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Local ABC News Features Reyes Quezada on Ask the Expert

As many parents have questions about how to navigate the current school year with their children at home, ABC 10News anchor Lindsey Peña offered them an opportunity to talk with Reyes Quezada, chair of the Department of Learning and Teaching from University of San Diego USD, about their concerns. Reyes fields questions about distance learning, early childhood education, and bilingual education during the segment.

His advice includes tips that families can use to replicate what’s happening in schools to support their students at home. During the interactive session, Reyes also emphasizes the different ways teachers can communicate to meet the needs of the students during remote learning, including socio-emotional learning.

Watch the full interview on ABC10News Facebook page.

OSPI and University of Washington’s Haring Center Expand Inclusionary Practice Project to Include Preschools

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Haring Center for Inclusive Education

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Haring Center for Inclusive Education at the University of Washington announced that they are expanding their Inclusionary Practice Project (IPP) to include preschools across the state. This work is part of a statewide effort to help more schools to adopt a culture of inclusion.

“When we meaningfully include students with disabilities in general education settings with their peers, all students see improved academic and social outcomes,” said Glenna Gallo, assistant superintendent of special education at OSPI.

In Washington, 49.7% of students with disabilities are participating in early childhood classes separate from their peers. Further, Washington is currently one of the least inclusive states, ranking 44th in the nation.

Senate Debates Funding for Re-opening Schools

Students wearing masks outside school building

This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide updated information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Action Expected in July on Next COVID Relief Bill: Education in the Crosshairs

Beginning next week, we expect to see the Senate take up the next COVID relief bill.  The House has passed their version of the bill and Senate Democrats have introduced their version of the bill, so the next move is up Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).  His bill may be unveiled next week.

Education has become a high profile and contentious matter for this bill, as the president has determined that the economy cannot move forward unless schools are fully open in person so that parents and college employees (and workers in related businesses) can return to work in person. Multiple agendas are woven through this debate, which will become even more prominent as decisions are made about whether to apply conditions to any further COVID relief funding for education. 

COVID-19 Education Coalition Supports the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act and Increases in Federal FY21 Education Appropriations

The undersigned members of the COVID-19 Education Coalition offer the following statement on the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act (CCCERA) and FY21 federal education appropriations:

As states and districts continue preparing for the upcoming school year, national data reveal the critical need to support educators’ capacity to deliver effective and equitable online learning experiences. For example, a recent survey revealed discrepancies in the quality of instruction available to students from higher-income versus low-income families. Although the CARES Act provided some federal dollars to support educator professional development, experts agree that the current education stabilization funds are inadequate to fully support schools, students, educators, and families through the COVID-19 global pandemic.

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.

Schools Struggle to Reopen During Pandemic: Will Congress Help?

Law and Education ConceptThis blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide updated information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Police Reform in the Wake of George Floyd’s Death: Is it Coming?  How Will it Affect Schools?

The purview of state and local government police reform is rapidly moving into the realm of the federal government. House Democrats have acted quickly, introducing a sweeping bill, the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 with 200 sponsors. Republicans in both the House and Senate are feeling the pressure and discussions are underway, albeit for a far more limited approach. The White House is sending mixed messages, on the one hand calling for reform and on the other, calling for law and order. 

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) is taking the lead for Republicans in the Senate and has been in conversation with the White House. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), a top Trump ally in the House, said he will release his own plan shortly. Senate proposals appear to feature the improvement of federal data collection on the use of force and no-knock warrants as well as police training. White House spokespersons said that ending qualified immunity, which protects police officers from civil lawsuits, was a nonstarter.

AACTE Congratulates 2020 National Teacher of the Year Tabatha Rosproy

2020 National Teacher of the Year - Tabatha RosproyAACTE congratulates 2020 National Teacher of the Year Tabatha Rosproy and AACTE member institution Fort Hays State University for preparing her for a distinguished teaching career. Rosproy, a 10-year veteran Kansas teacher, is the first early childhood educator to be named National Teacher of the Year by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).

Rosproy teaches preschool at Winfield Early Learning Center in Winfield, Kansas, which is housed in a local retirement community and nursing home. Her classroom is an inclusive inter-generational program that provides preschoolers and residents with multiple daily interactions and serves special education and typically developing preschoolers in a full-day setting.  As the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of school buildings across the country, Rosproy served as a co-chair of the educator task force that helped compile Kansas’s continuous learning guidance.

