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California Rural Schools Struggling To Hire Teachers Could Get Help from $9.4 Million In Grants

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.

AACTE Partners with EdPrepLab on Webinar Series

AACTE and EdPrepLab logos

AACTE is excited to partner with the Educator Preparation Laboratory (EdPrepLab), an initiative of the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) and Bank Street College of Education, to bring a series of webinars to members. Educator preparation programs across the country can access AACTE and EdPrepLab resources to support their teaching, research, and policy in higher education.

In this series of webinars, our members will hear from member institutions, stakeholders, scholars, practitioners, and policymakers as presenters dive into topics that will include addressing social emotional learning, cultural competence, creating inclusive classroom and school environments, and teacher residency models.

We hope you will register for our first webinar on Social and Emotional Learning, Cultural Competence, and Equity in Teacher Preparation that will take place on November 14 at 3:00 p.m ET. The panel of experts include:

$5.3M Federal Grant Will Help Stem Majors Become Georgia Middle Grades Teachers

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the Southern Regional Education Board a $5.3 million, 5-year Teacher Quality Partnership grant to create a residency-based teacher preparation program with Georgia College & State University.

The Georgia Residency for Educating Amazing Teachers will recruit undergraduate STEM majors who aspire to become middle grades math and science teachers. They will complete an online Master of Arts in Teaching during a year-long residency—practice teaching supervised by a mentor-teacher— in a high-needs middle grades classroom.

Rural school districts served by the Oconee Regional Education Service Agency in central Georgia will be the primary partners for hosting the residents in classrooms. SREB and Georgia College will support mentor-teachers and residents with coaching and specialized training on topics like project-based learning.

Over the course of the grant, 60 students will become fully certified to teach middle grades math or science in Georgia; some will also complete a computer science endorsement.

The newly certified teachers will then teach in a local school for two years with support from mentor-teachers and SREB instructional coaches. Participants agree to teach in their assigned schools for one year beyond this two-year induction period.

National Principals Month: Honoring Our Nation’s Principals

October is National Principals Month —a month to honor our nation’s principals and the important work they do leading schools. Led by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), and the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA), this annual celebration recognizes our nation’s principals for their tireless dedication to their students and the schools they serve.

To effectively lead a school, today’s principal must fulfill the role of instructional leader and create the learning conditions to support teaching and learning. To do this, principals are in classrooms, observing instruction, engaging with teachers in the nuts-and-bolts of leading learning communities, and connecting teachers with professional learning opportunities. Thus, principals are now more than ever multipliers of effective teaching and possess an enormous capacity to impact student achievement.

Simply put: You can’t have a great school without a great principal. Whether it’s supporting their teachers, ensuring students have access to nutritious meals, or making parents and families feel engaged and welcome their child’s school, principals make it happen.

Despite the many rewarding aspects of the principalship and its importance in improving teaching quality and boosting student outcomes,

School of Education Receives $40K Grant to Continue Partnership with Berkeley County

Kristin Williams, Charles Town; Susan Stambaugh, Martinsburg; Kayla Shultz, Falling Waters; and Alexis Shearer, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania  Shepherd University’s School of Education received a $40,635 grant from the West Virginia Department of Education to continue working with five Berkeley County Schools providing professional development and to start a pilot program in which a select group of Shepherd student teachers spend the entire school year in a Berkeley County elementary school.

“The teacher candidate goes in from day one and works with the mentor teacher in co-planning, co-teaching, and co-assessing,” said Dori Hargrove, Shepherd’s elementary specialization coordinator. “By being involved from the first day, the teacher candidate gets a better understanding of all the decisions that go into planning. It helps the teacher candidate feel more prepared and helps the mentor teacher learn new strategies.”

Four Shepherd elementary education majors are participating in the pilot program—Kristin Williams, Charles Town; Susan Stambaugh, Martinsburg; Kayla Shultz, Falling Waters; and Alexis Shearer, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. The typical length of time for student teaching is 14 weeks; however, the four are co-teaching in a school the entire year.

