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AACTE Celebrates Educators During National Teacher Appreciation Week

A middle school science team collaborates on their upcoming lessons.

Photo by Allison Shelley for EDUimages

On behalf of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone issued the following statement to celebrate educators during National Teacher Appreciation Week:
 
“One of the most pervasive truths in American public education is that great teachers transform lives. COVID-19 illuminated the vital role teachers play in our communities. As parents struggled to balance work, supervise virtual classrooms, and co-educate their children, a new awareness and appreciation arose for the influence, importance, and value of teachers. Educators across America have learned new technologies, created innovative ways to reach students online, and, above all, kept education moving forward. As we celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week, AACTE thanks these critical front-line workers for their adaptability, ingenuity, and dedication and recognizes the difficult circumstances they face in returning to the classroom. 

Prepared To Teach Releases ‘3 Rs’ Reports on Sustainably Funded Teacher Preparation

A sixth-grade math teacher leads a lesson about the connection between music and math.

Photo by Allison Shelley for EDUimages

AACTE members have been working to strengthen clinical practice for years, with examples from all across the country—many highlighted in EdPrepMatters each month—of how partnerships between universities and P-12 districts can build great foundations for those aspiring to enter teaching.  A dilemma exists for many programs, though, when they increase clinical practice requirements: Candidates—particularly those from under-represented backgrounds[1]—can face financial barriers if clinical placements don’t offer funding to help them fully engage their learning.  As Prepared To Teach shared last month through the release of a survey on teacher candidates’ financial burdens, many individuals must either work excessive hours outside of their placements and coursework, or they resort to taking out huge burdens of debt. [2]

With over five years of work with universities, districts, and schools across the country, Prepared To Teach has developed a framework for thinking about how the field might make strong teacher preparation more affordable.  Our “3 Rs” of Sustainably Funded Teacher Preparation—Reduction, Reallocation, and (Re)Investment—can help local partnerships bring high quality preparation programs within reach for more aspiring teachers.

Accelerating Learning As We Build Back Better

This post was originally published on April 5, 2021 by Forbes, and is part of LPI’s Learning in the Time of COVID-19 blog series, which explores strategies and investments to address the current crisis and build long-term systems capacity.

Students doing yoga outside wearing masks

After a year of struggling with distance learning and hybrid models, parents, teachers, and policymakers across the country are concerned about “learning loss” and how to recover from the educational effects of the pandemic. While many of us resist the deficit orientation of learning loss language, these concerns are certainly legitimate: As the crisis began, millions of children, particularly those in low-income communities, lacked access to the computers and connectivity that would make in-person remote learning possible, creating even greater equity gaps than those that already existed.

Furthermore, many low-income communities and communities of color have been especially hard hit by COVID-19, with higher rates of infection, hospitalization and death, as well as greater rates of unemployment and housing and food insecurity. These traumatic events, coupled with the ongoing instances of police shootings of unarmed civilians, have led to a growing and ever more visible divide between the haves and the have-nots, with many students encountering barriers to keeping up in school and others disengaging from school altogether.

Frostburg State University’s Innovative Residency Program Prepares Teachers in Critical Shortage Areas

Boyce C. WilliamsIn 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.

AACTE Diversified Teacher Workforce TAG Hosts Building Culturally Efficacious University-School Partnerships Learning Lab

AACTE Diversified Teacher Workforce Topical Action Group (TAG)  Learning Lab on Building Culturally Efficacious University-School Partnerships Learning LabJoin the AACTE Diversified Teacher Workforce Topical Action Group (TAG) Learning Lab on Building Culturally Efficacious University-School Partnerships on Tuesday April 2O, 1:00 -2:30 p.m. (CST) via the Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8406529033

Across the field of education (PK-20) students, teachers, administrators, professors, and program leaders continue to witness and lament the chronic disparities in representation and lack of ethno-racial and linguistic diversity among teachers (relative to their students) in our nation’s schools. And in the wake of a global pandemic, enduring civil unrest, and calls for racial justice related to systemic anti-Blackness and anti-immigrant within all aspects of society, educational institutions are being forced to engage in introspection with greater magnitude. Teacher preparation programs in particular are feeling increased pressure to recruit, retain, and effectively prepare a highly-qualified, racially-literate, diverse pool of candidates as districts scramble to hire teachers with the content knowledge and pedagogical skills as well as the cultural and linguistic competencies needed to meet the needs of their increasingly diverse student populations.

Six Minority Serving Institutions Transform Teacher Preparation by Explicitly Infusing Equity into Programming

Branch Alliance Institutions

Educator preparation providers (EPPs) at six minority serving institutions (MSIs) across the United States selected to participate in Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity’s (BranchED) National Teacher Preparation Transformation Center will undergo an immersion process aimed at producing highly effective and diverse teachers.

