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How Minnesota is Growing Their Own Teachers

Minessota welcomes youMinnesota is home to an increasingly racially and linguistically diverse student population, yet the diversity of the state’s teacher workforce has remained stagnant. To help address this racial and linguistic match, school districts are partnering with educator preparation programs to develop and implement Grow Your Own programs that seek to recruit and prepare community-based teachers.

As outlined in a recent New America report, Minnesota is one of nine states in the country that offers a competitive GYO grant  designed to promote teacher residency programs for adult community members and opportunities for high school students to gain exposure to teaching as a career.  While the state provides funding, there are few directives about how GYO programs should be designed, reflecting the importance of local control and governance.

Turning a Crisis into an Opportunity to Invest in Teachers

Teachers and staff from UCLA Community School meet with UCLA professors to discuss the various research projects happening at the school.

“Never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” Rahm Emanuel, Former Mayor of Chicago

In the past year, our nation’s educational system faced an epic crisis brought about by the pandemic, leaving education leaders wondering when relief would be in sight. That relief arrived on March 11, 2021, when the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) was passed by Congress, allocating approximately $130 billion for the K-12 education system and nearly $40 billion for the higher education system. As the Biden-Harris administration launches into action with the massive rollout of unprecedented education funding, school districts now have the financial resources and the opportunity to collaborate with educator preparation programs (EPPs) to tackle a long-standing crisis—the shortage of professionally qualified educators.

Federal Funding Is Available for States to Address the Challenges of COVID-19

Apple, ruler and pencil on a desk with a backdrop of moneyThe American Rescue Plan Act (ARP), a law providing $122 billion for the ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER), was established to help state educational agencies and school districts address safety and sustainability concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.  Among other things, the funding provided by the measure is being used by state education systems to accelerate and sustain a safe return to in-person instruction, to expand access to vaccination for staff and students, to fund summer school and to help students cope with the loss of classroom time.   

In June of 2021, the U.S. Department of Education made public an online resource detailing how states plan to use the ARP ESSER funding. The online resource describes, for example, how New Jersey will use the funds to provide state-level support for school nurses and how New Mexico is setting up a $6 million joint program with local municipalities to provide summer internships for middle and high school students. Massachusetts will use the funds to offer summer school matching grants for school districts, and Oklahoma will use approximately $35 million to hire new school counselors, licensed mental health professionals and licensed recreational therapists.

AACTE Releases Toolkit to Help the Nation’s Schools Reopen

Educating the Future TodayPresident Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) in March, which includes $122 billion for the ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Fund. The ARP ESSER funds are intended to help state educational agencies and school districts safely reopen and address the impact of COVID-19 on the nation’s students. AACTE has developed the Educating the Future, Today toolkit to help members navigate conversations with state or local education leaders, encouraging them to use ESSER funds to staff classrooms with teacher candidates. 

These funds provide a unique opportunity for school districts and educator preparation programs to address the teacher pipeline.  As the U.S. Department of Education’s noted in its COVID-19 Handbook, Volume 2: Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students’ Needs, ARP ESSER funds can be used to staff classrooms with teacher candidates, thereby providing them with practical experience while helping alleviate the challenges teachers are encountering with the transition back to in person teaching.

PATHS to Tutor Act: Helping Students Overcome Pandemic Learning Loss

Tutor helping student

Photo by Allison Shelley for EDUimages

This thought leadership article is written by an AACTE member. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has set back learning for millions of students and exacerbated existing educational inequalities countrywide. A recent study by McKinsey Analysis found that Black, Latinx and lower-income students are less likely to have access to high-quality remote learning, resulting in their falling further behind and expanding the achievement gap by 15% to 20%. To help these students overcome pandemic learning loss, the Partnering Aspiring Teachers with High-Need Schools (PATHS) to Tutor Act was introduced on February 25 by a bipartisan group, including Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), John Cornyn (R-TX), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Susan Collins (R-ME).

Prepared to Teach and WestEd Release Three New Reports on Financially Sustainable Teacher Preparation

Prepared to Teach | WestEd logos

Prepared to Teach and WestEd have partnered on the Sustainability Project, a series of reports and interactive tools to support high-quality, financially sustainable teacher preparation. Three reports are being released this week through that project. Two are co-authored by Prepared to Teach and WestEd—Beyond Tuition, Costs of Teacher Preparation, and Going Further Together: Building Ownership and Engagement to Support High-Quality Teacher Preparation. The co-authored papers are being released simultaneously with a third piece authored by Prepared to TeachDollars and Sense: Federal Investments in Our Educator Workforce.

AACTE members know that aspiring teachers need high-quality, affordable options for teacher preparation—and research has shown that when candidates from diverse backgrounds have access to excellent programs, everyone benefits. Graduates of these programs stay in the classroom for longer and are more well-prepared than their peers who become teachers through faster, less rigorous pathways to the classroom.[1]

App State Leads Nation in Certified Teachers for 5th Consecutive Year

For the fifth consecutive year, Appalachian State University leads the nation for the number of its Reich College of Education (RCOE) alumni who are National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT).

The national certification is based on a rigorous performance-based assessment that typically takes from one to three years to complete and measures what accomplished teachers and counselors should know and be able to do.

The university topped the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards’ list of “Top 50 Alma Maters by Total Number of NBCTs” for 2020, with 2,178 alumni having earned the national credential to date.

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.”

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