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Updates: Department of Ed and Other Federal Agencies on COVID-19 Resources for Education

AACTE Responds to COVID-19

As the United States responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, federal agencies connected to the education and care of our nation’s higher education and PK-12 students are releasing information and guidance for taking action, as well as flexibilities and waivers offered.

The U.S. Department of Education offered a phone call to K-12 stakeholder on Friday March 20, 2020, with officials from the Department, the CDC, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Department has posted a readout of the call, with links to resources on servicing students with disabilities, student loan relief, student privacy, and more.

Main Links for COVID-19 Information

U.S. Department of Education

U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service

Centers for Disease Control

KDP Offers Professional Development on Education for Sustainable Development

In response to many requests, Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), an AACTE affiliate member, is offering faculty to participate in free professional development related to education for sustainable development (ESD). The Online Global Forum on ESD is designed to meet the needs of teacher educators who work with preservice and in-service teachers of primary and secondary schools. The Forum focuses on educational themes (e.g., systems thinking, pedagogy, and assessment) and teaching about current threats to global sustainability (e.g., climate change and social inequity).

Each unit includes an overview of the theme, usually in short videos, online discussions, and thought activities, as well as a live discussion with ESD experts. Videos and discussions will include practical topics, such as how to integrate sustainability into existing teacher preparation courses and good practices. 

To join the Forum, please visit our website. There is no cost to participate!

Faye Snodgress is the executive director of Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education.

UNC Charlotte Changes How It Trains Student Teachers

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.

Decentering Whiteness in Teacher Education

Asian teacher working with student

This article originally appeared on the University of Washington College of Education website and is reprinted with permission.

Back in 2017, the University of Washington’s Elementary Teacher Education Program (ELTEP) enrolled its first cohort of teacher candidates in which more than half were people of color and more than half spoke a language in addition to English.

While the diversity of the cohort was welcome — particularly in a state where 89 percent of teachers are white but students of color make up nearly 50 percent of public school enrollment — it also meant UW teacher educators needed to reassess their program.

“When we admitted our first group of very diverse students, I went to the faculty and said ‘We’ve got a gift’,” said Teddi Beam-Conroy, director of the UW’s Elementary Teacher Education Program. “Most efforts [to diversify the teaching workforce] concentrate on recruiting students, and they’re here. So now we have to talk about how we’re going to change to meet their needs. What do we need to do in order to sustain and learn from the students we have with us?”

The President Recommends Big Cuts for Education: Will the Congress Agree?

A pair of scissors representing cuts in education concept

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.

Bad News for Education in President Trump’s FY 2021 Budget Proposal

The FY 2021 appropriations process was officially launched with the release of the President’s budget proposal on Monday. The budget is thematically similar to previous Trump budgets, in that it calls for big spending cuts all around and proposes federal support for private schools in the form of a tax credit for donations to scholarship programs (called “Education Freedom Scholarships”). The proposal represents an overall 7.8% cut ($5.6 Billion) to the Department of Education.  Key features of the proposal include the following:

Elementary and Secondary Education

  • Twenty-nine K-12 grant programs will be consolidated into a single block grant (“Elementary and Secondary Education for the Disadvantaged Block Grant”) designed to provide maximum flexibility for state and local systems at $19.4 Billion – a $4.7 Billion cut from current spending.
  • The prized charter school grant program is consolidated into the block grant.
  • The big winner in the budget proposal is Career and Technical Education which is slated for $763 million increase.
  • Education Freedom Scholarships (tax credits for private schools) would cost $46 Billion over 10 years.
  • All IDEA programs are level funded; however, Part B of IDEA receives a $100 million increase.

AACTE Supports Global CoSN Program to Drive K-12 Innovation

AACTE has partnered with CoSN (The Consortium for School Networking) to provide school leaders with high-quality information on emerging issues and technology trends for K-12 innovation, as a member of the advisory board. Recently, the international advisory board, about 100 education leaders, identified 15 key Hurdles, Accelerators, and Tech Enablers for schools to leverage in 2020 in order to drive innovation in K-12 education.

