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Preparing Teachers to Serve Military-Connected Students: Progress and Promise

I had the honor of attending a half-day conference at the White House last month celebrating the Operation Educate the Educators program, a joint initiative of AACTE and the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC) to better prepare school personnel to meet the needs of military-connected children.

The April 13 event marked not only the Month of the Military Child but also the 5-year anniversary of Joining Forces, a critical initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden to support military families’ health, education, and employment. Operation Educate the Educators is a key player in the education component, comprising an impressive array of programming at more than 100 AACTE member institutions and others across the country. Biden also spoke on a related panel earlier in the week at the American Educational Research Association conference.

A Site Visit: Keeping It Real with St. John’s University and P.S. 101

I recently had the opportunity to visit St. John’s University in New York City at the invitation of Dean Michael Sampson. Witnessing a high-functioning clinical partnership in action was both inspiring and reassuring, providing a concrete glimpse into the terrific work being done around the country to prepare high-quality teachers.

My visit began at P.S. 101 in Queens, a St. John’s partner school. There, I met with university-based instructor Liz Chase, Department Chair Judith McVarish, Assistant Principals Laura Fahey and Irtis Gonzalez, and Principal Monique Paniagua. The school was bustling with youngsters greeting friends and teachers exuberantly as we made our way to the principal’s office. The joy and laughter filling the hallways showed that the students were excited about being at school.

A Visitor’s View: Clinical Practice at Colorado State University

If you have been inspired by the previous Research-to-Practice Spotlight videos featuring the robust partnership between Colorado State University (CSU) and the Poudre School District (PSD) in Fort Collins, don’t miss the final mini-installment in the series, in which various teachers at Fort Collins High School share their passion for teaching. Below, Christine DeGregory reflects on what she witnessed during her visit with the partners last spring.

I’m a firm believer in the power of clinical practice—particularly clinical practice supported by a professional development school model. I had heard many wonderful things about the special partnership that Colorado State University (CSU) had nurtured with the Poudre School District (PSD), but having the opportunity to talk to partnership members and see their work in action reaffirmed to me that some common approaches to clinical practice can be successfully reimagined.

Faculty, Teacher Candidates Explore Solutions to Improve Teacher Diversity at Project LEAD Summit

Project Lead
Participants in the inaugural Project LEAD Summit of the Associated Colleges of Illinois

On September 25, AACTE staff had the privilege of taking part in the inaugural Project LEAD (Leaders in Education Advocating for Diversity) Summit in Chicago, Illinois. The summit was a daylong conference conducted by the Associated Colleges of Illinois Center for Success in High-Need Schools to engage teacher candidates and faculty in interactive discussions focused on increasing diversity in the teacher workforce.

CEEDAR, AACTE Working to Engage Educators for All Students

Last month, we were honored to participate and speak at a convening to support teacher educators in their work to prepare teachers to educate all learners, including students with disabilities. At the meeting in Indianapolis in August, the University of Florida’s Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR) Center convened educator preparation leaders from the center’s partner states to support their shared reform agenda.

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!

Literacy Conference Panel Weighs Quality Teacher Prep

Last weekend, I was privileged to represent AACTE on a panel at the conference of the International Literacy Association (ILA). Our session, titled “Cultivating Literacy Achievement Through Quality Teacher Preparation,” touched on current program-improvement efforts, revision of the ILA standards for program recognition, variations in licensure requirements across the country, and policy-related challenges.

Joining me for the discussion were William Teale of the University of Illinois at Chicago, Rita Bean of the University of Pittsburgh (PA), Bryan Joffe of the School Superintendents Association, Chris Koch of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, and others.

AACTE’s Matt Wales to Receive Meeting-Planner Award

Matthew J. Wales, CMP
Matthew J. Wales, CMP

Matthew Wales, AACTE’s senior director of meetings, events, and special projects, will be honored next month with an award from Meeting Professionals International (MPI). Wales will receive the award on behalf of the organization’s Potomac chapter (PMPI), on whose board he has served 5 years, including the past year as president.

The chapter was selected to receive the Recognizing Industry Success and Excellence Award for Community Achievement in Marketplace Excellence, which will be presented August 3 during MPI’s World Education Congress in San Francisco, California. PMPI will receive the RISE award for its Flipped Marketplace program, which in 5 years has helped double the cash sponsorship for its annual Mid-Atlantic Conference and Expo.