 

Institutions comprising BranchED’s National Teacher Preparation Transformation Center’s Cohort 2 include Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, AL, Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles, CA, Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas, University of La Verne in La Verne, CA., Virginia State University in Petersburg, VA, and West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas. The pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade (PK-12) school district partners for these respective institutions also participate in the Transformation Center.

Teacher Prep Programs Showing Promise

This article originally appeared in Odessa American and is reprinted with permission.

University of Texas Permian Basin’s new certification program in early childhood prekindergarten through third grade education has one semester in the books.

Dean of the College of Education Larry Daniel said they have 11 to 12 students in that major.

“It’s our first semester this fall, so we’re expecting that program to continue to grow. I know we’ve had a lot of inquiries but I don’t have a precise figure. … We are expecting that program to continue to grow and having teachers certified, particularly with the early childhood area,” Daniel said during a Zoom Early Childhood Action Network meeting this week.

ECAN is a committee of the Education Partnership of the Permian Basin. The Education Partnership of the Permian Basin is a nonprofit organization focused on supporting and improving the quality of education throughout the Permian Basin from cradle to career, its website said.

UMD Announces A ‘Grow-Your-Own’ Teacher Pipeline

The University of Maryland, Prince George’s Community College and Prince George’s County Public Schools announced a dual enrollment program to increase the teaching workforce in the state.

The Middle College Program enables high schoolers from county schools to earn an associate of arts degree in teaching while completing their high school requirements. Dual enrollment students can then transfer seamlessly into the UMD College of Education’s undergraduate teaching program; the program also aligns with Bowie State University and Howard University’s academic requirements.

“The collaboration is a reflection of our commitment to developing innovative new pathways to prepare an excellent and diverse teacher workforce for Prince George’s County Public Schools and for the state of Maryland,” said Jennifer King Rice, dean of the College of Education. “This model of ‘growing your own’ teachers will increase diversity in the education field, develop teachers from the local community and address critical teaching shortages.”

Leveraging Teacher Candidates as Assets During the Pandemic: A Win-Win for All

Supporting Inclusive SchoolsLast month, AACTE partnered with CCSSO, the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders at the American Institutes for Research, and the CEEDAR Center to discuss how teacher candidates can be leveraged as assets for PK-12 districts navigating online learning and uncertainty during the pandemic. During the webisode hosted by CCSSO, Loretta Mason-Williams from Binghamton University, Jacqueline Rodriguez from AACTE, and Christian Rodgers from AASA set the stage for how the needs of teacher candidates, schools, and families are changing in 2020. With this shift in needs comes opportunities for both schools and teacher candidates.

This webisode also featured faculty and staff from AACTE member institution, Boston University, and Boston public schools, along with Lindsey Decker, a current teacher candidate. Decker shared her experiences supporting her mentor teacher in an online environment and noted “teachers are looking for additional adults to be in the classrooms.” In the virtual environment, Decker said she works with learners in small breakout groups and “one-on-one to lessen the gap that we’re seeing from the pandemic.”

From Pivoting to Disrupting the Status Quo

This is Part 2 of an article by Hannah Reeder and Betsy Rosenbalm of Appalachian State University in which they share how they’ve moved from pivoting to disrupting the status quo as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Being forced to think creatively about how to support student teachers and beginning teachers at Appalachian State University  has resulted in changes that we are now continuing into this semester and beyond.   Using virtual platforms such as Zoom, we have been able to establish connections that have reached more people without the logistical barriers that are typically present.  Taking away barriers such as travel, parking, and time constraints that previously seemed inevitable and unavoidable, have challenged us to consider if they are indeed necessary. What we have realized is that what started out as Plan B is now becoming Plan A.  Providing seamless support for students and teachers that disrupts the status quo has many advantages. 

Overcoming barriers and offering meaningful learning opportunities for pre-service and in-service teachers has led us to think differently about how we support our students and teachers.  During the summer of 2020, both of our offices teamed up with the Reich College of Education’s Math & Science Education Center to host a virtual education conference called IDEA-CON.  The conference offered a variety of sessions for educators of all levels, from beginning teachers to teacher educators.  From brief resource sharing sessions to 30-minute idea discussions to panels to plenary speakers, IDEA-CON had something for everyone.  And best of all, we were able to offer this conference for FREE.

Uninterrupted Support in an Interrupted Semester

This is Part 1 of an article by Hannah Reeder and Betsy Rosenbalm of Appalachian State University in which they share how they had to pivot student teaching and new teacher preparation during the spring 2020 semester as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teacher is helping one of her primary school students in the classroom. They are sitting at a table using a digital tablet.

