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Portland State Trains Teachers to Be Inclusive

Students working in a group in class
Empowering teachers to feel adequately prepared on their first day of teaching is the goal of Portland State University’s (PSU) Secondary Dual Education Program (SPED). As classrooms becomes more diverse, teachers need skills to address all students’ needs and make every student feel they are included in a positive community.

Andrew Gilford, assistant principal at Clackamas High School, believes the training and preparation his teachers receive from SPED enables them to meet the needs of all their students in the classroom. The program requires all teacher candidates to have two years of practice before entering the classroom. In particular, during the two years candidates engage in a combination of observation and student teaching. Michael Bowersox agrees that the two-year program allowed him to combine his coursework at PSU with classroom practice so that he is ready to be an effective teacher on the very first day as a teacher of record. Teacher candidates are matched with master teachers, learn to plan together, and develop the teaching skills to positively affect student achievement for all.

The highlight of PSU’s Dual Degree program is the training it provides its teacher candidates to be inclusive educators. “A characteristic of a successful classroom is the ability for everyone to feel included and have the opportunity to be included,” says Joseph Cornett, a graduate of PSU and a social studies teacher at David Douglas High School. He explains that the program taught him how to set up his students for success, work collaboratively with teachers, and navigate the school system and curriculum.

To learn more, view the video highlighting PSU’s Secondary Dual Education program, part of AACTE’s Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series.

UVI Launches Inclusive Childcare Laboratory & Diagnostic Center

This article and photo originally appeared in The Virgin Islands Consortium and is reprinted with permission.

The University of the Virgin Islands on Monday launched an Inclusive Childcare Laboratory and Diagnostic Center on the St. Thomas Campus. According a release the institution of higher learning issued, the new facility is intended to enhance the educational experience of preservice teachers who will be supervised by professors as part of their studies—while supporting the university’s students and employees to better manage the challenges of balancing parenthood and college life. UVI will be among the first Historically Black Colleges and Universities to provide this service.

The establishment of a research-based childcare program linked to early childhood and the School of Education has been a goal of UVI President David Hall’s since 2014. “This idea has evolved over the years and it’s no longer just a place to care for our students’ children, but an opportunity to create a model early education center that can help enhance the quality of early childhood education throughout the Virgin Islands,” Mr. Hall said. “The significance of this project is now more transformative than our students imagined.”

As many as 30 children can be admitted at the center at a time. The center is open for children between ages two to eleven. Initially, the center will be operational from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. However, it is expected to evolve from an after school to full-day childcare center, according to the university.  

The idea for the childcare center arose from a survey of UVI students, staff and faculty who emphasized the need for such a facility on campus. “The University’s ability to address this critical need indicates that we listen to our students and we strive to address their needs,” Mr. Hall said.

BGSU Inclusive Early Childhood Education Graduates are Innovative Classroom Teachers

Techers working with students in classroom setting
The Early Childhood Inclusive Education Program at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) prepares teachers to educate the youngest of school-age children with a solid foundation for learning. “This program is an example of innovation as it relates to making sure our students at the earliest stage have opportunities to develop and be successful in their lives,” says Rodney Rogers, president of Bowling Green State University. As a public university, BGSU sees itself as serving the public good and views the College of Education & Human Development as a place where all teacher candidates are prepared to meet the needs of their students. Teachers who graduate from the program are ready to enter the classrooms with the skills to accommodate all students.

New NCLD Helps Teachers Unlock the Power of Students Who Learn Differently


One in 5 students in the United States have learning and attention issues. This includes those with identified specific learning disabilities, diagnosed attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, or related disorders that impact learning. Despite often having above average or average intelligence, the majority of these students are achieving below grade level. This equates to millions of students across the nation whose strengths and potential are going untapped.

The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) and Understood set out to unpack and address this problem. We partnered with teachers—often the most consistent touchpoint for students after their caregivers—to understand their experiences and insights. We rooted these experiences in rigorous research focused on general education classrooms, where the majority of the “1 in 5” spend most of their time. The culmination of this work is found in “Forward Together,” a new report from Understood and the NCLD.

AACTE is joining several other education organizations to develop Forward Together Toolkits for our teachers and teacher educators. Stay tuned for more information on the dissemination of those toolkits!

