AACTE Responds to COVID-19
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, higher education institutions and its students are facing significant challenges and uncertainties. Graduate students enrolled in colleges and schools of education, in particular, have had to respond to the current circumstances and find solutions to continue their academic pursuit and scholarly productivity. AACTE recently interviewed three graduate students from our member institutions about how the current crisis has affected them. The following themes emerged from these interviews.
Challenges with Adapting to Distance Learning
As a result of campus closures, graduate students have found themselves having to engage in distance learning fully. Although some have had experience in taking and teaching online courses, there are still unique challenges when all learning occurs virtually. These challenges are more common for students who are parents and have to oversee instruction for children in PK-12 schools during daytime hours. Additionally, students who are in a household with multiple adults teleworking or engaging in distance learning places a strain on their ability to focus and on resources like Wifi connectivity. Graduate students have expressed having to complete their studies during abnormal hours due to these distractions in their home environments.
AACTE Responds to COVID-19
The following AACTE Statement was sent to the National Governors Association.
During the health emergency of COVID-19, AACTE is encouraging its members, as well as states and districts, to explore partnerships between district and educator preparation programs to address the increased workforce demands for special educators in our nation’s schools. In particular, we urge stakeholders to
Identify opportunities for special education teacher candidates to continue their contributions to educational opportunities for students with disabilities (e.g. clinical practice opportunities or paraprofessionals in temporary positions) for the duration of the impact of COVID-19 on our school system.
This article originally appeared on WFAE and is reprinted with permission.
Fourth-grade teacher Lindsey Turner (left) huddles with student teacher Jessica Jenkins during class at Harrisburg Elementary. Credit Ann Doss Helms/WFAE
Whenever the spotlight turns to struggling schools and failing students, there’s another question that bubbles up: How well are America’s teacher preparation programs doing their job?
Ellen McIntyre, who headed UNC Charlotte’s Cato College of Education for six years, says there’s plenty of room for improvement. The college (which is a WFAE underwriter) is working with Charlotte-area public schools to improve a crucial step in teacher prep: Student teaching.
Too many student teachers, she says, still experience the sink-or-swim approach she did years ago: Being thrown into a classroom with the regular teacher watching passively and critiquing after the fact, while university supervisors pop in and out without forging real connections.
AACTE and partner, Educator Preparation Laboratory (EdPrepLab), an initiative of the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) and Bank Street College of Education, will host the second of a series of four webinars, Preparing educators for diverse, equitable, and inclusive classrooms, on January 30.
This collaborative webinar focuses on strategies to increase the preparation of both teachers and leaders. AACTE and EdPrepLab are excited to provide you with an opportunity to learn from and with our dynamic webinar leaders. Four dynamic experts who are advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in their practice, research, and daily interactions with teachers, leaders, and community stakeholders will present during the webinar:
This article originally appeared in the Chatanoogan.com and is reprinted with permission.
As educators, we are concerned about the quality and quantity of applicants entering the field of education. Our members have often been catalysts for innovative solutions to the many challenges facing education. This is why we take an interest in the next generation of educators and why we strive to improve their experience and support as they transition from teacher candidate to classroom teacher.
In 1986, education school deans from the top universities developed a critical report that attributed much of the blame for struggling public schools on the training teachers were receiving in college.
Research reminds us that although we spend millions of dollars and thousands of hours on teacher preparation courses, we do not have much evidence justifying some of those requirements in Colleges of Education. Nor do policymakers really know how to measure and define a successful teacher training program.
Now in its third year, the University of Central Florida (UCF) Consortium for Future Educators is growing by leaps and bounds! On November 1, 2019, UCF hosted the third convening of the Consortium for Future Educators, including 16 Districts of Education in Florida, and over 80 participants. District leaders, lead teachers, high school students, and university faculty who partner with them came together to share knowledge and best practices as it relates to the creation, growth, and results of High School Teaching Academies and “grow-your-own” pathways.
California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) has been selected to receive funding under the U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) program in the amount of $4,849,320; $2.2M of which will go directly to student scholarships.
The award, expected to span over a total of five years, will also help fund a project entitled Preparing Observational Practitioners through Partnerships Yearlong (POPPY) and support CSUMB partnerships with eight school districts across Monterey County, further advancing the “grow your own” model of teacher preparation.
Collaborative. Encouraging. Communicative. Supportive. Empowering. These are characteristics that contemporary educator preparation programs are committed to building within their traditional teacher candidates. For co-teaching teams, however, these traits are more than preferred; they are essential to success.
Co-teaching is an innovative pedagogical model adopted to maximize instructional impact and engagement amongst preservice and in-service teachers. Thanks to the support of the AACTE, the “Co-Teaching in Clinical Practice” Topical Action Group (TAG) is able to advocate for co-teaching and support co-teachers in schools throughout the nation.
Shepherd University’s School of Education received a $40,635 grant from the West Virginia Department of Education to continue working with five Berkeley County Schools providing professional development and to start a pilot program in which a select group of Shepherd student teachers spend the entire school year in a Berkeley County elementary school.
“The teacher candidate goes in from day one and works with the mentor teacher in co-planning, co-teaching, and co-assessing,” said Dori Hargrove, Shepherd’s elementary specialization coordinator. “By being involved from the first day, the teacher candidate gets a better understanding of all the decisions that go into planning. It helps the teacher candidate feel more prepared and helps the mentor teacher learn new strategies.”
Four Shepherd elementary education majors are participating in the pilot program—Kristin Williams, Charles Town; Susan Stambaugh, Martinsburg; Kayla Shultz, Falling Waters; and Alexis Shearer, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. The typical length of time for student teaching is 14 weeks; however, the four are co-teaching in a school the entire year.
As the student population has diversified so has our understanding of the general education classroom, specifically who we serve in an inclusive setting. Our students with special education services are learning the majority of their grade level curriculum in general education classrooms. This paradigm shift requires effective collaboration between service providers and teachers as well as a deep understanding and application of differentiation to meet the needs of all students.
For years, the two fields of general education and special education have been siloed. Persistence and partnership is how