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Doing Community

The Joy and trepidation of Attending In-Person Convenings and Conferences

This article originally appeared on Inside Higher Ed and is reprinted with permission.

Mary ChurchillWe often use the word “community” as a noun, but lately I have been thinking a lot about the process of doing community, especially as we tentatively and cautiously return to in-person convenings and conferences.

I lead our college’s participation in the AACTE Special Ed NIC (the field of education loves acronyms). Spelled out, that stands for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education Reducing the Shortage of Special Education Teachers Networked Improvement Community. I realize that is a mouthful. Let’s start with the NIC part. So, what exactly is a networked improvement community? The short definition is an “intentionally designed social organization, each with a distinct problem-solving focus.” A major component and benefit of a NIC is being in community and working together, doing community.

You’re Invited: Join Community Focused on Innovative Use Educational Technology

Various graphs and connectivity points  against boy using a virtual reality deviceThe Center for Innovation, Design, and Digital Learning (CIDDL) is inviting you to join a community of higher education faculty members focused on sharing tips and tricks, research-based practices, and strategies for innovative use of educational technology in educator or leadership preparation programs. CIDDL’s mission is to influence change that supports the appropriate use of educational technology in all early intervention/early childhood special education (EI/ECSE), related services, and K-12 learning environments to improve outcomes for all students, especially those with disabilities.

UTEP Bolsters Support for Special Ed, School Counseling Students

 

A quartet of educators from UTEP’s Department of Educational Psychology and Special Services earned a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to finance the education of 48 individuals who want to become K-12 counselors or special education teachers, as well as to develop technology-enhanced curricula and methods for greater collaborations. The members of Project BLESSED are, from left, Carleton Brown, Beverley Argus-Calvo, Anjanette Todd and Kristopher Yeager. Brown and Yeager are the co-principal investigators. Photo: Ivan Pierre Aguirre / UTEP Marketing and Communications

The University of Texas at El Paso is strengthening its support for school counseling and special education graduate students thanks to a five-year $1.1 million grant from The U.S. Department of Education. The award enhances the University’s ability to help these students finance their education and gives them access to enhanced technical instruction and supervision support.

House Passes Build Back Better Act, All Eyes on Senate

Unites States CapitolThis blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide updated information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE. 

Democrats in Congress are taking a victory lap as they leave town for a weeklong Thanksgiving recess next week. With House passage of the Build Back Better Act, the Biden agenda is one step closer to enactment. But the Senate will have the final say. 

House Passes Build Back Better Bill – At Last 

After weeks of fraught negotiations, and multiple postponed votes, the House finally passed the Build Back Better Act (the reconciliation bill) this morning.  One Democrat (Rep. Jared Golden of Maine) sided with all Republicans opposing the bill. This left the Democrats with the slim margin they needed to cross the finish line.

UofL Doctoral Student Pursues Degree to ‘Prepare the World’ for Students with Autism

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

Lorita RowlettLorita Rowlett, like so many students, wears a variety of hats: mother, teacher and student, to name a few.

Rowlett is pursuing her doctoral degree in special education through the College of Education and Human Development and says it is the only path she could have imagined pursuing.

“After I graduated with my bachelor’s degree, I went right into teaching and taught in a self-contained classroom for eight years,” Rowlett said. “I switched to special education because I have a son who was diagnosed with autism, so it became my life. I wanted to help other moms like me.”

Initially inspired to improve the curriculum and instruction for students in her own classroom, Rowlett returned to UofL to receive her master’s degree in special education with a focus in autism studies.

Biden Budget Proposal is Historic High-Water Mark for Education Funding

Medal for achievement in education with diploma, hat and books standing on stack of coins on gray backgroundThis blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide updated information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE. 

Biden- Harris Administration Unveils Massive Budget with Historic Investments in Education

On the Friday before the long-awaited Memorial Day holiday, just as Members of Congress were headed home and the rest of us were finalizing our plans for the long weekend, the White House unveiled the complete version of the Biden-Harris Administration’s full budget proposal for FY 2022.

The budget proposal calls for $102.8 billion for the Department of Education—a $29.8 billion or 41% increase to the Department’s current spending levels. This increase in funding would be the largest increase the Department has seen since its inception in 1979.

States Pass Laws Restricting How Teachers Can Discuss Racism

A seventh-grader walks by a Black History Month display at Sutton Middle School on her way to class.

This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide updated information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE. 

States Placing Legal Limits on How Educators Can Address Race

On the heels of Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), the top Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee, backing two bills aimed at blocking the teaching of critical race theory in K-12 schools—four states have now passed legislation that would limit how teachers can discuss racism and  sexism, among other topics. The legislation, passed so far in Idaho, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, bans teachers from introducing certain concepts, including that any individual is consciously or unconsciously racist or sexist because of their race or sex, and that anyone should feel discomfort or guilt because of their race or sex. A similar law also passed in Arkansas. In total, lawmakers in at least 15 states have introduced bills that seek to restrict how teachers can discuss racism, sexism, and other social issues.

The House Focuses on Education Funding for Next Year

Portrait of disabled schoolboy on wheelchair using digital tablet in library at schoolHouse Hearings Focus on Education Budget and Students with Disabilities

This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide updated information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.  

