July 29, 2020
NCTR and Partner News

Dr. Kerri Briggs, NCTR Board member and former chairperson, has been named a Partner in Cicero Groups’ Social Impact and K-12 Education practice area.

Tamara Azar, NCTR’s Chief External Relations Officer is leaving NCTR after 10 years.  In her current role, Tamara currently oversees NCTR’s External Relations department.  Tamara’s leadership of the current External Relations department is a department she built having successfully merged the communications, policy, and research departments at NCTR. 

Tamara has achieved many professional accomplishments in her time at NCTR.  Among her proudest accomplishments are ensuring that the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) mentioned teacher residencies explicitly.  It was that language that led 16 states to include teacher residencies in their ESSA plans.  Tamara also co-wrote NCTR’s successful 2015 SEED grant.  Her leadership at the organization has been pivotal to NCTR’s growth as a nationally-recognized leader in providing high-quality technical assistance to teacher residencies.  Tamara will be deeply missed by everyone here at NCTR. 

Dr. Tabitha Grossman, Director of Development and Partnerships at NCTR, has been named Interim Chief External Relations Officer and assumes that role on August 3, 2020.

Program Spotlight: Seattle Teacher Residency

Seattle Teacher Residency (STR) is a 14-month program where residents obtain either an elementary or special education certification along with a second endorsement either in ELL or SPED (General Education for SPED pathway).  Residents take equity-focused coursework beginning in the summer and throughout the school year while placed in Title I schools with carefully selected and trained mentor teachers from September through June.

Resident of the Year Nominee

Sarah Allen has demonstrated exceptional teaching qualities, including expert skills in preparation and planning, strong classroom management anchored in student relationships, and the ability to foster strong professional relationships with peers, colleagues, and supervisors.  Her preparedness, paired with her knowledge of students, allowed her to demonstrate a fluent and flexible approach in her ability to adapt within the lesson to be fully and authentically responsive to her 2nd grade students’ needs.  Sarah approaches each professional working relationship from a place of humility, an attitude of growth, and general sense of calm and composure.   

Featured News

“How the Coronavirus Crisis May Improve Teacher Quality,” an article adapted from the April 2020 Education Next journal, summarizes an intensive, eight-year study of Florida teachers and their students—specifically, 4th and 5th Grade teachers who entered the profession between 1969 and 2009, a period that spanned six recessions—to reveal that teachers who begin their careers in times of labor-market downtown demonstrate more effectiveness than their established peers.  “Value-add” gains in student test scores were especially pronounced in math.  This is substantial because better math scores lead to higher lifetime earnings among high school graduates. 

Evidence comparing certified teachers versus the number of employed educators over certain years marked by recession indicates that “the average ability of people entering the teaching sector during economic downturns may be higher,” in part because the stability of education careers amid insecurities in the private sector attracts more qualified teachers to the profession, such as college graduates who initially chose another career.  A trend in offering alternative certification programs (like teacher residencies) allows states to more quickly place teachers with Bachelor's degrees in classrooms where they can begin making an impact while earning their teaching license.

“Economic downturns temporarily change the supply of potential new teachers, which grows to include adults seeking a more stable source of employment because of a lack of opportunities in other professions.  That is why we find that the cohorts of teachers hired during recessions have a large share of exceptionally strong performers,” the study includes.

While Florida is atypical of a state’s education workforce because so many teachers there are prepared in other states, these findings are hopeful in a time where local teacher shortages and a national recession will converge yet again.

Resources and Connections

Elementary School Principals Polled on School Reopening Confidence

The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) gathered perspectives of nearly 800 head and assistant principals of elementary schools across the country to learn that less than 25% of these school leaders believe they can successfully guard their students and staff against transmission of the coronavirus if/when in-person classes resume this fall.  This surveyed sample representing all 50 states also revealed that 73% of principals are concerned for their and their staff’s safety.  Read the full report here.

New America Releases 50-State Scan of Grow Your Own Programs

New America highlights that Grow Your Own (GYO) programs are “one of the most popular local teacher recruitment strategies to solve teacher shortages, increase retention, and increase racial and linguistic diversity in the educator workforce.”  The think tank’s new publication "Grow Your Own Teachers: A 50-State Scan of Policies and Programscovers all 50 states plus the District of Columbia to reveal the ways communities are using the strategy to recruit and train local teachers and the need to sustain this work, even now.

In The News

Infectious disease experts identify coronavirus safety measures for reopening schools
Education Dive

A recent National PTA webinar hosted by Education Trust President and former Education Secretary John King, Jr. featured doctors Tina Tan and Wendy Armstrong, who made recommendations for safely opening schools in the time of Coronavirus.  Nearly 75% of attendees polled during the session expressed a lack of confidence in their school’s readiness.  The entire recording can be viewed on Facebook here.

Parents Mobilize as Schools Wrestle With Tough Pandemic Decisions

This piece outlines how families are involved in the debates over school reopening, and interviews several parents and administrators working to make informed decisions with everyone’s input.  “Parents on all sides of the debate—those calling for school buildings to open, those who want them to remain closed, and those pushing for more robust online learning options—quickly organized in places like Facebook and online message boards.” 

OPINION: Martin Luther King Jr.’s sister had it right when she ensured countless teachers of color got the training they need to give students the support they deserve
Hechinger Report

Paula C. White (Executive Director at Educators for Excellence New York) recalls crucial lessons from her college professor Christine King Farris, including practical instruction for teaching reading that prepared her to uplift all students beginning day one.  This solid foundation should be extended to educators of all backgrounds, says White. “Educators are professionals.  Good preparation is fundamental to a foundational understanding of effective pedagogy and the deep subject-matter knowledge necessary for teachers to impart it to learners.”

Please note that the articles and events in the NCTR E-Blast do not reflect the opinions of our organization, but rather represent information that we believe will be relevant to you and your programs.

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