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Preparing Secondary Educators for an Inclusive Classroom

Portland State University’s Graduate School of Education offers a unique, two-year, full-time master’s degree in secondary dual education. In 2014, the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and the Department of Special Education joined together to meet the need of the surrounding communities to increase the number of teachers who are skilled in effective practices for a variety of students. Graduates of the program are equipped to implement inclusive and equitable practices.

“The secondary dual education program in the Graduate School of Education really represents, I think, innovation, collaboration, and equity and inclusion at its highest levels,” says Marvin Lynn, dean of the Graduate School of Education at Portland State University. This particular program was born out of need to ensure all teachers are meeting the needs of all students in the classroom. The emphasis on diversity and equity is part of the Graduate School of Education’s strategic mission as an access university.

Teacher Professional Identity and Learner Engagement

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Can there be something within a teacher’s professional identity that enables them to better engage their students? If so, what are some ways an educator can shape their professional identity to more effectively engage their students in content and skill development?

Education researchers (Salli & Osam, 2018) suggest that a teacher’s professional identity is a balance between both teaching strategies and the teacher’s interactions with students. A person’s identity is made up of several unique perspectives (I-positions), working both separately and in harmony with one another to effect one’s decisions and actions in a given situation (Meijers & Hermans, 2018). I-positions are made up of a person’s past experiences, and each I-position then assumes a role within the person’s identity. When a person encounters a new situation, several I-positions may be activated at the same time and through dialogic interaction, either collaborate or form tension with each other in order for the person to make a decision and act within that situation.

The collaboration and tension among I-positions is where a person’s identity is formed or grows.

Increasing Effective and Dynamic Inclusive Early Childhood Education Teachers


Bowling Green State University’s innovated Inclusive Early Childhood Education program seeks to address the need for teacher candidates to be well prepared to enter the classroom. BGSU recognized the importance of shifting their program to assist their teacher candidates in garnering the necessary teaching practices for a changing classroom environment. “We certainly have a wide array of learners with very diverse needs and one the things that this program helps us do is to ensure that we are graduating teachers that are ready to meet the needs of all those learners,” says Dawn Shinew, dean of the College of Education and Human Development at Bowling Green State University.

Every year, BGSU places over 900 teachers through 88 different partnerships with school districts throughout Ohio, which include both urban and rural districts and social service agencies. Teachers are expected to continue taking coursework during their clinical placements to ensure there is a connection among their coursework and their teacher training in the field. More importantly, BGSU believes teacher candidates should be exposed to the fieldwork earlier than what more traditional programs prescribe. Whereas other, more traditional programs place teacher candidates as student-teachers in their senior year of undergraduate studies, BGSU starts placing juniors in clinical settings with the hope to increase their exposure to their career and receive additional training in a variety of education settings, including special education and inclusive classrooms.  

JTE Author Insights: Measuring Secondary Math and Science Residents


Read the latest 
JTE Insider blog interview by the Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) editorial team. This blog is available to the public, and AACTE members have free access to the articles in the JTE online archives—just log in with your AACTE profile.

This interview features insights from the article “Measuring Teaching Quality of Secondary Mathematics and Science Residents: A Classroom Observation Framework” by Imelda Nava, Jaime Park, Danny Dockterman, Jarod Kawasaki, Jon Schweig, Karen Hunter Quartz, and José Felipe Martínez. The article was published in the March/April 2019 issue of the Journal of Teacher Education.

AACTE Selects 10 Institutions for Networked Improvement Community Around Special Education Teacher Shortage


AACTE received nearly 50 applications from preparation programs across the country to participate in the Reducing the Shortage of Special Education Teachers Networked Improvement Community supported by the CEEDAR Center! The AACTE Reducing the Shortage of Special Education Teachers Networked Improvement Community (NIC) aims to address the problem of the shortage and lack of diversity of fully prepared and credentialed special education teachers in public schools across the nation.

AACTE is proud to be partnering with the following member institutions in reducing the special education teacher shortage:

Cleveland State University
Eastern Michigan University
Texas State University
University of Central Florida
University of Nebraska at Omaha
University of Northern Colorado
University of Oregon
University of Wisconsin at Madison
Virginia State University
Western Kentucky University

New Research-to-Practice Spotlight Videos Feature Bowling Green and Portland State Universities


AACTE identified and documented two exemplary teacher preparation programs that ensure all of their candidates are ready to work with all students, including students with disabilities. We are pleased to feature a set of videos from each program documenting how they implement curriculum for dual certification (general education and special education) and feature extensive clinical preparation.

Bowling Green State University’s undergraduate Inclusive Early Childhood Program and Portland State University’s Secondary Dual Education Program support new and beginning teachers in teaching in inclusive classrooms. Both programs lead to certifications in general and special education. “These institutions ensure that all educators have the skills to work with students with disabilities in the 21st century,” said AACTE Consultant Jane West, “School districts scramble to hire these outstanding students, as they come with the mindset and the skillset to be effective with all students.”

Apply to join AACTE’s Special Education Teacher Shortage NIC


AACTE is now accepting applications from member institutions to join a new networked improvement community (NIC) focused on special education teacher recruitment and retention.

The shortage of special education teachers and the lack of diversity among all teachers have been well documented. Half of all schools and 90% of high-poverty schools struggle to find qualified special education teachers.

The aim of this NIC is to positively impact the special education teacher shortage and the lack of diversity in the special education teacher workforce in public schools. Participating institutions will identify a range of best practices related to increasing enrollment, strengthening partnerships with P-12 schools, and retaining special education teachers.

