Growing up, my primary school housed students from first to eighth grade and served mostly students of color. Prior to the pandemic, I attended a celebration for the retirement of Mrs. P, my eighth-grade teacher. The room was packed; filled with people of various ethnic and linguistic backgrounds. I heard families speaking Spanish, Tagalog, Italian, and English. Mrs. P was a teacher for 45 years and taught generations of children within families. As I looked around the room I witnessed tears, joy, and laughter. Then one by one individuals stood and told their own story of how Mrs. P. touched their lives and the lives of their families. I listened intently and felt the power of the stories being shared. In that moment, I experienced such awe in the woman who inspired me to go into the profession of education and pride in my connection to her and the ministry of teaching.
Photo by Allison Shelley for EDUimages
On behalf of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone issued the following statement to celebrate educators during National Teacher Appreciation Week:
“One of the most pervasive truths in American public education is that great teachers transform lives. COVID-19 illuminated the vital role teachers play in our communities. As parents struggled to balance work, supervise virtual classrooms, and co-educate their children, a new awareness and appreciation arose for the influence, importance, and value of teachers. Educators across America have learned new technologies, created innovative ways to reach students online, and, above all, kept education moving forward. As we celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week, AACTE thanks these critical front-line workers for their adaptability, ingenuity, and dedication and recognizes the difficult circumstances they face in returning to the classroom.
Editor’s note: This essay was submitted to AACTE days before Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York, died on April 15, 2021. It is from his last writing project and focuses on a subject he held dear — teaching and learning. This is an edited excerpt of an essay published in the Spring 2021 edition of Carnegie Reporter magazine.
On Teacher Appreciation Day and every day, teachers play a central role in shaping our society.
America has always been and will always be a work in progress. Every generation has contributed and must contribute to that ongoing progress.
Teacher Appreciation Week: May 3-7, 2021
Each year, the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA), in partnership with Office Depot and Office Max, celebrates educators. The theme, #ThankATeacher, invites all Americans to take time to honor the service teachers provide. Now more than ever, it is critical to recognize the difficult and sometimes at-risk work teachers face in the classroom during the health pandemic. Schools across the country face teacher shortages so this week’s celebration conveys an important message that teachers matter.This year’s #ThankATeacher activities include collecting imagery for scrapbooking to encourage students and parents to remember all the good from educators this year. The National PTA asks participants to share on social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, hashtags and resources from the toolkit available on their website. All of the resources within the toolkit are available in English and Spanish.
This article originally appeared in the Morehead State University news webpage and is reprinted with permission.
Since its founding, Morehead State University has always prioritized training teachers and serving the Appalachian region. Both priorities have come together in the development of the Appalachian Future Educators (AFE) Scholars program.
Created by Dr. Antony Norman, dean of the Ernst and Sara Lane Volgenau College of Education, the AFE Scholars program encourages qualified students from MSU’s 22-county service region to enter the education profession through scholarship, support, and mentorship. The program will enhance the pipeline of qualified educators and educational leaders by strengthening partnerships with school districts in identifying, recruiting and mentoring students to return and give back to their home communities as rural educational leaders.
In October 2019, Frostburg State University (FSU) was awarded a five-year, $4.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education for the Maryland Accelerates: Teacher-Leader Residency for Inclusive Excellence program. This new program addresses Absolute Priority and Competitive Preference Priority I under the Department’s Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) Program. By leveraging partnerships in high-need and rural schools, this innovative teacher-leader residency program will help realize State priorities in preparing and retaining highly effective teachers in the critical shortage areas of science, mathematics, computer science, English, and elementary education.
Modeled after the recommendations of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education (also known colloquially as the Kirwan Commission), the program includes a full-year practicum, mentorship, extensive classroom observation, and research opportunities with an emphasis on culturally-responsive pedagogy, mathematical problem-solving, and computational thinking followed by an extended induction program. Graduates of the program receive a Master of Arts in Teaching degree and are mentored and supported through their early years of teaching to develop competency-based practices to move them towards achieving National Board Certification.