COVID-19 Raises Multiple Education Policy Questions

This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide updated information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

How Will the Senate Respond to the House Passed $3 Trillion HEROES Act?

Last week the House passed its follow up to the $2 trillion CARES Act by adopting the HEROES Act— the next COVID-19 relief bill. The Senate does not appear to be in a hurry to act and has clearly articulated different priorities from those in the HEROES Act.

Educators and their congressional allies are weighing in for a strong infusion of cash for education in the next bill.  In the House, Reps. Tlaib (D-MI), Hayes (D-CT) and Pressley (D-MA) are circulating a letter to their colleagues that requests $305 billion be targeted to K-12 education in the next COVID-19 bill.  In comparison, the HEROES Act targets $58 billion to K-12 education. Many education organizations are supporting their request, including the National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, and AASA: The School Superintendents Association.

On the higher education side, almost 80 education organizations have requested that the maximum for the Pell Grant be doubled, anticipating that students will be facing unprecedented struggles when starting the new academic year and beyond.

Drs. Xu and Cormier Awarded COVID-19 Rapid Research Grants

AACTE Responds to COVID-19

Yaoying Xu, Ph.D. & Dwayne Ray Cormier, Ph.D.

This article originally appeared on the Virginia Commonwealth School of Education website and is reprinted with permission.

Two VCU School of Education faculty members have been awarded COVID-19 rapid research grants by the university to help better understand this new pandemic and to combat it.

Dwayne Ray Cormier, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Foundations of Education and visiting iCubed scholar, and Yaoying Xu, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Counseling and Special Education, received news of their awards in April.

Cormier’s study will explore pandemic preparedness and response within PreK-12 public school systems located within the Greater Richmond area during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

“The study is exploratory and will use sociological and cultural theoretical frameworks together with a concept mapping methodology to analyze data yielded from focus groups across the PreK-12 school systems,” said Cormier.

Beware the Solution That Is Not About the Problem: Reflections on Education and the COVID-19 Shock

Empty classroom

A horizontal image of an empty primary school classroom. The setting is typically British.

In the last few weeks U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has put forward three initiatives intended to privatize the provision of public education. Given her long known and widely declared conviction that vouchers and related schemes to deliver public dollars into private hands are the panacea for all that ails education, this is not surprising. Watching her leap into the breach caused by the COVID-19 emergency is troubling, though not unexpected.

In her book, Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (2007), Naomi Kline describes the phenomenon of a crisis precipitating the redistribution of public dollars into the waiting hands of private players who offer a seemingly undeniable remedy. Years earlier, economist Milton Friedman popularized the notion that only a crisis produces real change, enabling reforms that were not previously thought possible. “When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable,” wrote Friedman in Capitalism and Freedom (1962, ix). Kline’s research led her to coin the term “disaster capitalism,” which she describes as “orchestrated raids on the public sphere in the wake of catastrophic events, combined with the treatment of disasters as exciting market opportunities.” (6)

An Inside Look at How Educators Are Adapting to the Coronavirus Crisis

This article originally appeared on the Touro College Graduate School of Education News site and is reprinted with permission.

My experience during this pandemic has been surreal. As the director of early childhood education for District 31 at The Richmond Pre-K Center, part of NYC’s Department of Education, I never imagined I’d be leading and making vital decisions related to COVID-19. 

My staff and I had to immediately shift our way of thinking in order to perform our responsibilities in a new way. As educators, practicing social distancing during a pandemic while implementing digital learning with our 3-K and pre-K students is overwhelming. Grappling with this reality, we quickly implemented the word “flexibility” into our vocabulary and adapted to our new normal, accepting that things around us are changing by the minute. Being flexible gives us the opportunity to leverage the power of our emotional intelligence in order to stay grounded and focus our minds on building the future.

I applaud my district leaders and staff for leveraging their innovative skills to go above and beyond the call of duty and utilizing technology, including Microsoft Teams and Google Classrooms, to get our very important job done efficiently and effectively. We keep our students engaged by enabling them to interact directly with their teachers and fellow classmates via these virtual platforms in discussions on various topics. During our virtual meetings, our teachers create visual simulations of their classroom environment in order to deliver critical instruction, host live read aloud sessions, post videos of various activities, and lead singing and movement sessions for students to follow along with. Our teachers also model how to complete a variety of tasks related to science, literacy, writing, art, and math projects during these meetings.