Read more about this new initiative on our website and in the Reducing the Shortage of Special Education Teachers NIC Charter.

Applications are due on April 1, 2019.  Member institutions will be selected through a structured review process and notified in late April of 2019. An introductory virtual meeting will be held in May of 2019, and the first in-person convening will be held in the fall of 2019.

AACTE to form Special Education Networked Improvement Community (NIC)

AACTE will launch a Networked Improvement Community focused on Special Education Teacher Recruitment and Retention in May of 2019. The NIC will investigate strategies to address the persistent shortages in the field of special education.

The shortage of special education teachers and the lack of diversity among all teachers have been well documented. Half of all schools and 90% of high-poverty schools struggle to find qualified special education teachers. Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia report special education teacher shortages. However, special education teacher shortages are not evenly distributed across the country. Generally, high poverty areas—both urban and rural—are most likely to experience the most severe teacher shortages, including those in special education. States vary in the degree of shortage they experience.

AACTE Initiatives in Special Education Preparation Take Flight

AACTE is a national partner for the University of Florida’s Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR) Center, which helps states and institutions of higher education to develop the ability of every teacher to prepare students with disabilities for college and careers. As a federally funded multi-million dollar project, CEEDAR works with AACTE and others to promote the preparation of all educators to have the mindset and skillset for effectively instructing students with disabilities along with all other students in the mainstream classroom.

“This initiative is about ensuring that all educators have the skills to work effectively with students with disabilities,” said AACTE Consultant Jane West, who leads the Association’s work with CEEDAR. “Special education has too often been considered a place and not a service. We are highlighting and promoting preparation for both general and special educators so they can provide effective instruction to students with disabilities in inclusive ways with an eye toward raising expectations and undermining the stigmatizing of students with disabilities.”

Study: Secondary Math Teacher Candidates Need More Preparation in Statistics

Have you seen the JTE Insider blog managed by the Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) editorial team? Check out the following interview with the authors of a recent article. This blog is available to the public, and AACTE members have free access to the articles themselves in the full JTE archives online – just log in with your AACTE profile here.

This interview features insights from the article “New Standards Require Teaching More Statistics: Are Preservice Secondary Mathematics Teachers Ready?” written by Jennifer N. Lovett of Middle Tennessee State University and Hollylynne S. Lee of North Carolina State University. The article, which appears in the May/June issue of JTE, is summarized in the following abstract:

Using NICs to Engage More Minority Males in STEM Learning

A member of the North Carolina A&T State University team shares its work during the May event at Morgan State University.
Abiodun Fasoro of Central State University discusses his campus’ minority male STEM program during the Verizon Innovative Learning Showcase.

Last month, I had the privilege of participating in the Building a Networked Improvement Community Around Engaging Minority Males in STEM Workshop at Morgan State University. The workshop focused on advancing the work of the Early STEM Engagement for Minority Males (eSEM) Initiative, a network of 16 minority-serving institutions (MSIs).

Led by Morgan State and in partnership with Verizon Innovative Learning Programs, SRI Education, the National CARES Mentoring Network, and local school districts, eSEM is a growing collaborative seeking to address STEM achievement challenges and improve outcomes for middle school minority male students through the development of a Networked Improvement Community (NIC). The initiative is supported through grants from the National Science Foundation and includes the following universities:

NCTQ Offers Mixed Reviews of Undergraduate Secondary Teacher Prep

Today, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released the second installment of its now-segmented Teacher Prep Review, this time grading undergraduate programs preparing secondary teachers based on a document review of their admission standards, content requirements, and field experiences.

Out of the 717 programs reviewed across the country, the new report says “adequate” content knowledge requirements are in place in approximately 81% of programs for candidates in the sciences and in 65% of social studies programs, while nearly all programs provide adequate preparation for English and math teachers. About three quarters of the evaluated programs require subject-specific methods courses, and less than half of those require student teaching in connection with that course work.

Celebrate National Principals Month This October

The month of October is known for colorful trees, last-minute election campaigning, and ubiquitous pumpkin-spice flavoring. But it’s also National Principals Month, a time designated to recognize school leaders in your programs, in your neighborhood, and around the country. Please join AACTE in celebrating their leadership and partnership on behalf of student and teacher development!

National Principals Month gives us the opportunity to honor and reflect on the contributions of principals and the importance of preparing them well. Marked by national and state resolutions, formal awards and recognitions, and other official acknowledgments, this celebration allows us to say “thank you” to principals across the nation.

Stories of Impact: University of Nevada, Reno Responds to Local Workforce Needs

Ed Prep Matters is featuring “Stories of Impact” to showcase AACTE member institutions with educator preparation programs that are making a positive impact in their communities and beyond through innovative practices. We are committed to sharing members’ success stories and encourage you to do the same.

Teacher shortage is an issue nationwide but especially in Nevada, where 955 classrooms were without licensed teachers at the start of the 2015-16 school year. Now with engineering and technology giants Tesla and Switch establishing a strong presence in northern Nevada, top-quality teachers are in more demand than ever in our community.

AACTE Applauds Committee Passage of Every Child Achieves Act

AACTE applauds the leadership of U.S. Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) on the unanimous, bipartisan passage of the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 (ECA). AACTE is pleased with the committee’s progress on the long overdue reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

The bill moves away from the "test and punish" strategy that evolved from the implementation of the current version of ESEA, known as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. While the bill retains the requirement for annual assessments disaggregated by subgroups, it leaves states, schools, teachers, and parents to determine what to do about the results of those assessments. AACTE believes students would benefit from stronger accountability for subgroup results, but overall, the bill makes important bipartisan progress toward fixing a broken law.