Call for Chapter Proposals – Rethinking School-University Partnerships: A New Way Forward

As co-editors, we are inviting you to submit a chapter proposal for the upcoming book, Rethinking School-University Partnerships: A New Way Forward, which will be published by Information Age Publishing. This volume will explore innovative ways in which colleges of education and education preparation providers (EPPs) engage with school partners to improve teacher education and educational outcomes for P-12 learners. The main focus of this book project is to extend the literature in this area and to learn from others around the country engaged in this important work. We are particularly interested in partnership work that addresses mutually beneficial outcomes and persistent issues/problems in teacher education.

This book will provide educational leaders in public schools and colleges of education with insight, advice, and direction into the task of creating effective, proactive partnerships. In current times, colleges of education and local school districts need each other like never before. School districts struggle with pipeline-workforce, recruitment, and retention issues. Colleges of education face declining enrollment and a shifting educational landscape that fundamentally changes the way that teachers are trained and what local school districts expect their teachers to be able to do. It is with these overlapping constraints and converging interests that partnerships emerge as a strategy for strengthening the education of our teachers.

The partnerships that we envision are different from the ways in which colleges of education and school districts have traditionally worked with one another. In the past, these loose relationships centered primarily on student teaching and/or field experience placements. We conceptualize “new” partnerships as being proactive, mutually beneficial, pragmatic, and futures oriented. By focusing on people who are leaders in colleges/schools of education and local schools, this book will be well-positioned to help us develop a better understanding of how to initiate and lead change around the concept of partnerships.

Preparing Secondary Educators for an Inclusive Classroom

Portland State University’s Graduate School of Education offers a unique, two-year, full-time master’s degree in secondary dual education. In 2014, the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and the Department of Special Education joined together to meet the need of the surrounding communities to increase the number of teachers who are skilled in effective practices for a variety of students. Graduates of the program are equipped to implement inclusive and equitable practices.

“The secondary dual education program in the Graduate School of Education really represents, I think, innovation, collaboration, and equity and inclusion at its highest levels,” says Marvin Lynn, dean of the Graduate School of Education at Portland State University. This particular program was born out of need to ensure all teachers are meeting the needs of all students in the classroom. The emphasis on diversity and equity is part of the Graduate School of Education’s strategic mission as an access university.

Solving the Teacher Shortage Crisis: APSU and CMCSS Team Up on New Program

The first class of residents in the Early Learning Teacher Residence program, a partnership between Austin Peay State University and the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System, wait to sign their contracts on May 24, 2019. (Photo: Jennifer Babich)

This article and photo originally appeared in the Leaf Chronicle and are reprinted with permission

These are not your typical college students.

Instead, they’re the first class of aspiring professionals embarking on a free three-year residency and degree program to turn themselves into teachers, as part of a partnership between Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools and Austin Peay State University.

Increasing Effective and Dynamic Inclusive Early Childhood Education Teachers


Bowling Green State University’s innovated Inclusive Early Childhood Education program seeks to address the need for teacher candidates to be well prepared to enter the classroom. BGSU recognized the importance of shifting their program to assist their teacher candidates in garnering the necessary teaching practices for a changing classroom environment. “We certainly have a wide array of learners with very diverse needs and one the things that this program helps us do is to ensure that we are graduating teachers that are ready to meet the needs of all those learners,” says Dawn Shinew, dean of the College of Education and Human Development at Bowling Green State University.

Every year, BGSU places over 900 teachers through 88 different partnerships with school districts throughout Ohio, which include both urban and rural districts and social service agencies. Teachers are expected to continue taking coursework during their clinical placements to ensure there is a connection among their coursework and their teacher training in the field. More importantly, BGSU believes teacher candidates should be exposed to the fieldwork earlier than what more traditional programs prescribe. Whereas other, more traditional programs place teacher candidates as student-teachers in their senior year of undergraduate studies, BGSU starts placing juniors in clinical settings with the hope to increase their exposure to their career and receive additional training in a variety of education settings, including special education and inclusive classrooms.  

The “Inconvenient Truths” of Early Childhood Education and Care

The United States needs to rethink its approach to early childhood education and care (ECEC), based on the experiences of innovative systems around the world, and develop a cohesive system that is high-quality, equitable, sustainable, and efficient. This is the principal finding of the groundbreaking study from the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), The Early Advantage. An event to release the study was held in Washington, DC, on May 16.

The study examines how innovative jurisdictions around the world are strategically and inventively designing and implementing early childhood policies and services to advance children’s well-being, and provides policy recommendations to help the United States expand the reach, equity, and rigor of its early childhood offerings.