Together as one, albeit separated by distance, we’re strategically maximizing the impact of education for our children during this unprecedented time.

Lunch and Learn with AACTE and CEEDAR: Ed Prep Programs and Local Education Agency Partnerships

AACTE Responds to COVID-19

Lunch and Learn Sign,

AACTE members across the country are seeking novel ways to approach clinical practice, observation hours, and practicum expectations for their teacher candidates in order to address the nation’s need for an excellent teaching workforce in our PK-12 schools during COVID-19. AACTE and CEEDAR will co-host a second Lunch and Learn focused on strategies for leveraging partnerships in innovative ways to facilitate new opportunities to learn May 1, 2020, 1:00-1:30 p.m. ET.

Education leaders from Ohio, including our AACTE Board Member and associate dean of Bowling Green State University (BGSU), Mary Murray, will provide examples of educator preparation faculty and district partnerships that are adapting instructional modalities for students with the help of teacher candidates. From early childhood to secondary content areas, including special education, candidates are supporting their district partners through the development of lessons, online tutoring, supporting parents in their navigation of distance learning, and direct instruction online.

Join us to learn how you might apply these practices in your own context. Register now for Just-in-Time Strategies for Leveraging EPP-LEA Partnerships.

WYECON at UW is Partner on $2 Million Grant to Support Early Childhood Education

This article and photo originally appeared on the University of Wyoming website and are reprinted with permission.

Child practicing writing on lined paper

The Wyoming Early Childhood Outreach Network (WYECON) at the University of Wyoming is a partner in the Early Childhood State Advisory Council that recently was awarded a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families.

“Families, young children and early childhood educators in Wyoming have experienced the negative impacts of a lack of funding and disconnected or nonexistent systems of support for too long,” says WYECON Director and Associate Lecturer Nikki Baldwin. “Research has long recognized how vital early experiences are in shaping children’s lives, and now leaders in Wyoming acknowledge that we must create a new vision for supporting our youngest children, their families and those who care for and educate them.”

The funding will be used to help the council use existing resources more efficiently; encourage partnerships among child care and prekindergarten providers, Head Start programs and state and local governments; and improve transitions between early childhood programs and school systems. The yearlong project will include the development of an in-depth strategic plan and a comprehensive statewide birth-age 5 needs assessment.

The Little Makerspace that Could

Student in maker space using two 3-D printer penThe Maker Movement has been gaining momentum over the past 14 years with the publication of MAKE magazine in 2005 and the first Maker Faire sponsored by John Dougherty. The book titled Invent to Learn, 2nd Ed.  (2019) has become what is known as the Maker’s Movement Bible. Written by Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary Stager, the book goes into detail about how teachers and students can let loose their creativity in a myriad of ways if they are provided with space and materials to do so. 

There have always been “makers” who used their hands, brains, and hearts to invent and produce the things that people use for work and play. Classrooms have long been known as places where students could be caught making things on any given day. Why the hype about maker spaces, then?

Perhaps it has to do with the disconnect that appears to have occurred due to the technology revolution that has moved learning through exploring with material objects to learning from screens. On our small campus in Northeast Ohio, we have seen a constant move toward emptying the library of books and journals in favor of digital texts. Getting a hard copy of a textbook from publishing companies is becoming more of a challenge as well. Students on all levels rely more on Google than library stacks to conduct their research. It may be that the pendulum, as it always does, is beginning to swing the other way, and humans are craving the need to get back to hands-on learning that can leave printing ink on your hands, and clay under your finger nails.

Educators help dual-language learners through the IMPACT-PD grant

Teacher pointing at words on blackboardThe IMPACT-PD grant—Improving Preschoolers’ Acquisition of Language through Coaching Teachers and Professional Development—is playing an integral role in providing preschool educators the tools they need to help their students develop proficiency in English as a second language.

The United States Department of Education National Professional grant, funded by the Office of English Language Acquisition, aims to provide educators with professional development opportunities for improving instruction of dual-language learners in preschool.

The IMPACT-PD program, a partnership between the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education, focuses on four goals to further training and education to children learning English early in life:

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