As a former early childhood public school prekindergarten teacher in rural South Carolina, I have always engaged in advocacy for better educational policies. I have been engrossed in issues such as reduced recess, teacher professional development policies, parent access, and teacher training since I was in the classroom. I continue to serve as a point of inspiration as a 13-year veteran teacher educator at a historically black college and university (HBCU). Such personal connections and identified issues led me not only to serve on the AACTE Committee on Government Relations and Advocacy but also to engage in AACTE’s “Day on the Hill.”
AACTE’s Government Relations and Advocacy Committee is as way for me to provide support, experience, and advice in an area that I feel honored to have some expertise in—early childhood teacher education—to affect change at the highest level of the United States Government through the AACTE community. I have always said, “I trust my leaders, but they always need to have access to all of the information and the right information to make a comprehensively informed decision.” I lay that same claim to politicians and other policy makers and enforcers. This committee has given me much additional excitement because I not only see changes happening, but also, I believe that my small, humble contributions help make a difference.
Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation, endorsed by AACTE—the Rural STEM Education Research Act (HR 210.) The legislation supports research and development to increase access to STEM education opportunities in rural schools and to provide teachers with the resources they need to teach more effectively.
The bill also directs the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop a prize competition to advance research and development of creative technologies for expanded broadband access. This bill further provides for assessments of Federal investments in rural STEM education to be conducted by the National Academies and the Government Accountability Office. The bipartisan legislation was introduced by House Science Committee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK) and passed the House with bipartisan support. It is unclear if the Senate will approve the bill.
In October 2019, Frostburg State University (FSU) was awarded a five-year, $4.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education for the Maryland Accelerates: Teacher-Leader Residency for Inclusive Excellence program. This new program addresses Absolute Priority and Competitive Preference Priority I under the Department’s Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) Program. By leveraging partnerships in high-need and rural schools, this innovative teacher-leader residency program will help realize State priorities in preparing and retaining highly effective teachers in the critical shortage areas of science, mathematics, computer science, English, and elementary education.
Modeled after the recommendations of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education (also known colloquially as the Kirwan Commission), the program includes a full-year practicum, mentorship, extensive classroom observation, and research opportunities with an emphasis on culturally-responsive pedagogy, mathematical problem-solving, and computational thinking followed by an extended induction program. Graduates of the program receive a Master of Arts in Teaching degree and are mentored and supported through their early years of teaching to develop competency-based practices to move them towards achieving National Board Certification.
The following article features a podcast interview with AACTE’s Jacqueline Rodriguez addressing higher education’s strategies to ensure teacher and educator candidates access and benefit from the digital learning environment.
The Digitalachia Podcast hosted by Robert Brown of the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative (KVEC) welcomed Jacqueline Rodriquez, vice president of research, policy, and advocacy with the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE). The topic of discussion is higher education and incorporating virtual and blended learning models in the digital world.
Will provide scholarships up to $4,800 to help teacher assistants earn teaching degrees
WGU North Carolina, an affiliate of the national online Western Governors University, has signed an agreement with Rowan-Salisbury School System (RSS) to help classified staff, such as teacher assistants, advance their careers by earning bachelor’s degrees and teacher certifications.
Any Rowan-Salisbury School System teacher assistant who enrolls in one of WGU North Carolina’s teacher-preparation programs will receive up to $800 in tuition credit per six-month term, after any Pell Grants have been exhausted, for up to three years. RSS employees will also receive an application-fee waiver code.
Additionally, WGU North Carolina will create a unique URL for RSS employees and promote this opportunity through printed materials, social media, on-site presentations and other channels. Employees will also have access to WGU career services resources and events, and WGU NC staff will be available to participate in any education/benefits fairs, seminars, and “lunch and learn” presentations offered by Rowan-Salisbury Schools.
This article originally appeared in the Bottom Line and is reprinted with permission.
Frostburg State University was recently awarded a $4 million grant through the Maryland Accelerates Teacher Education Program. The grant, which is in partnership with Garrett County and Frederick County public schools as well as FSU’s Master of Arts in Teaching, will serve to raise the number of certified teachers in Maryland schools. It will also provide a professional development path in which teachers will have the ability to mentor new education professionals.
The program is estimated to make a substantial impact on the community, with 40 new teachers joining the program and over 130 established educators becoming mentors. The grant will also aid approximately 4,500 students in rural communities. The program is aimed at subjects where there is a critical need for teachers.
This post is an excerpt from an article that originally appeared in Texas Tech Today and is reprinted with permission.
Situated within rural America, Texas Tech University is responding to rural challenges, with researchers in many specialties coming together to partner with rural communities, civic organizations and industries to develop models for change.
Texas Tech and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) researchers are working to address the challenges facing rural Americans, including water supply, energy costs, national teacher shortage, obesity rates, suicide rates, and fewer mental health workers.
This article and photo originally appeared in EdSource and are reprinted with permission.
Jennifer Garza, a 7th grade English teacher at Green Acres Middle School in Visalia, was teaching on an intern credential in 2015.
Two federal grants totaling over $9.4 million will help California recruit teachers and mental health professionals to rural schools.
