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High-Quality Principal Learning Programs Associated with Improved Outcomes

As state leaders continue to weigh the best use of federal funding to improve education in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a major new research report by the Learning Policy Institute and The Wallace Foundation underscores the importance of federal, state, and district policies that foster the availability and quality of principal preparation and professional development programs. The research finds that the preparation and professional development a school principal receives not only shapes their efficacy as a leader, but are also associated with positive outcomes for teachers and students.

Belmont University Announces New Partnership to Recruit and Train Math Teacher

Belmont University logoIn partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education and local public school districts, Belmont University announced a new initiative to recruit, train and support the next generation of mathematics teachers in the Midstate region.

The newly established Belmont University Math Teacher Residency will leverage partnerships with area school systems — including in several rural communities — to enable high-quality potential candidates to become mathematics teachers in secondary schools across Middle Tennessee. 

With $2 million in grant funding awarded to Belmont University through a competitive state grant process, the program will place each teacher candidate in an in-school “residency” — a paid educational position in a classroom where they will learn from and receive support from an experienced mentor teacher. Concurrently, candidates will enroll in high-quality, intensive online coursework at Belmont, deepening their content knowledge and learning effective pedagogical strategies. Belmont professors will work alongside candidates’ mentor teachers to ensure that instruction has immediate and meaningful classroom application.

Illinois State University Coordinates State Tutoring Initiative

This article originally appeared on Illinois State University website and is reprinted with permission.

Teacher working in the classroom with young students

Illinois State University (ISU) is coordinating the Illinois Tutoring Initiative in partnership with the Governor’s Office, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), and the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB). The program will provide tutoring for approximately 8,500 Illinois students during the two-year period. This is one of four state initiatives aimed at learning renewal following COVID disruptions in schooling.

Six institutional partners across the state including ISU, Governor’s State University, Illinois Central College, Northern Illinois University, Southeastern Illinois Community College, and Southern Illinois University, manage tutoring in their area of the state.

How are You Using ESSER Funds to Address Educator Shortages in Your Community?

AACTE has heard about several educator preparation programs and local school districts partnering together to utilize Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds to help address the teacher shortage in their communities. Now, we want to hear from you. Please take a moment to complete this short survey to share how you are using ESSER funds to place teacher candidates in local classrooms to help with the transition back to in-person learning.

Texas State University Students Surprised with $20,000 Stipends

Texas State University students

Texas State University students participating in the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) approved teacher residency program at Lockhart Independent School District (LSD) were surprised with $20,000 annual stipends awarded during a special event on Jan. 18 at Clear Fork Elementary.

The stipends, in the form of oversized checks, were presented to a cohort of 17 Texas State students who are embedded in Lockhart ISD for a full year, working with mentor teachers and engaging with students. The funds are meant to support the students financially while they are working in the residency program.

App State to open lab school at Elkin Elementary

This article originally appeared on the Appalachian Today website.

Appalachian State University is partnering with Elkin City Schools to open the university’s second laboratory school aimed at enhancing student education, improving outcomes,and providing high-quality teacher and principal training.

Under the plan — which was developed in collaboration with Elkin City Schools leaders and approved by the Elkin City Schools Board of Education on Dec. 13, 2021 — a lab school will open at Elkin Elementary School in August. The “school-within-a-school” model will serve approximately 100 students in second through fourth grades.

New Podcast Episode: Districts and Programs Collaborate in Commitment to Equity

Principal preparation programs serve two major consumers: the candidate’s that enter their programs and the districts that hire them. Therefore, it is essential to align program redesign efforts to district needs, which we have learned vary across the state. In episode four of AACTE’s new University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI) Podcast series chronicling the Wallace Foundation multi-year principal program redesign initiative, Franciso Edobedo, superintendent of the Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD), located in southern San Diego County, shares what superintendents are looking for in principals and other school leaders entering the field. Also featured is Douglas Fisher, professor and chair of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University, who discusses why and how prep programs should work with districts like CVESD.  Their collaboration led to various redesign improvements over the course of Wallace’s UPPI Initiative, but this episode dives deeper into how they were able to share, evaluate ,and act on data through an equitable lens.

Listen now to Episode 4: Districts and Programs Collaborate in Commitment to Equity

Local Alabama Program Shows Promise in Putting More Black, Male Teachers in Classrooms

This article originally appeared on AL.com and is reprinted with permission.

When Wesley Lindsey first met his fourth-grade student, the boy, who is also Black, was reading on a preschool level.

Other teachers had referred the student to special education numerous times and wouldn’t even let him walk in the hallway alone due to behavioral problems.

From fall to spring, Lindsey managed to coach the young boy to nearly a third-grade level. The behavior problems stopped, and the student started mimicking Lindsey in the classroom, telling other students to quiet down and do their work.

Mississippi Public Universities Help Mississippi Children Succeed in the Classroom

Mississipi Public Universities

Mississippi Public Universities support the state’s children and K-12 schools across the state in numerous ways. In addition to preparing the teaching workforce through the education academic degree programs, the universities support teachers, students, and schools through outreach efforts ranging from a partnership school for middle school students located on a university campus to a clinic housed at a high school to help teens stay well so they can perform at their best in the classroom and beyond.

The Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program (METP) is a collaboration between the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University to attract top-performing students into the education profession with full financial support, travel abroad opportunities and invaluable professional incentives. METP aims to increase the import—and reduce the export—of talented educators to create a pipeline of new teachers committed to Mississippi’s future. All students who enter the program make a five-year commitment to teach in Mississippi after graduation. Funded by the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation of Jackson, METP is designed to create a unique “honors college-style” learning experience for high-achieving education students and promote collaboration between students and faculty at both universities.

Teaching Residents in unique Detroit School Program Find Medical-Like Mentoring Model

During a two-day visit to the U-M campus, the inaugural class of Marygrove students worked together on problem-solving and engineering projects. Image credit: Heather Nash

Discussions around the fall return to in-person school after more than a year of remote learning largely focused on the general impact on K-12 children and veteran teachers. But little had been said about new first-time teachers whose critical year of classroom-based training was spent learning how to teach on a computer.

Isra Elshafei, a teacher at the School at Marygrove in Detroit, is grateful for a unique teaching residency program that offers additional support and mentoring she doubts others who completed student teaching online during the pandemic are getting.

Strengthening the Educator Workforce: The Importance of Pre-K–12 Partnerships

AACTE and EdPrepLab logosStrong pre-K–12 partnerships are vital to high quality educator preparation. To ensure a diverse, effective, and sustainable educator workforce, it is important that preparation programs and district partners develop and nurture authentic, reciprocal partnerships. These cross-institutional relationships are more important than ever in the wake of the isolation and disruption caused by the pandemic. Effective partnerships are complex and require intentional structures, dedicated resources, and shared goals and values.

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.

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