WPU Hosts Screening of ‘American Promise,’ Discussion on Education of Black Boys

On May 26, the College of Education at William Paterson University (NJ) brought together university, school, and community members for a very special event organized by Candace Burns, dean of the college, and Sharon Leathers, director of educational innovations and grant initiatives. I was privileged to participate along with my colleague Rodrick Lucero, AACTE’s vice president for member engagement and support.

The event centered on the award-winning documentary American Promise, which follows two African American boys through 13 years of schooling in a unique coming-of-age film. Around the country, internationally, and through the PBS network, this amazing film has provoked new conversations and raised difficult questions about what the promise of education means in America, particularly for children of color.

NEA Symposium Spotlights Strategies to Close Gaps in Educational Opportunity

Earlier this month, we were excited and honored to attend the symposium “Closing the Gaps: A Policy and Practice Conversation to Advance an Opportunity Agenda,” presented by the National Education Association at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. It was a thought-provoking event, filled with great speakers and compelling strategies for closing gaps in student achievement and opportunity.

Panelists included Linda Darling-Hammond (Stanford University), Robert Balfanz (Johns Hopkins University), Kisha Davis-Caldwell (National Board for Professional Teaching Standards), Ron Ferguson (Harvard University), and many others. These speakers discussed gap-closing strategies, policy levers to support effective practices, and directions the education field will (and should) take in the future. They also consistently emphasized the importance of community engagement.

AACTE Holmes Scholars Thrive at Dissertation Retreat, Research Symposium

Many of your institutions have championed the AACTE Holmes Scholars® Program by establishing local programs, while others have yet to realize the potential of the program to meet not only individual universities’ needs but the greater goals of the profession—such as AACTE’s strategic goal to launch and sustain systemwide initiatives to promote the diversity of the professional community and to prepare educators who can serve diverse learners. On May 15-16, this trajectory gained steam in Tallahassee, Florida, where officials from Florida A&M University (FAMU), the University of Central Florida (UCF), the National Association of Holmes Scholars Alumni (NASHA), and AACTE gathered with scholars from member institutions for the Holmes Scholars Dissertation Retreat on the FAMU campus.

AERA Panel Weighs Supervisors’ Role in Supporting PDS Educators

At last month’s conference of the American Educational Research Association, I attended a joint business meeting of two special interest groups—Professional Development School Research and Supervision and Instructional Leadership—focused on the role of supervision of instruction in professional development schools (PDSs) from preservice to retirement. Panelists included AACTE’s Linda McKee, senior director of performance measurement and assessment policy; Daisy Arredondo-Rucinski, University of Alabama; and Bernard Badiali, Pennsylvania State University.

Inspiration From National, State Teachers of the Year

2015 National Teacher of the Year Shanna Peeples
2015 National Teacher of the Year Shanna Peeples

It was my distinct honor and privilege to serve as AACTE’s representative on the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) National Teacher of the Year Selection Committee this year.

Reading through the 56 applications from every U.S. state and territory was such a joy, as every single candidate is truly using amazing talents and hard work to educate students. Programs such as CCSSO’s National Teacher of the Year program are an important reminder that in the midst of policy debates, budget cuts, and constantly increasing scrutiny, teachers are going to work every day and touching the lives of their students in unimaginable ways.

Teacher Educators Participate in ‘Teaching & Learning 2015’

Representatives from AACTE and member institutions joined thousands of other educators convening in Washington, DC, last weekend at the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards’ star-studded second annual Teaching & Learning conference.

AACTE President/CEO Sharon P. Robinson spoke at a plenary session on preparing novice teachers, joining a panel that also included Linda Darling-Hammond (Stanford University, CA) and Terry Holliday (Kentucky commissioner of education), moderated by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.

Support Arts for Learning at AACTE’s Annual Meeting

At this year’s Annual Meeting in Atlanta, AACTE is proud to partner with a local organization, Arts for Learning, to give back to the surrounding community. Look for the designated table beside the AACTE Resource Center outside the Conference Community Center.

Arts for Learning at the Woodruff Arts Center aims “to transform the lives and learning of young people through the arts.” It is an affiliate of Young Audiences, Inc., the nation’s largest source for arts-in-education services, and reaches preschool through high school students. According to its web site, the organization’s “performances, workshops, and residencies encompass a wide variety of art forms, genres, and cultural traditions in the visual, performing, literary, and media arts.” Arts for Learning serves more than 200,000 PK-12 students annually in hundreds of schools across Georgia, with targeted supports for classroom teachers to implement arts-integrated instructional strategies, particularly those focused on literacy.

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