AACTE Selects 10 Institutions for Networked Improvement Community Around Special Education Teacher Shortage


AACTE received nearly 50 applications from preparation programs across the country to participate in the Reducing the Shortage of Special Education Teachers Networked Improvement Community supported by the CEEDAR Center! The AACTE Reducing the Shortage of Special Education Teachers Networked Improvement Community (NIC) aims to address the problem of the shortage and lack of diversity of fully prepared and credentialed special education teachers in public schools across the nation.

AACTE is proud to be partnering with the following member institutions in reducing the special education teacher shortage:

Cleveland State University
Eastern Michigan University
Texas State University
University of Central Florida
University of Nebraska at Omaha
University of Northern Colorado
University of Oregon
University of Wisconsin at Madison
Virginia State University
Western Kentucky University

New Research-to-Practice Spotlight Videos Feature Bowling Green and Portland State Universities


AACTE identified and documented two exemplary teacher preparation programs that ensure all of their candidates are ready to work with all students, including students with disabilities. We are pleased to feature a set of videos from each program documenting how they implement curriculum for dual certification (general education and special education) and feature extensive clinical preparation.

Bowling Green State University’s undergraduate Inclusive Early Childhood Program and Portland State University’s Secondary Dual Education Program support new and beginning teachers in teaching in inclusive classrooms. Both programs lead to certifications in general and special education. “These institutions ensure that all educators have the skills to work with students with disabilities in the 21st century,” said AACTE Consultant Jane West, “School districts scramble to hire these outstanding students, as they come with the mindset and the skillset to be effective with all students.”

Session highlights Innovative Programs that Address Workforce Needs


During the AACTE 2019 Annual Meeting, panelists for the Deeper Dive session, “Innovations to Address Today’s Workforce Needs” examined inclusive education preparation and strategies to address the national teacher shortage. The session highlighted AACTE’s partnership with the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR) Center at the University of Florida and its federal supporters.

AACTE Consultant Jane West, who leads the Association’s work with CEEDAR, moderated a discussion with panelists Mary Murphy and Mark Seals (Bowling Green State University) and Marvin Lynn (Portland State University) on best practices at Bowling Green’s undergraduate teaching program and Portland State’s master’s program. 

Apply to join AACTE’s Special Education Teacher Shortage NIC


AACTE is now accepting applications from member institutions to join a new networked improvement community (NIC) focused on special education teacher recruitment and retention.

The shortage of special education teachers and the lack of diversity among all teachers have been well documented. Half of all schools and 90% of high-poverty schools struggle to find qualified special education teachers.

The aim of this NIC is to positively impact the special education teacher shortage and the lack of diversity in the special education teacher workforce in public schools. Participating institutions will identify a range of best practices related to increasing enrollment, strengthening partnerships with P-12 schools, and retaining special education teachers.

Read more about this new initiative on our website and in the Reducing the Shortage of Special Education Teachers NIC Charter.

Applications are due on April 1, 2019.  Member institutions will be selected through a structured review process and notified in late April of 2019. An introductory virtual meeting will be held in May of 2019, and the first in-person convening will be held in the fall of 2019.

AACTE to form Special Education Networked Improvement Community (NIC)

AACTE will launch a Networked Improvement Community focused on Special Education Teacher Recruitment and Retention in May of 2019. The NIC will investigate strategies to address the persistent shortages in the field of special education.

The shortage of special education teachers and the lack of diversity among all teachers have been well documented. Half of all schools and 90% of high-poverty schools struggle to find qualified special education teachers. Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia report special education teacher shortages. However, special education teacher shortages are not evenly distributed across the country. Generally, high poverty areas—both urban and rural—are most likely to experience the most severe teacher shortages, including those in special education. States vary in the degree of shortage they experience.

AACTE Initiatives in Special Education Preparation Take Flight

AACTE is a national partner for the University of Florida’s Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR) Center, which helps states and institutions of higher education to develop the ability of every teacher to prepare students with disabilities for college and careers. As a federally funded multi-million dollar project, CEEDAR works with AACTE and others to promote the preparation of all educators to have the mindset and skillset for effectively instructing students with disabilities along with all other students in the mainstream classroom.

“This initiative is about ensuring that all educators have the skills to work effectively with students with disabilities,” said AACTE Consultant Jane West, who leads the Association’s work with CEEDAR. “Special education has too often been considered a place and not a service. We are highlighting and promoting preparation for both general and special educators so they can provide effective instruction to students with disabilities in inclusive ways with an eye toward raising expectations and undermining the stigmatizing of students with disabilities.”

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