The next generation of teachers and leaders are being prepared at AACTE member institutions. In collaboration with our K-12 school district colleagues, educator preparation programs can leverage technology that supports the learning and social emotional growth of all our students. 

Together AACTE and CoSN are committed to advancing progressive practices in the field and addressing challenges and opportunities such as data privacy & ownership, social emotional learning, and tools for privacy & safety online.

CoSN will issue its insights and findings from the advisory board in two individual free briefs. These publications, along with an implementation toolkit, will be released throughout 2020 to spur ongoing discussions and visibility that analyze the top Hurdles, Accelerators and Technology Enablers in K-12 education. This project is part of CoSN’s EdTechNext initiative, extending their long-standing work surrounding emerging technologies.

Revolutionizing Education

Virtual Math Mentorship Project: Partnering Elementary Math Methods Course with Rural Title 1 School

Two students working on math

Photo Credit: Ben Wyrick

Ed Prep Matters features the “Revolutionizing Education” column to spotlight the many ways AACTE, member institutions, and partners are pioneering leading-edge research, models, strategies and programs that focus on the three core values outlined in the current AACTE strategic plan: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Quality and impact; and Inquiry and Innovation.

This article was written by Jennie M. Carr of Bridgewater College and Tammy T. May of Rockingham County Public Schools.

Educator preparators are often seeking unique and meaningful experiences for their teacher candidates. With the knowledge that high quality mentoring relationships can demonstrate positive improvements in academic performance, attendance, feelings of self-confidence, resilience, perceived social acceptance, and relationships with others, we began working collaboratively to create a mutually beneficial math mentorship partnership between Bridgwater College and an elementary school in the Rockingham County Public School District (Coller & Kuo, 2014; Masters & Kreeger, 2017). The logistics of managing a traditional face-to-face mentoring experience was too difficult and there is no required field experience in the college’s elementary math methods course.  Because online tools are typically utilized on college campuses and with the school district’s recent 1:1 Chromebook adoption, we crafted the virtual math mentorship (Hartun & Harvey, 2015).

Connecting the virtual math mentorship to teacher candidates’ capstone project in the math methods course was vital to its success. The eight-week project consisted of a teacher candidate field trip to the elementary school, two virtual Google Hangout sessions, four virtual Seesaw pen pal exchanges, and the creation of a personalized and interest-based differentiated math lesson for a fifth grade mentee, which was implemented during the students field trip to Bridgewater College.

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.

Author Interview: Educators Perspectives of Controversial Children’s Literature

Read the latest JTE Insider blog interview by the Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) editorial team. This blog is available to the public, and AACTE members have free access to the articles in the JTE online archives—just log in with your AACTE profile.

In this interview, The JTE editorial team shares insights from the Sue C. Kimmel and Danielle E. Hartsfield, co-authors of the article “It Was . . . the Word ‘Scrotum’ on the First Page”: Educators’ Perspectives of Controversial Literature, published in the September/October 2019 issues of the Journal of Teacher Education.

What motivated you to pursue this particular research topic?

Sue: We both teach children’s literature, and we were interested in how our students who were pre-service educators reacted to controversy in children’s literature. We believe in the power of literature to promote empathy and positive inquiry into social issues. We were concerned with the willingness of pre-service educators to avoid “controversy” in the classroom and library with little critical thought about what it meant to withhold quality literature about difficult topics from their students. 

2019 Nation’s Report Card Shows Growing Disparity between High and Low Achievers in Math and Reading

2019 Nation's Report CardThe recent release of the 2019 Nation’s Report Cards for mathematics and reading in grades 4 and 8 illustrates a growing disparity in achievement between the highest and lowest achieving students. The results show the divergence is happening across the nation, across states, and for student groups by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), widely known as the Nation’s Report Card, provides data from the nation, states/jurisdictions, and urban school districts that volunteer to participate in the Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA).  Approximately 296,900 fourth- and eighth-grade students across the nation participated in the 2019 mathematics assessment and nearly 294,000 fourth- and eighth-grade students across the nation participated in the 2019 reading assessment.  Results are available for the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Department of Defense schools, as well as for the 27 participating large urban districts.

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