The 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.
Calling 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.
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:
AACTE is joining its partner Learning First Alliance in celebrating Public Schools Week, February 22-26, 2021, to bring attention to the great accomplishments and great needs of public education. While schools are a place for nurture and learning, the global pandemic has created massive challenges for public schools. Still, public schools across the country have kept 50.7 million schoolchildren, 3.2 million teachers, and many other school staff and parents safe.
According to Learning First Alliance, public schools are emphasizing new goals this year:
- Keep children healthy by creating new educational practices, including cleaning, maintaining social distance, and screening those who need to be treated;
- Feed millions of students outside of school;
- Expand internet connectivity of students;
- Teach more effectively online by adapting existing curriculums; and,
- Increase awareness of racial justice and mental health and seek ways to connect to students who are grieving or traumatized.
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.
“In early March of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic began to wreak havoc on every aspect of life as we all knew it. Events were cancelled, businesses began to close, and classrooms became virtual spaces. The world looked and felt very different from anything we had ever known,” wrote Carolyn Gassman, Butler University graduate student.
The Experiential Program for Preparing School Principals (EPPSP), an educational leadership graduate program at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, canceled their summer 2020 research and study abroad learning experience to Italy due to Covid-19. EPPSP Students, practicing school teachers and educators, understood the complexity of returning to a physical building in the fall 2020 and wanted to support school leaders as they transitioned back to school.
EPPSP’s 40-year history includes experiential and relevant learning opportunities along with proficiencies that allow students to engage in real-life school leadership practices. Nationally, school leaders began developing re-entry plans and Indiana leaders were conducting plans of their own.
Higher education and PK-12 school systems around the country continue to persevere through the pandemic while the policies that structure the new school year continue to change day-to-day. Since the onset of COVID-19, our partners have observed how the pandemic has affected teacher and leadership preparation programs and are excited to share lessons learned. This August, join us for a “Back to School” webinar series with three of our strategic partners: EdPrepLab an initiative of the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) and Bank Street Graduate School of Education, International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Accomplished Teaching, Learning and Schools (ATLAS) group. In each, we will discuss how to apply what was learned this past spring to the upcoming academic year within higher educator preparation programs.
Parents and teachers have had to deal with unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, but their demand for data is as strong as ever. The Data Quality Campaign’s (DQC) fifth parent poll and third teacher poll—conducted by The Harris Poll—makes clear that, especially during these uncertain times, parents and teachers value data. DQC’s national polls found that parents overwhelmingly want more information to support student success and teachers want more data on how the COVID-19 crisis has affected student learning—but teachers also want training and resources to use that data effectively. As state leaders pursue efforts to restart school in the fall, state policymakers and school leaders must take action to give parents and teachers the information and resources they need to ensure their students succeed.
“While the pandemic causes uncertainty in and out of schools, we know that parents and teachers want data and need more support to use it to help their students succeed,” said Data Quality Campaign President and CEO Jennifer Bell-Ellwanger. “As state and district leaders prepare for instruction to resume—whether it’s in person, virtual, or a hybrid—they must prioritize getting parents the information they need and ensuring that teachers have both the data they need and the tools to use it. Taking steps toward both of these goals will ensure that those closest to students have the data they need to make decisions that best serve students.”
Parents see the value of data. They want more data to understand the effects of school closures on student learning in their communities and to inform recovery efforts to best meet students’ and families’ evolving needs.
I am currently seeking contributing authors for a book with IGI Global, for release in 2021, titled Empowering Formal and Informal Leadership While Maintaining Teacher Identity. This publication will add to the body of scholarship on teacher leadership and further help to define the opportunities and challenges for school districts to consider to promote teacher leadership in their settings. The edited book will provide a wide and broad perspective of the topic which can be used in university settings and practitioner settings related to teacher education and teacher development.
Education researchers and practitioners are invited to submit a 1,000 to 2,000 word chapter proposal by July 9, 2020.