the strong connections and networks built within its framework and through the amazing efforts of the membership. To make sure the strength of that assembly is continually being nourished, we are implementing a social media/communications plan that aims to improve engagement and participation among Holmes Scholars and the profession more broadly.

I encourage all Holmes Scholars and other interested students/faculty to join our social media interactions! Our Facebook and Twitter presence aims to meet the following objectives:

Jessica Henry Named August’s Holmes Scholar of the Month

Jessica Henry
Jessica Henry, Ohio University Holmes Scholar

Congratulations to August Holmes Scholar of the Month Jessica Henry!

Henry is a doctoral candidate at Ohio University. Her research interests are mental health and rehabilitation.

Henry’s nominator had this to say about her: “A rehabilitation counselor by trade, it is Jessica’s life goal to improve the quality of life for everyone that she comes into contact with. Jessica epitomizes strength and resilience and leads by example.”

State Legislators Weigh Teacher Quality Reforms, Want Input From Teacher Educators

Last week, I attended the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Legislative Summit along with over 5,000 state legislators and their staff. Teacher quality was a key theme of several sessions ranging from teacher career ladders to school leader preparation.

One of the significant points I took from the conference was that state legislators are eager to hear from teacher preparation programs on current practices and innovations. Please contact your state legislators prior to the upcoming 2016 legislative session to share what is happening at programs in your state!