When schools suddenly closed in March of 2020, student teachers and beginning teachers quickly shifted their newly learned pedagogical skills to deliver instruction and grow professionally almost solely by virtual means. The Office of Field Experiences and the Public School Partnership in the Reich College of Education at Appalachian State University supplied an uninterrupted flow of resources, professional development, and interaction with professional educators in the field.  This shifted from pivoting out of necessity to attempting to disrupt the status quo.  We were quickly introduced to “our new normal”!

Appalachian State University has18 teacher education programs and produces about 450-500 teachers each year. During the student teaching semester, teacher candidates are placed in 45 districts across the state of North Carolina and supervision is conducted by 30-40 part-time University Field Supervisors.

The Public School Partnership provides support, professional development, and resources to 12 school districts in the northwest region of North Carolina. The NC New Teacher Support Program is housed in the Public School Partnership. This program provides weekly coaching and regular professional development to teachers in their first, second, or third years of teaching in those same districts within our area of the state. 

Teaching Colleges Must Partner with Communities to Fight Twin Pandemics

The following article is an excerpt from Inspire Magazine and is reprinted with permission.

Woman reading book to students outdoorsAfter schools shut down in March due to COVID-19, teacher Sarah Thornburg and her team tackled remote teaching with gusto.

“We were like, ‘Let’s go.’ We found out, not only could we not teach the way that we wanted, but we shouldn’t,” the Columbus, Ohio, teacher said. “Everything had to slow down and focus not on content but on (students’) mental well-being.”

Some high-schoolers doubled work hours to pay bills. Some feared they would expose grandparents to the virus. Families lost businesses.

“That’s a burden that’s incredible for anybody to have, much less for a 15-year-old to deal with,” Thornburg said. “You can’t teach a child who’s completely freaking out about, ‘Are we going to lose our home?’ That was eye-opening.”

Join CCSSO’s Webisode on Mitigating Learning Loss: Leveraging Teacher Candidates as Assets During COVID-19

Teacher smiling with arms crossed in a classroomAs students and teachers continue to navigate remote and hybrid learning environments, many are feeling overwhelmed. Parents and teachers are worried about the learning loss that has already and continues to occur during the pandemic. District staff are trying to address budget and service delivery uncertainty posed by the COVID-19 crisis. All of these factors may minimize important opportunities for collaboration between educator preparation programs and school districts. However, the repeated pandemic theme of getting through this together may be the key to addressing some of these challenges. Through collaboration with P-12 teachers, teacher candidates can assist in remote and hybrid learning in several ways to include co-teaching and one-on-one student support.

To discuss these opportunities for collaboration and to share examples of how teacher candidates are supporting teachers during this crisis, CCSSO is hosting a webisode on Mitigating Learning Loss: Leveraging Teacher Candidates as Assets During COVID-19. This webisode will feature key recommendations and discussion around the joint issue brief from CEEDAR, the Center for Great Teachers and Leaders at AIR, and AACTE released this summer: Addressing Shortages of Educators in an Uncertain COVID-19 Landscape: Viewing Teacher Candidates as Assets.

Clinically Rich Programs in New York: Early Childhood Urban Education Initiative at the Bank Street Graduate School of Education

This article is part of a series on clinically rich teacher preparation in New York State, coordinated by Prepared To Teach at Bank Street College. The text is adapted from their latest report, Making Teacher Preparation Policy Work: Lessons From and For New York, and shared by the featured institution.

Teacher working with young childrenBank Street Graduate School of Education is a small, progressive institution in New York City, founded in 1916. Bank Street has a long history of pioneering innovative, inclusive education programs, dating back to the founding of Head Start.

One of Bank Street’s newest programs—the Early Childhood Urban Education Initiative—helps uncredentialed early childhood educators in under-resourced New York City neighborhoods complete their certification and earn master’s degrees while remaining employed in their existing early childhood classrooms.

The educators who enroll in the program often come from the communities in which they teach and, as they progress through the rigorous program, they are able to bring their knowledge and skills to bear on the students in their classrooms, the organizations in which they are housed, and the community overall.  By completing a master’s degree and obtaining their certification, participants in this initiative gain access to a wider set of professional opportunities.

WGU North Carolina Signs Agreement with Bladen County Schools

This article originally appeared in the Bladenonline.com and is reprinted with permission.

WGU North Carolina, an affiliate of online nonprofit Western Governors University (WGU), has signed an agreement with Bladen County Schools to help Teacher Assistants (TAs) advance their careers by earning bachelor’s degrees and teacher certifications. Bladen County Schools TAs who enroll 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.

TAs will have access to WGU career services resources and events, and WGU North Carolina staff will be available to participate in any virtual or in-person education/benefits fairs, seminars, and presentations offered by the school system.

WGU’s Teachers College is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP).

Additionally, all Bladen County Schools employees are eligible to apply for WGU Institutional Partner Scholarships valued at $2,000 ($500 per six-month term, renewable for up to four terms). Tuition is around $3,250 per six-month term for most undergraduate degree programs.

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