Educators help dual-language learners through the IMPACT-PD grant

Teacher pointing at words on blackboardThe IMPACT-PD grant—Improving Preschoolers’ Acquisition of Language through Coaching Teachers and Professional Development—is playing an integral role in providing preschool educators the tools they need to help their students develop proficiency in English as a second language.

The United States Department of Education National Professional grant, funded by the Office of English Language Acquisition, aims to provide educators with professional development opportunities for improving instruction of dual-language learners in preschool.

The IMPACT-PD program, a partnership between the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education, focuses on four goals to further training and education to children learning English early in life:

JSU Creates Teacher Prep Program with Southern Union State Community College

JSU and Southern Union State Community College are joining force
JSU and Southern Union State Community College are joining forces to provide a smoother route to an early childhood or elementary education degree through the newly established Teacher Prep program.

Teacher Prep creates opportunities for Southern Union students to seamlessly enter JSU’s School of Education through concurrent enrollment. Students are able to earn college credit simultaneously at the community college and university level, placing students on a quicker and more cost-effective pathway to receiving an associate’s degree and a

Tips From PSU on Navigating an Inclusive Educator Prep Program

Representatives from PSUAs the student population has diversified so has our understanding of the general education classroom, specifically who we serve in an inclusive setting. Our students with special education services are learning the majority of their grade level curriculum in general education classrooms. This paradigm shift requires effective collaboration between service providers and teachers as well as a deep understanding and application of differentiation to meet the needs of all students.

For years, the two fields of general education and special education have been siloed. Persistence and partnership is how 

Respond to the Needs of Immediate Communities, Advises BGSU

Teacher in front of classroom of studentsThe key to developing the Bowling Green State University (BGSU) dual licensure program is reaching out to the local area to ensure the program is built with the local needs at the forefront. “The local data is how the university can drive change,” recalls a district leader. Faculty also believe collaboration with the district is central to their mission and their success with candidates. Making connections with the field office and the supervising teachers ensured faculty could relate what candidates were seeing in the field to what they were learning in their coursework.

University systems must also be taken into consideration, especially when working across colleges and across departments. Two questions drove the BGSU program leadership as they developed their dual licensure program: What is best for our students in this program? An what is best for this program? One significant concern was finding strong clinical placements for each teacher candidate. The success of a program with hundreds of teacher candidates rested with strong clinical partnerships.

Finally, serving all students that walk into the classroom was the priority when developing the dual licensure program at BGSU. “This wasn’t an experiment, this is the way BGSU does business,” reflected a faculty member. It was a choice to move away from single licensure that, over time, changes the makeup of the district teaching population, which is why district leaders were involved at every step in the program development.

To learn more, watch the Advice to Others video highlighting BGSU’s Models of Inclusive Clinical Teacher Preparation, part of AACTE’s Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series.

Guilford County Schools draws in, trains new teachers with Teacher Quality Partnership

This article originally appeared on Fox 8 News and is reprinted with permission.

The Guilford County School District is getting more teachers with the help of a new program.

Guilford County Schools, High Point University and North Carolina A & T State University partnered together for the Teacher Quality Partnership. It’s a federal grant that helps get highly qualified teachers into high-needs schools.

The grant awards more than $4 million to get 25 participants into an accelerated program. In this program, they will learn what they need to be an effective teacher while applying the skills simultaneously in their own classroom with the help of a mentor.

“I never thought I would be in the classroom. People have been telling me for years, ‘Oh, you’d be a great teacher,’” Rashida Queen, one of the 

Students Discuss the Value of PSU’s Secondary Dual Education Program

PSU students reflecting on their experienceA number of students in Portland State University’s (PSU) Secondary Dual Education Program (SPED) recently reflected on advice they were given before entering the graduate program. “I always want more education than less,” one teacher candidate was advised by a mentor in the field of medicine. The candidate now looks back on her experience in the program with appreciation. “I was ready. I had the resources. I had been in the classroom for two years; it felt natural. I didn’t have the same level of trepidation as some of my first year friends.”

