In early spring, when the coronavirus (COVID-19) shut the doors to classrooms, there was an optimistic belief that by fall the obstacles of the pandemic would disappear and in-class instruction would return to normal. However, as states began to lift emergency orders and school districts prepared to reopen schools, it became evident that education leaders would still be grappling with the unpredictable public health crisis this fall.
With COVID-19 spreading more rapidly in some regions of the United States, each state must assess whether they can safely open schools. Recently, some school districts that deemed it safe to reopen have reverted to remote learning when students and/or teachers have tested positive for the coronavirus. Certainly, navigating the current crisis is complicated, and it is having a profound effect on educator preparation programs (EPPs).
Due to PK-12 school closures in the spring, many teacher candidates were unable to complete their clinical and field experiences in a classroom setting—typically a prerequisite for licensure. Acknowledging that a lack of new teachers entering the field would adversely impact the current teacher shortage crisis, EPPs responded with alternative learning opportunities to ensure that teacher candidates are prepared and competent to enter their own classrooms. As a result, many states have implemented emergency policy changes to licensure, thus enabling recent graduates to teach this fall.
Teamwork Team Collaboration Connection Togetherness Unity Concept
Today AACTE released its new report, Teaching in the Time of COVID-19: State Recommendations for Educator Preparation Programs and New Teachers. The 10 recommendations address critical state policy changes necessary to support innovative improvement in education during the global pandemic and beyond. Increased barriers to developing the educator workforce during the health crisis, coupled with the national teacher shortage, create demands for acute collaboration between educator preparation programs (EPPs), state education agencies, and PK-12 schools to reinvent systems for producing high-quality teachers to meet the growing needs of diverse learners.
AACTE reviewed and analyzed COVID-related state guidance to EPPs in pursuit of three goals: (1) to understand what states are doing to help prepare teachers for the classroom during this crisis, (2) to understand any extant trends in state guidance and (3), to identify recommendations for state leaders to enhance the support of new teachers impacted by program and policy disturbances stemming from the coronavirus crisis. From the analysis emerged recommendations that address changes to licensure and certification requirements, clinical experience pathways, and induction supports for novice teachers.
“Navigating the current crisis is complicated, to say the least, and the pandemic’s impact has a profound effect on many, including colleges of education and educator preparation programs,” said Lynn M. Gangone, Ed.D., AACTE president and CEO. “The circumstances of the pandemic open a window to think differently about our collective work. AACTE released this report at its State Leaders Institute today to provide our state chapter leaders with the latest research to inform their collaborations and conversations with state officials, PK-12 partners, and legislators.”
The report’s 10 recommendations are:
- In making licensure and certification waivers for teachers, states should make changes that are directly necessary because of the pandemic temporary, with a timeline for an ending that is clearly delineated, and transparent in that those who are granted certification as a result of waived requirements must be so classified, (e.g., “waiver-certification”).
- States should seek innovative opportunities to address ongoing challenges—such as lack of diversity in the profession and the need to modernize the processes of licensure and certification—as they consider licensure and certification revisions.
- Ensure candidates continue gaining experience teaching in a clinical setting with a mentor teacher, university supervisor, and continuous feedback.
- Encourage flexibility and collaboration between EPPs and school districts that ensure teacher candidates participate in clinical experiences online or in distance settings if PK-12 schools are not physically back in brick and mortar buildings.
- Encourage innovative approaches to clinical experiences including distributed learning models that employ team teaching in PK-12 settings, simulated classroom environments that allow candidates to approximate teaching, and financially supporting candidates through employment with the local school.
- Assess the needs of new teachers impacted by COVID-19 and identify areas for additional support.
- Require an induction action plan for new teachers describing the activities that must be completed or acquired for successful induction.
- Establish a mentorship program to equip new teachers with strategies to deliver high-quality instruction to diverse learners.
- Implement co-teaching for new teachers whose clinical experiences were fully or partially waived and teachers who have not passed exams for licensure and certification due to COVID-19.
- Partner with EPPs to provide professional development to ensure that new teachers possess the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to teach diverse students.
View the full report at AACTE’s website.
Only one week is left to register for the 2020 State Leaders Institute, September 22-23! Register by 12:00 midnight on Friday, September 18 to experience AACTE’s inaugural, virtual event for state leaders.
During this signature event, centered around promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in education, state leaders will focus on capacity building and augmenting their chapter’s impact through leadership development. Attendees will learn effective skills to engage with their governor’s office, strengthen the advocacy capacity of their state chapter and its membership, and enjoy networking opportunities with peers.
