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Nevada Special Education Teacher Named 2021 National Teacher of the Year

AACTE congratulates 2021 National Teacher of the Year Juliana Urtubey and AACTE member Institution The University of Arizona (UArizona) for preparing her for a distinguished teaching career. Urtubey holds a bachelor of arts in bilingual elementary education and a master’s degree in special bilingual education from UArizona.

Juliana UrtubeyThe Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) today announced that Juliana Urtubey, an elementary school special education teacher, is the 2021 National Teacher of the Year.

Urtubey, an educator for 11 years, teaches at Kermit R. Booker, Sr. Innovative Elementary School in Las Vegas, where she serves as a co-teacher in pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade special education settings and as an instructional strategist developing supports to meet students’ differing academic, social-emotional, and behavioral needs.

Known as “Ms. Earth” for her efforts to beautify schools and unify the community through murals and gardens, Urtubey has helped raise funds for garden programs at two Las Vegas schools. In one program, the garden was tended to by the student “Garden Gnomies” club and offered opportunities for innovative student learning and intergenerational learning and connections to the wider community.

AACTE Celebrates Educators During National Teacher Appreciation Week

A middle school science team collaborates on their upcoming lessons.

Photo by Allison Shelley for EDUimages

On behalf of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone issued the following statement to celebrate educators during National Teacher Appreciation Week:
 
“One of the most pervasive truths in American public education is that great teachers transform lives. COVID-19 illuminated the vital role teachers play in our communities. As parents struggled to balance work, supervise virtual classrooms, and co-educate their children, a new awareness and appreciation arose for the influence, importance, and value of teachers. Educators across America have learned new technologies, created innovative ways to reach students online, and, above all, kept education moving forward. As we celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week, AACTE thanks these critical front-line workers for their adaptability, ingenuity, and dedication and recognizes the difficult circumstances they face in returning to the classroom. 

Our Democracy Depends on Teachers

Teachers sitting in a meeting

Editor’s note: This essay was submitted to AACTE days before Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York, died on April 15, 2021. It is from his last writing project and focuses on a subject he held dear — teaching and learning. This is an edited excerpt of an essay published in the Spring 2021 edition of Carnegie Reporter magazine.

On Teacher Appreciation Day and every day, teachers play a central role in shaping our society.

America has always been and will always be a work in progress. Every generation has contributed and must contribute to that ongoing progress.

Join AACTE in Thanking Teachers During National Teacher Appreciation Week 2021

Teacher Appreciation Week banner

Teacher Appreciation Week: May 3-7, 2021

Each year, the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA), in partnership with Office Depot and Office Max, celebrates educators. The theme, #ThankATeacher, invites all Americans to take time to honor the service teachers provide. Now more than ever, it is critical to recognize the difficult and sometimes at-risk work teachers face in the classroom during the health pandemic. Schools across the country face teacher shortages so this week’s celebration conveys an important message that teachers matter.This year’s #ThankATeacher activities include collecting imagery for scrapbooking to encourage students and parents to remember all the good from educators this year. The National PTA asks participants to share on social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, hashtags and resources from the toolkit available on their website. All of the resources within the toolkit are available in English and Spanish.

New Webinar on Wallace Report: The Role of Assistant Principals

Learn about the findings from a new, comprehensive study commissioned by The Wallace Foundation, The Role of Assistant Principals: Evidence and Insights for Advancing School Leadership. Based on two decades of research, the synthesis focuses on a role that is increasingly prevalent but often overlooked. The report suggests APs could become a more powerful force in advancing equity, student outcomes, and school leadership goals.

The Role of Assistant Principals: A New Synthesis Offers Evidence and Insights

Tuesday, April 13, 2021 from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET via Zoom

We invite you to register for  this important, one-hour event.

U.S. Spends More Than $25 Billion Per Year on Education Technology, New Research Finds

The U.S. federal government, states, and school districts collectively spend between $26 and $41 billion per year on education technology materials, according to a new analysis released today by a coalition of education nonprofits led by the EdTech Evidence Exchange. These estimates reflect a troubling lack of understanding about how much the country actually spends on edtech, and also suggest that even according to the lowest estimates, the country spends at least twice the $13 billion figure often previously cited by industry analysts and policymakers.

“We are spending billions of dollars on technology with almost no information about which tools actually work, where, and why,” said Bart Epstein, CEO of the EdTech Evidence Exchange and a research associate professor at the University of Virginia School of Education and Human Development. “We know that technology can have a profound impact on educational outcomes, but thousands of tools and programs used by schools are creating confusion for educators and administrators, not to mention students and parents. When poorly selected or implemented, they waste teacher time and energy and rob students of learning opportunities. Making good on the transformative potential of education technology starts with listening to, and learning from, people who are actually using it.”

The Education Ecosystem Crisis

Blackboard with word crisis crossed out and opprtunity written below.

Adobe Stock Photos

AACTE President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone and Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, authored this article that originally appeared in the District Administration and is reprinted with permission.

CEO Lynn M. Gangone and Daniel A. DomenecOur nation’s education ecosystem is complex and multifaceted. When one component of the ecosystem is impacted, it creates a ripple effect that is felt throughout the entire system. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic created a tidal wave of uncertainties, resulting in budget cuts, teacher shortages, and remote learning challenges.

An ongoing concern for school districts, teacher shortages have now become more severe. Teachers are leaving the profession at an accelerated rate, due primarily to health concerns and budget furloughs, and forcing superintendents to close schools not because of infection, but due to a lack of personnel to keep them open. The shortage also expands beyond teachers. It includes bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians, and essential support staff. Such reductions, caused by budget cuts resulting from the pandemic, are having a crippling effect upon school districts, and increased operational costs are eroding critical funds necessary to hire the staff desperately needed for in-school instruction.

