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COVID-19 Education Coalition Raises Concerns on the Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act

ISTE Education Coalition Member BadgeThe undersigned members of the COVID-19 Education Coalition offer the following statement on the Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act:

Our coalition is deeply concerned with the Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act because of its low education funding levels, its fixation on physical reopenings of school buildings, and its failure to provide direct support for professional development in online learning. The bill would provide just $70 billion in additional K-12 education stabilization funds, a figure that is far short of the $200 billion that many educational groups feel is required to meet their needs. Additionally, we are concerned that the bill would condition receipt of two-thirds of this funding to the physical reopening of school buildings. This requirement ignores recent reports showing that 95% of districts plan to offer remote instruction to some degree, with about a third planning on remote instruction exclusively. This restriction makes no sense and will only adversely impact marginalized communities, including students of color, homeless students, students in foster care, and students with disabilities.

We also must note that this bill fails to provide separate funding for a key priority: professional development for online learning. Recently released studies point to the urgent need to support educators to deliver effective and equitable learning experiences. For example, more than one-fifth of educators have not received any training as it relates to technology-based remote instruction. A separate survey shows that a majority of novice educators do not feel well-prepared to provide online learning experiences for their students, as their preparation programs had not trained them on research-based technology integration frameworks.

COVID-19 Hit Students with Disabilities, Their Families, and Their Teachers Hard: Here’s How We Can Prepare Principals to Help

Teacher with students running in hallway behind her

Inclusive leadership is better for schools, teachers, and all students. Every student deserves to attend a school led by a principal with the skills, knowledge, and training to promote equity for all students, including students with disabilities. Yet, general education teachers and school principals report being underprepared to effectively serve students with disabilities. Only 12 percent of a nationally representative sample of school principals and only 17 percent of general education teachers report feeling well prepared to serve and teach students with disabilities.

Support for Preparing Inclusive School Leaders During COVID-19

While the COVID-19 crisis has disrupted education for all students, students with disabilities face unique challenges in transitioning to remote learning and in their eventual transition back to the classroom. Like the pandemic and the systemic racism plaguing our nation, inequitable access to effective school leadership is more prevalent for underserved populations, including students with disabilities. A recently released brief from CCSSO, the CEEDAR Center, and the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders highlights key recommendations, examples, and resources to support educator preparation programs (EPPs) and Deans of Education in addressing the pressing challenges for school leaders posed by the COVID-19 crises.

How Poverty is Measured Matters for School Funding and Services

Group of children from various ethnicities

Learning Policy Institute’s (LPI) new study, Measuring Student Socioeconomic Status: Toward a Comprehensive Approach, discusses the limitations of the popular measure and examines alternatives for state policymakers who are seeking to accurately count students from low-income families.

“Changing how we measure and address student poverty is more important than ever,” said LPI Senior Researcher Peter Cookson, who authored the study. “A shift away from the [federal Free and Reduced-Price Lunch] FRPL [program] measure was already long overdue and taking place in some states. This takes on deeper urgency now as learning for a generation of students has been upheaved by the COVID-19 pandemic. Accurately measuring family incomes is necessary if policymakers are to allocate school resources that meet the educational needs of students.”

Fostering Critical Self-Reflection: Meeting the Needs of English Language Learners through Mixed Reality Simulation

Virtual Classrooms Roundtable Series

As K-12 student populations continue to diversify, it is essential for educator preparation programs to ensure teacher candidates possess the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to meet the needs of all learners. Mixed reality simulation is an effective tool to facilitate the development of culturally responsive and sustaining educators and to foster self-reflection.  Through virtual simulations, instructor and peers provide critical feedback and observation of candidates’ performance via video.

Join AACTE and Mursion for the webinar, “Fostering Critical Self-Reflection: Meeting the Needs of English Language Learners through Mixed Reality Simulation,” at 1:00 p.m. ET, Tuesday, August 18. This session will detail the process used in a STEM methods course to engage candidates in addressing the needs of English language learners and provide examples of how candidate thinking and planning changed as a result. The presenters include:

Principals Benefit When Principal Supervisors Have a Supporting Role, Studies Find

Principals’ leadership is a critical factor in schools’ success, and school leader preparation programs play a key role in facilitating that success. Specific strategies and resources can support the growth of a strong pipeline of principals who are able to lead teaching and learning in today’s schools. AACTE supports the Wallace Foundation’s principal preparation work, which includes research and initiatives such as the Principal Pipeline Initiative and the University Preparation Programs. The following is a an announcement from the Wallace Foundation’s most recent research featuring three reports that examine efforts being taken in large districts across the country to shift the principal supervisor role from a focus on administration to supporting principals as instructional leaders.