Here’s what attendees from past events had to say about the value of the State Leaders Institute:
This year’s virtual AACTE State Leaders Institute will take place September 22-23, and will bring together state chapter leaders from AACTE and the Association of Teacher Educators (ATE) to enhance the presence of educator preparation at the state level. During this AACTE signature event, state leaders will focus on capacity building and augmenting their chapter’s impact through leadership development. Attendees will learn effective skills to engage with their governor’s office, receive the latest tips to strengthen the advocacy capacity of their state chapter and its membership, and enjoy networking opportunities with peers.
AACTE is excited to offer its virtual 2020 Washington Week experience this September. The event dates have changed to offer you more opportunities to participate. Here’s the lineup:
Holmes Advanced Policy Course: September 2-3
On September 2, attendees will learn what to expect during the event and hear from a keynote speaker. The September 3 activities will include interactive breakout sessions and a congressional panel.
Holmes Policy Institute: September 8-10
On September 8, attendees will participate in a welcome session and engaging breakouts. Keynote speakers and panelists will show participants how to advocate for educator preparation through lively discussions and group activities. On September 10, participants will enjoy a virtual reception, including interactive games, to conclude the event.
Day on the Hill: September 9-10 and September 15-16
AACTE is excited to introduce its short tutorial video on how to navigate the new State Policy Tracking Map recently added to the AACTE COVID-19 Resource Hub. The easy to use map provides an analysis of state-issued guidance impacting standards and practice, new teacher induction, clinical practice and licensure. The tutorial offers a walkthrough of how to access and use the information provided in three formats: short bullet points, short-form distillations, and links to the original source material.
AACTE is among the first education associations to track and publish this information, which was collected from multiple sources: news reports, state press releases, executive orders issued by state governors and statements issued by state departments of education. AACTE also included information from state chapter leaders who participated in the shaping of EPP guidance in their state. As state legislatures begin to convene and engage on this issue, we will update the map to reflect their work.
The AACTE National Office has begun to analyze the information collected for the map and is compiling its findings in a soon-to-be released report. Teaching in the Time of COVID: State Recommendations for Preparation and New Teachers will summarize changes by EPPs in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis, seek opportunities for improvement, and propose recommendations to manage the pandemic successfully.
In the meantime, AACTE encourages you to visit the State Policy Tracking Map and invites you to share any questions, concerns, or updates you may have regarding the information presented on the map.
AACTE Responds to COVID-19
As part of its continued efforts to inform members about the latest developments regarding educator preparation programs (EPPs) in light of COVID-19, AACTE has updated its Policy Tracker Map to reflect recent changes in EPP-specific state guidance and recommendations. These changes include guidance analysis of 12 new states, specifically Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wyoming. We have also updated data for New Jersey, which recently issued new guidance waiving edTPA.
In the coming weeks and months, as agency guidance is supplemented by the supporting instructions and recommendations of other state entities, such as the legislature and regulatory bodies, the information and features of this interactive map will grow to accommodate those developments.
Experts discuss emergency waivers and their potential impact
This article originally appeared on the Education Writers Association website and is reprinted with permission.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of new teachers are licensed in the United States. With the shuttering of schools and colleges due to the coronavirus pandemic, states are using emergency waivers to certify teacher candidates who are unable to complete preparation requirements such as coursework, student teaching, and certification exams.
Along with these swift changes come new questions about the teacher workforce and what will happen to the educator pipeline in the midst of a public health emergency and economic recession.
Due to the effects of COVID-19, many states have issued guidance or directives to assist educator preparation programs (EPPs) and teacher candidates in their response to the associated academic challenges and interruptions. In an effort to track relevant changes in state policies and practices, AACTE has developed a new interactive map designed to highlight and present such changes, with a focus on four key categories:
- initial licensure and certification
- clinical experiences
- hiring and induction
- state standards and other program requirements
This article originally appeared on EdSource and is reprinted with permission.
The coronavirus pandemic won’t prevent most teacher candidates from moving into California classrooms next school year, even if they have yet to complete all the normally required student teaching hours or certification tests.
The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing voted Thursday to give university teacher preparation programs wide latitude to decide when teacher candidates are prepared to move onto the classroom. The commission made its decision during a virtual meeting attended by more than 550 viewers. It affects students who are on track to complete their coursework between March 19 and Sept. 1.
California expects 26,000 teachers, principals and other administrators, speech-language pathologists and school psychologists, counselors, social workers, nurses and librarians to graduate this school year, according to the commission. The majority are studying to get their teaching credential.