The National Association for Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is calling on federal officials to provide support for school leaders being threatened and undermined by those who disagree with school guidelines on COVID-19 best practices.
While the pandemic has impacted every one—school leaders are bearing the brunt of conflicts over masks, quarantines, vaccines, and other highly charged issues. They have been faced with hostile community members, threats to their own safety or safety of the school, and with non-compliance with rules that are meant to keep us all safe.
Teresa M. Hill, Principal at Walden Grove High School in Arizona and NASSP member, tells of her experience with threats at her school: “One month ago, seven people refused to leave our campus demanding a quarantined student attend class. After a lockdown of the front office for three hours, we were forced to arrest three of them. This has resulted in multiple threatening and intimidating voice messages, emails, and social media comments directly targeting me. Calling me a Nazi, a fascist, using profanity, and being told to ‘eat the end of a shotgun’ is beyond disturbing. Two weeks later, three men threatened and intimidated an elementary principal in my area by demanding a citizen’s arrest while holding zip ties in their hands.”
New Book Offers Latest Research on How to Avoid Issues Around Role Ambiguity
The initial call for chapters for the recently released Empowering Formal and Informal Leadership While Maintaining Teacher Identity was published in Ed Prep Matters in 2020. Several contributing author teams are AACTE members.
While national competencies continue to define dispositional and knowledge base for teacher leaders, Bryan Zug elder, associate dean for academic affairs and partnerships in the College of Education at James Madison University (USA), saw a need to expand the body of scholarship on this topic.
He has over 15 years of experience working in education and is also currently working as an associate professor in the Department of Learning, Technology, and Leadership Education, where he serves as faculty and program director for the Graduate Certificate and Master of Education with a Concentration in Teacher Leadership programs. He explains his motivations and discoveries for his latest publication, Empowering Formal and Informal Leadership While Maintaining Teacher Identity:
As advocates, we want data to be used for accountability and transparency, to tell stories, and to inform impactful, equitable policies. But without context, clarity, transparency, the stories data could tell about school, student, and teacher experiences can be lost to misinformation and distrust.
Last week, the Data Quality Campaign released a new resource that breaks down what it means to build trust in data for both those who share it and those who consume it—providing tips to make meaning from the numbers that you see so you can demand clarity, uncover biases, understand how to foster trust in data, and take action armed with full information.
This Consumer’s Guide to Data is an especially great resource for producers of data (such as state or district leaders) and consumers of data (parents, families, or interested community members), but it can also be valuable to advocates who are looking to support good decision making and storytelling at every level.
Download the guide.
Registration is open for the 2021 Leadership Academy Series designed for educational leaders navigating the challenges of the current global environment. This three-part series will augment your leadership skills during these unprecedented times. The first of these virtual series will take place August 11. The second will be held in October and the final session of the series is scheduled for January 2022.
Seats are still availability for the AACTE Leadership Academy introductory course, “Personal Wellness: Managing Your Stress and Time,” which will take place on Wednesday, June 9 from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. ET. This will be an interactive session discussing the impact of COVID-19 on your professional and personal lives, the additional stresses, time demands, and overall wellness during these past 15 months.
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.