A congressional hearing before the House Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees education spending on Wednesday focused on President Biden’s FY 2022 education spending proposal. It featured an extended conversation between Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and lawmakers about the importance of having students return to in person learning. “The best equity lever we have is in-person learning, now. Not the fall—now,” Cardona told lawmakers during the hearing. “We need to get our kids back, right away.”

CIDDL Seeks Input on Teacher Education Technology Practices

CIDDL logoThe Center of Innovation, Design, and Digital Learning (CIDDL) is requesting AACTE members’ participation in the strategic planning efforts by completing a needs assessment survey. All members are invited and encouraged to participate.

This data will inform CIDDL to better understand current technology use and practices of teacher education faculty in special education, early intervention/early childhood special education, and leadership preparation. The outcome report generated will provide valuable national insights and trends and an electronic version of. This report will be provided to all respondents in Summer 2021 at no cost.

NASSP Seeks Feedback on Special Education and LGBTQ+ Students and Educators

A person drawing and pointing at a We Want Your Feedback Chalk IllustrationCalling all educators! Your review and your voice is requested. AACTE is proud to work collaboratively with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) in the Learning First Alliance coalition. Our colleagues at NASSP, alongside their Board of Directors recently stated its intent to adopt two new position statements on LGBTQ+ Students and Educators and Supporting Principals as Leaders of Special Education—and your feedback is critical. Public comments are open now through March 31.

NCLD and Understood Develop Free Distance Learning Toolkit

Young woman sitting on couch working on laptop

At Understood and the National Center for Learning Disabilities, we have been working to understand the challenges that distance learning has presented to students who learn differently.

In response, we have developed a practical resource to help educators more effectively support students with learning differences, and in turn all learners, during distance learning. Today, we are eager to share that resource with you and the world at large in our new  “Distance learning toolkit: Key practices to support students who learn differently.”

Register for Webinar Focused on the Role of Deans in Leading Teacher Preparation Reform

AACTE and CEEDAR (Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform) Center are partnering together to present a webinar centered on a special issue brief, Leading and Engaging Faculty in Teacher Preparation Reform: The Role of Deans. The issue brief summarizes the experiences in leadership of six current and former deans who have been identified as engaging in successful collaborative reform efforts within their colleges.

During the one-hour event, Mary Brownwell will talk with Marquita Grenot-Scheyer and Kandi Hill-Clarke about the issue brief and their experiences of cultivating collaboration and supporting innovation among general and special education faculty who share responsibility to support students in diverse and inclusive classrooms. Since few resources exist to support deans in their efforts to work with faculty to engage in this work, AACTE and CEEDAR believe the experiences of these leaders will be useful to other deans as they work toward similar outcomes.

Register for the webinar, which will take place December 16 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. (ET). Learn more about the panelists:

A-Z Words of Wisdom from UCF Graduates for Future Educators

In 2017, several Elementary Education faculty members came together to create the University of Central Florida (UCF) Lake County Teacher Knights program, which was designed to support students who were graduating from the UCF South Lake Campus as they navigated their first few years in the classroom. Each month, the faculty members host evening professional learning sessions (with dinner) for these first through third year teachers. Additionally, they have partnered with Lake County Schools professional development department to host workshops on topics of the teachers’ request.

Now in year four, Lake County Teacher Knights are reflecting on a question many senior interns and recent graduates ask themself before that first day in their senior placement or their first classroom … “What do I need to know?” Well, here is what this group of dedicated and talented teachers want to share with future senior interns and new career teachers, shared with love and hope for a brighter teaching future. 

Here is their A-Z list of everything you wished you knew …

Leading and Engaging Faculty in Teacher Preparation Reform: The Role of Deans

Webinar, Personal development and e-learning concept on blurred abstract background.AACTE is proud to partner with the CEEDAR (Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform) Center to bring you a webinar focused on a special issue brief, Leading and Engaging Faculty in Teacher Preparation Reform: The Role of Deans, on December 16, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. ET.

The issue brief summarizes the experiences in leadership of six current and former deans who have been identified as engaging in successful collaborative reform efforts within their colleges. AACTE and CEEDAR look to their experiences to support leaders, like you, in understanding the actions they took and the strategies they employed that may be useful to other leaders of educator preparation programs (EPPs) who are committed to restructuring curricula and programs in their own settings.

Teacher Shortages: Are We Heading in the Right Direction?

This article originally appeared in District Administration and is reprinted with permission.

Erica McCrayThe teacher shortage is real, complex, and concerning—especially in high-demand specialty areas such as special education, math and science, English as a second language, and foreign language. This comes as no surprise, as many reports indicate low enrollment in these educator preparation program (EPP) teaching areas. While it is important to reflect upon the current state of the teacher shortage, it is imperative that EPPs analyze changes in student enrollment to determine future implications for the teacher workforce.

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) recently released the issue brief, Degree Trends in High-Demand Teaching Specialties. Authored by Jacqueline E. King, Ph.D., the report examines trends in sub-specialties within the high-demand areas based on data that colleges report to the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). While the report offers a few bright spots, it suggests that current PK-12 school shortages will not be remedied simply by hiring newly-prepared teachers.

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