The U.S. Department of Education awarded the five-year grants to the California Center on Teaching Careers, an organization started in 2016 to help solve the persistent teacher shortage. The center is run by the Tulare County Office of Education, in partnership with California State University Bakersfield.
Photo by Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez
This article and photo originally appeared on the Montana State University website and are reprinted with permission.
Montana State University’s Department of Education and its partners have received funding totaling $6.2 million for a program delivered mostly online that is designed to recruit, train and mentor dozens of high-quality educators to work in rural areas of Montana.
The funds include a $3.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education and more than $3.1 million in matching funds and services from nearly a dozen partner organizations. They will be used for a five-year project, “Addressing Rural Recruitment and Retention in Montana,” that aims to address a shortage of teachers in rural locations across the state.
“We are excited to provide training and professional development in the first two years of their teaching careers to residents of rural, high-needs communities along with the Montana Office of Public Instruction and our many statewide partners,” said MSU education professor Ann Ewbank, the project’s principal investigator.
“Our common goal is to ensure that every student, from Broadus to Lolo, and from Scobey to Troy, has access to highly effective educators,” Ewbank added. “The Teacher Quality Partnership grant has the potential to strengthen K-12 education in rural communities. When rural schools thrive, Montana thrives.”
As co-editors, we are seeking chapter authors for a book we are publishing with IGI Global for release in 2020 titled Handbook of Research on Leadership and Advocacy for Children and Families in Rural Poverty. This interdisciplinary book will address issues related to education, counseling, social work, public policy, health, and leadership.
Education researchers and practitioners are invited to submit a 1,000 to 2,000 word chapter proposal by April 25, 2019. All submitted chapters will undergo a double-blind review.
This article and photo originally appeared in UNH Today and are reprinted with permission.
When Kayla Croteau earned her master’s in secondary education from UNH in 2015, she never imagined that she was only three short years away from another teacher education experience — this time as a teaching mentor for the University of New Hampshire’s Teacher Residency for Rural Education (UNH-TRRE) program.
UNH-TRRE, designed to prepare elementary and secondary math and science teachers to work in rural, high-need New Hampshire schools, is working with its second cohort of future teachers. These UNH students, known as teaching residents, live, learn, teach and volunteer in rural New Hampshire communities over the course of the 15-month master’s program.
Croteau serves as a UNH-TRRE teaching mentor to Alexzandria Steiner, a native of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, and current teaching resident in the TRRE program. Steiner, who is seeking secondary certification in life sciences, works with Croteau at Groveton High School, one of the UNH-TRRE partnership schools in Coӧs County.
Teaching residents, embedded in the areas in which they will teach, make connections with local families and begin to identify assets and resources each rural community has to offer.
The University of Idaho (UI) has received a nearly $1 million grant from the U.S Department of Education to support the second cohort of its Indigenous Knowledge for Effective Education Program (IKEEP), which prepares and certifies culturally responsive Indigenous teachers to meet the unique needs of Native American students in K-12 schools. The first IKEEP cohort began in 2016 with nine students. The new grant will allow an additional eight scholars to begin training in the summer of 2019.
“I am so very pleased that the University of Idaho’s College of Education, Health & Human Sciences (CEHHS) is home to the IKEEP program,” said CEHHS Dean Ali Carr-Chellman. “This U.S. Department of Education grant will help some of our highest needs schools in the state of Idaho to have not only highly qualified teachers, but teachers with a clear sense of culturally responsive curricular approaches. I am deeply impressed by the dedication and perseverance of Drs. Vanessa Anthony-Stevens and Yolanda Bisbee in their pursuit of the IKEEP program for the betterment of all of Idaho.”
Anthony-Stevens and Bisbee, along with Christine Meyer and Joyce McFarland recently shared insights into the IKEEP model in the following Q&A:
Check out the September/October 2018 issue of the Journal of Teacher Education (JTE). It is now available online and hitting desks around the country. See what Volume 69 Number 4 has to offer!
The evolution of a teacher candidate into a professional educator does not occur overnight. Rather, it is a slow, steady, empowering journey that unfolds over several years, with teacher candidates receiving support and encouragement from mentor teachers and university faculty alike. Through it all, teacher candidates learn just as many lessons as they teach, ideally with one overarching principle repeatedly impressed upon them: that they must serve all learners.
This is no small task, as today’s educators enter increasingly diverse schools. This diversity creates wonderful learning opportunities for all, but it also presents its fair share of challenges. Teachers will encounter students with disabilities. They will encounter students who are gifted and talented. They will encounter students from low-income families. They will encounter students from various racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds, as well as students who do not speak English as a first language.
A new study from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest has reaffirmed many of the challenges related to recruiting and retaining educators in rural areas. The report, Indicators of Successful Teacher Recruitment and Retention in Oklahoma Rural School Districts (download PDF here), examines data spanning a decade in Oklahoma districts, more than 70% of which are rural.
The analysis finds that two key influences on teacher retention are compensation and teachers’ level of responsibility at their school. Numerous other factors affecting retention are catalogued in the appendices of the report, organized into categories of teacher, district, and community-based variables. Educator preparation programs that collaborate with rural districts may want to review the study’s findings for insights that might be applied to their own local challenges.