The Wallace Foundation released a trio of reports examining the benefits school districts gained from changing the principal supervisor role to focus less on administrative duties and more on supporting principals in improving instruction. Teams of researchers from Vanderbilt University, the University of Utah, Mathematica, and the Council of the Great City Schools collaborated with the foundation to design and administer surveys that show how the supervisor role may be changing in large districts nationwide. The reports build on earlier research suggesting that effective supervision is part of a comprehensive principal pipeline, with aligned parts, that can lead to benefits for student achievement.

Developing Teachers as Critical Thinkers and Learners

Since AACTE and Mursion launched the Education Roundtable series, we have had the pleasure of showcasing the work of educators, who have integrated teacher training via virtual reality (VR) simulation into their respective programs or are studying the various aspects of this modality.

In an upcoming three-part mini-series, Carrie Straub, executive director of education programs and research at Mursion, will host a team from Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) who have generously offered to share the magic behind their work. They will upack and discuss the following:

  • Recruiting and training simulation specialists
  • The development of simulations including how participants are oriented into Mursion experiences, models for simulation designs, and post simulation activities aimed at transferring skills
  • The development of four simulations developed through the Reach Every Reader grant which HGSE designed to develop teachers as critical thinkers and learners in the classroom alongside their students

Register for Principal Preparation Online Learning Session: Teaming and Engaging in Meaningful Conversations

UPPI Learning Series

AACTE invites you to join us for the next session of The Wallace Foundation’s second University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPP) Learning Series. Teaming and engaging in meaningful and difficult conversations require teams to not only be open to learning together but also to develop their leadership abilities together. This session is designed to equip teams with tools to strengthen teamwork and engage in conversations that cultivate the leadership capacity of one another.

  • Facilitator: Ellie Drago Serverson, professor of education leadership and adult learning and leadership, and director of the PhD Program in Education Leadership, Teachers College, Columbia University
  • Thursday, July 16, 2020
    • Presentation: 1:00–1:45 p.m. EST
    • UPPI member-only discussion: 1:45–2:30 p.m. EST (A separate email will be sent with registration link for this session to all UPPI member registrants.) 
    • Register for the presentation. 

PDK Releases Blueprint to Grow Your Own Program

PDK

In collaboration with national experts including AACTE, Phi Delta Kappa International (PDK) has released a Blueprint to Establishing a Place-Based Grow Your Own Program to support growth in the teaching profession. According to PDK, “Grow your own programs recruit students from their current high school population to enter educator pathway programs. Districts and states then partner with local educator preparation programs to offer enrollment incentives to students, keeping them close to home so that they will return as teachers to the classrooms where they currently learn.” 

As our nation’s schools are increasingly diverse, our teaching workforce must reflect the communities in which they serve. This step-by-step Blueprint provides the context and the guiding principles to support local leaders who seek to grow their own teaching pool from within their diverse eco-system.

Online Learning Series: Taking Educator Preparation to the Next Level

UPPI Learning Series

The Wallace Foundation’s University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI), which supports universities redesigning their principal preparation programs, has never been more important to students and communities. In addition to creating and sustaining efforts to improve equity and academic achievement for their students, school principals are navigating unprecedented changes to the way teaching and learning occurs.

AACTE invites you to join us as we continue to participate in the national conversation about principal preparation redesign through UPPI’s online learning series, “Taking Education Preparation to the Next Level.”  

The five-session series, brought to you by The Wallace Foundation’s UPPI Network, in coordination with the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA), will provide university/college principal preparation faculty within and beyond the UPPI network some important, collaborative tools and practical ideas on ways to support principal preparation and pipelines. Through the five-part series, national experts provide 45-minute, interactive sessions that address the following questions:

  • How can principals lead schools focused on equity and academic improvement now and in the future?
  • How can universities engage with partners to develop and sustain principal preparation programs to meet future challenges?

All are invited to attend the 45-minute interactive sessions facilitated by national experts.  These sessions, described below, provide ideas and tools to advance leadership preparation, and foster improved collaboration between teacher and principal preparation. 

ISTE Hosts Summer Learning Academy for Educators and Teacher Candidates

ISTE Summer Learning AcademyAs we look toward fall 2020, it is clear that PK-12 schools will continue to use some blend of online and face-to-face learning as they deal with social distancing requirements and a possible resurge of COVID-19 cases. Teaching effectively with technology is now an essential competency for all educators.

This summer provides a window of opportunity to deepen teacher candidates’ ability to effectively use technology to support learning. But that shift will not happen through checklists or tool training alone. Educators need explicit strategies and peer support. They also need professional learning experiences that will count towards their ongoing career development and continuing education credits. 

To address these issues, AACTE is proud to team up with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) to launch a Summer Learning Academy designed to prepare K-12 educators and teacher candidates for teaching in online and blended learning settings this fall.

This fun 3-week summer learning experience will provide the online teaching support educators have been asking for in a flexible format that meets their needs. Educators who successfully complete the program earn continuing education units (CEUs) and graduate-level credit.

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