The students who complete the PSU program graduate with a dual endorsement in a secondary education content area and special education. Another candidate reflected on the importance of serving every student in the classroom. His decision to pursue a two-year graduate program in secondary English and special education was an obvious one; it ensured he would be prepared to meet the needs of all students with a range of abilities.

The benefit of being profession-ready is not only valued by the teacher candidates. High school students also note the tremendous advantage they have when a teacher who understands the unique needs of students with IEPs is leading the classroom. In particular, college access traditionally has been stymied for students with significant disabilities. However, one high school student reflected that she has a mentor in her teacher, someone who has guided her toward college-ready curriculum. Learning from their students is another area of mutual benefit expressed by the candidates. The necessity to meet the needs of each student in the classroom is universally acknowledged by candidates, students, and administrators.

To learn more, view the What’s in it for me? video highlighting PSU’s Secondary Dual Education program, part of AACTE’s Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series.

Making the CASE for Equity in Schools

The Center for Access, Success & Equity (CASE) logoThis article originally appeared in Rowan Today and is reprinted with permission.

Even in the best school districts, obstacles to equal education and opportunities can hide far below the surface

To help districts unearth and address these issues, the Center for Access, Success and Equity (CASE) in Rowan University’s College of Education has forged equity-focused research practice partnerships with several school districts—one of CASE’s three research areas. CASE is establishing research as central to the College of Education in three ways — through partnerships with districts, through grant-funded research, and through the College’s Ph.D. program.

“I can’t speak enough about our experience with CASE,” said Piera Gravenor, superintendent of Delsea Regional School District, which has worked with CASE for the last two years.

BGSU Inclusive Early Childhood Program Builds Strong Partnerships with Local Schools

Teacher working with two young girls in classroom. Developing and sustaining partnerships with local school districts are critical to the success of the Bowling Green State University (BGSU) Inclusive Early Childhood (IEC) program. Superintendents who work with BGSU assert that all parties need to understand the challenges each school district and university face and must be willing to bridge the gap between research and clinical practice together. BGSU’s teacher candidates are deployed for clinical practice in special education at local schools including in rural areas.

“One of the pieces that works really well for us is that all of the people working in the education department at the university are parents themselves of students in our district so there’s a vested interest,” said Francis Scruci, superintendent of Bowling Green City Schools. “I think there’s a mutual respect. We certainly respect what the university does and I think they respect what we’re trying to do at the K-12 level and we understand the challenges that both of us face. We are willing to bridge that gap and try to help each other become successful.”

BGSU’s overall objective is to prepare graduates of the IEC program to teach young children with and without disabilities in inclusive settings. The IEC program blends the best practices from early childhood education with early childhood special education. It addresses the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to meet the needs of each child. Graduates of the program are prepared to provide differentiated, evidence-based instruction to young children from birth through grade 3. 

To learn more, watch the Developing and Sustaining Partnerships video highlighting BGSU’s Models of Inclusive Clinical Teacher Preparation, part of AACTE’s Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series.

Rethinking models for Engaging Communities

Chronicle of Higher Education - The Campus as City coverThe Chronicle of Higher Education recently issued a special report, “The Campus as City: Crucial Strategies to Bolster Town-Gown Relations and Run a Thriving 21st-Century Institution.” The report explores the concept of “running a city within a city”— how colleges that are often towns or cities themselves are responding to the financial challenges of staying connected to their surrounding communities to provide support and attract and engage students.

In the Chronicle’s article, How One College Went ‘All In’ in Its Neighborhood, author Scott Carlson profiles a promising partnership between one institution and its community. He writes:

Educational opportunity is vital to a thriving city. And while entrepreneurial Portland, Ore., is doing well in many respects, some neighborhoods, as anywhere, are down and out. That’s especially true on the north side, near old industrial sites, where the population is less white and Concordia University, a private liberal-arts institution, for years shared a corner with a rundown elementary and middle school.

 Continue reading the full article.