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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.

Clinically Rich Programs in New York: Syracuse City School District/SUNY Oswego Teacher Residency Partnership

Teacher working with young studentsThis 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.

Syracuse, New York is home to a longstanding residency partnership between SUNY Oswego and Syracuse City School District (SCSD). The district and university first developed the residency with resources obtained through New York State’s Clinically Rich Teacher Preparation Pilot in 2012.

When planning for the residency, partners recognized a particularly promising model inside the master’s level Childhood Education program. By placing residents inside schools as cohorts, committing substantive faculty time to those same schools, and providing time inside the school day for planning, collaboration, and reflection between residents and mentor teachers teams, and between those teams and program faculty, the residency model has become more than a high-quality preparation pathway for teacher candidates—it’s a part of each school’s culture and approach to strengthened teaching and learning inside its classrooms. “We’ve seen the residency model evolve over time as we plan, collaborate, and adjust our approaches, which allows us to be responsive to new goals and identified needs at the university or district level,” says Associate Dean Kristen Munger.

OSPI and University of Washington’s Haring Center Expand Inclusionary Practice Project to Include Preschools

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Haring Center for Inclusive Education

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Haring Center for Inclusive Education at the University of Washington announced that they are expanding their Inclusionary Practice Project (IPP) to include preschools across the state. This work is part of a statewide effort to help more schools to adopt a culture of inclusion.

“When we meaningfully include students with disabilities in general education settings with their peers, all students see improved academic and social outcomes,” said Glenna Gallo, assistant superintendent of special education at OSPI.

In Washington, 49.7% of students with disabilities are participating in early childhood classes separate from their peers. Further, Washington is currently one of the least inclusive states, ranking 44th in the nation.

Clinically Rich Programs in New York: Western New York Teacher Residency at Canisius College Rich

Prepared to TeachThis 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.

In the fall of 2018, Canisius College developed the Western New York Teacher Residency Program (WNYTR).  The two-year, graduate level program is designed to prepare skilled teachers who are committed to teaching in Buffalo schools, especially schools with high poverty rates and few resources.

In the planning phase of WNYTR, representatives from five partner schools, seeking a pipeline of well-prepared, diverse teachers, met regularly with College administrators and faculty to discuss the design of the program and align the curriculum to eight Canisius Resident Practices, including, for example, eliciting and interpreting student thinking; supporting students across their social, emotional, and academic needs; and designing/adapting appropriate student lessons and assessments.

After spending a year planning for this program’s launch, there was deep and mutual commitment to the goals and objectives of the program moving into the resident selection process.

PDK Releases Blueprint to Grow Your Own Program

PDK

In collaboration with national experts including AACTE, Phi Delta Kappa International (PDK) has released a Blueprint to Establishing a Place-Based Grow Your Own Program to support growth in the teaching profession. According to PDK, “Grow your own programs recruit students from their current high school population to enter educator pathway programs. Districts and states then partner with local educator preparation programs to offer enrollment incentives to students, keeping them close to home so that they will return as teachers to the classrooms where they currently learn.” 

As our nation’s schools are increasingly diverse, our teaching workforce must reflect the communities in which they serve. This step-by-step Blueprint provides the context and the guiding principles to support local leaders who seek to grow their own teaching pool from within their diverse eco-system.

College of Education’s US PREP Adds Nine New University-School Partnerships

This article originally appeared in the Texas Tech Today and is reprinted with permission.

The University-School Partnerships for the Renewal of Educator Preparation National Center (US PREP) was launched in December 2015 with the intention of creating partnerships that would focus on teacher preparation and student success. The center, part of Texas Tech University‘s College of Education, started with just six partnerships in a handful of states and has grown over the years to include partners from coast to coast.

Now, US PREP is expanding again, with the addition of a third cohort of nine university-school partners. The addition brings the total number of partnerships to 21, including higher education institutions and school districts in Texas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York and Oregon. The center also has ramped up its virtual training and resources—already a part of what it provides to institutions and teacher candidates—to help partners navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting shift to virtual learning for teacher candidates and the students they will eventually lead in their own classrooms.

UCF Consortium hosts Virtual Professional Learning Community sessions in response to COVID 19

Consortium for Future Educators @ UCF

The past several months have gone by in a blur for the world as rushed plans were created in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. There were many questions that surrounded education. How would we transition to an online learning platform? How would we ensure all students had equal access to devices and the internet? How would we reach students’ social-emotional needs?

Another challenge facing school districts was how to best support teachers. The short turnaround time that brick and mortar districts had to transition into online schools was a daunting task! How would professional development be facilitated? How would the delivery be and when/how would they require teachers to complete the training?

Student Teachers Learned Intense Lessons Under COVID-19

 This article originally appeared in The Free Press and is reprinted with permission.

Jean Harr

While the pandemic has brought disruption to daily lives, it has reminded us of the important role teachers play in their students’ lives. Teachers are hardworking, dedicated and effective. Recently, the irreplaceable nature of their work has been reaffirmed by millions of students and their parents.

Teachers not only promote learning, help students make connections and nurture their confidence, they also selflessly contribute to preparing the next generation of educators.

Minnesota State University has been preparing teachers for over 150 years and has had a long history of collaboration with its PK-12 partnership school districts. The university and the partnering school districts blend in-depth preparation with relevant practices and authentic experiences to ensure teacher candidates are prepared to meet the learning needs of all students.

Apply for Teacher Quality Partnership Grant

Federal Register - TQP
The U.S. Department of Education (Department) released its Notice of Intent to Apply (NIA) for the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) Grant Program through the Federal Register. (Please note that the full details of the application are included in the NIA.) For Fiscal Year 2020, the TQP grant program received a $7 million dollar increase from the Congress, raising the program to a $50.1 million funding level. (Thank you to all who advocate with AACTE in support of this program and increasing its funding!)

The TQP program is the only federal initiative dedicated to strengthening and transforming educator preparation at institutions of higher education while meeting the workforce needs of partner high-need schools and school districts. Designed for either undergraduate or graduate programs, teacher candidates will be prepared to teach in high-need fields and serve in high-need schools. For the graduate level TQP programs, grantees develop teacher residency programs. Grantees are required to provide at least 2 years of induction for program graduates and provide professional development to faculty and staff at the schools where the graduates are teaching.

WGU North Carolina Signs Agreement with Rowan-Salisbury School System

WGU North Carolina | Rowan-Salisbury School System

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 3 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.

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.

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