AACTE Partners with National Science Foundation to Advance Science Educator Preparation

AACTE | NSF logo

The American Association of Colleges Teacher Education (AACTE) has launched a new initiative to advance the use of simulation in science educator preparation. AACTE recently received the National Science Foundation (NSF) Discovery Research PreK-12 convening grant to address the critical need for well-qualified science educators who can teach effectively in a variety of face-to-face and virtual school settings and meet the needs of diverse learners.

NCLD and Understood Develop Free Distance Learning Toolkit

Young woman sitting on couch working on laptop

At Understood and the National Center for Learning Disabilities, we have been working to understand the challenges that distance learning has presented to students who learn differently.

In response, we have developed a practical resource to help educators more effectively support students with learning differences, and in turn all learners, during distance learning. Today, we are eager to share that resource with you and the world at large in our new  “Distance learning toolkit: Key practices to support students who learn differently.”

GoReact Partners with AACTE to Expand Access to Video Assessment for Teacher Education programs

Collaboration benefits AACTE member institutions with complimentary access to GoReact’s platform through July and discounted access thereafter.

GoReact and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) today announced a joint venture to expand educator preparation programs’ access to video assessment tools. The partnership was announced during AACTE’s 73rd Annual Meeting, the premier event for teacher education.

Through the partnership, AACTE member institutions can receive complimentary access to GoReact’s video assessment platform for a limited time and an ongoing discount thereafter. New GoReact users will receive free access to the platform until July 31, 2021, while existing GoReact users will receive expanded usage rights during the same timeframe. All AACTE members will receive a minimum of 10% discounted pricing following the complimentary service period. More than 175 AACTE member institutions currently use GoReact within their educator preparation programs.

Exemplary Educators Named to “Speaking Up for Public Schools” Panel Discussion

Learning First Alliance

AACTE Board member Kimberly White-Smith, dean, LaFetra College of Education at University of La Verne, is among the featured education leaders presenting at the “Speaking Up for Public Schools” livestream discussion on Tuesday, February 23 at 2:00 p.m.

Each year Public Schools Week brings together Learning First Alliance members, educators, parents, business and community leaders, and many others across the country to show the strength—and potential—of our nation’s public schools and our students’ futures. Even now, public schools are making connections each day with their students, families and broader communities.

We will celebrate Public Schools Week 2021, Feb. 22-26, virtually. On Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 2 p.m. EST the Learning First Alliance and its members will host a discussion on what has been learned and how public schools can move forward from the Covid-19 pandemic. The event will spotlight social-emotional learning and how the educators are meeting student needs as well as future needs. The show can be viewed on LFA’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.

CoSN Releases Driving K-12 Innovation Reports

COSN logoCoSN, the national association of school district technology leaders, recently released two reports, Driving K-12 Innovation: 2021 Hurdles + Accelerators and Driving K-12 Innovation: 2021 Tech Enablers. The Driving K-12 Innovation reports capture the top nine topics (challenges, mega-trends, and tools), according to an advisory board of approximately 100 school leaders, technologists, educators, and changemakers. AACTE was proud to serve on the advisory board that supported the development of the report for the second year in a row.

Through the Driving K-12 Innovation series, CoSN continues its commitment to sharing high-quality trend reports that support the use of emerging technology in K-12 education to transform learning. In this initiative, a global advisory board of K-12 leaders, practitioners, and changemakers engages in discourse about the major themes driving, hindering, and enabling teaching and learning innovation at schools. Their work is divided into three steps: an initial survey to select the topics for discussion; discussion; and a concluding survey to capture the final thoughts from advisory board members and discern the top topics to feature in each publication. (Learn more at cosn.org/k12innovation.)

ISTE Report Guides States in Re-envisioning the Future of Learning with Technology

From Crisis Management to Sustained Change: States Leading the Future of Learning With the ISTE StandardsISTE has released its newest policy report, “From Crisis Management to Sustained Change: States Leading the Future of Learning With the ISTE Standards.”

Fueled by the rapid transition to online and blended instruction in response to COVID-19 and continued need to equitably improve student outcomes, educators, and leaders across the country have faced an unprecedented challenge to design, implement, and scale learning strategies made possible through technology. This challenge also presents a new opportunity, as systems and strategies used to address COVID-19 can also propel our schools forward towards the future of learning and better meet students’ and educators’ needs.

Districts Advancing Racial Equity (DARE) Tool

Districts Addressing Racial Equity

This article originally appeared on the Learning Policy Institute website an is reprinted with permission. The article was written by Maria E. Hyler, Desiree Carver-ThomasMarjorie Wechsler, and Larkin Willis.

Decades of reforms have proven insufficient to address persistent racial disparities in educational opportunities. In school systems across the United States, meaningful efforts to ensure access to strong educational opportunities require a bold and significant shift. Policies and practice must not only prevent discrimination; they must move beyond simple notions of equality—in which every student gets the same—to equity—in which all students get what they need to develop academically, socially, emotionally, and physically.

School leaders who have been committed to racial equity understand the historical legacy of structural racism that reaches to our present context and that results in the educational opportunity gaps that students still experience. District staff who have focused on racial equity recognize that students’ individualized experiences, opportunities, and successes in school are deeply contextualized in the social reality of institutionalized racism across the United States. They seek to educate the individuals and ameliorate the systems that perpetuate inequitable opportunities and resulting outcomes for students.

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