January 6, 2021


Featured News

Biden Chooses Dr. Miguel Cardona as the Nation’s First Latino Secretary of Education

Choosing the Connecticut education commissioner, a relative unknown on the national stage, allows Biden to briefly sidestep fraught debates over charter schools, teachers unions, and testing that have divided his party. Biden would also fulfill his promise to nominate a former public school teacher to replace Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

“In Miguel Cardona, America will have an experienced and dedicated public school teacher leading the way at the Department of Education — ensuring that every student is equipped to thrive in the economy of the future, that every educator has the resources they need to do their jobs with dignity and success, and that every school is on track to reopen safely,” Biden said in a statement.

If confirmed, Cardona will oversee the federal education department as schools grapple with the unprecedented disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. As commissioner in Connecticut, Cardona encouraged schools to reopen their buildings, but with mixed success, as only about a third of students in the state have access to full-time in-person instruction.

The shift from Secretary Betsy DeVos will be a profound one. Cardona’s biography makes for a sharp contrast with DeVos, a billionaire philanthropist who focused on private schools. He grew up in public housing and didn’t speak English until starting school. And his career has been spent almost exclusively inside public schools and within a single school district.

Cardona began his career as an elementary school teacher in Meriden, Connecticut. He quickly became a school principal — the youngest in the state at 28, according to the local Record-Journal. He then served as the district’s assistant superintendent before being named the state schools chief.

Resources and Connections

NCTR Annual Report

NCTR released its
Annual Report last month. If you have not had a chance to read it yet, please check it out.

NCTR Social Media 

NCTR now has an Instagram account and if you are not following it, please do. You can find us @NCTResidency. 

Glass Frog Solutions (Glass Frog)

As a follow-up to the brief NCTR and Glass Frog Solutions (Glass Frog) co-released, Glass Frog is dedicating an entire Podcast episode to discussing teacher residencies. Be sure to check it out. 

BEI Social Media

NCTR has launched social media accounts for our Black Educators Initiative (BEI). Please be sure to follow them to keep up the latest news on BEI as well as information on what BEI-funded residencies are doing to support Black educators. You can follow us on
Twitter @BeiNctr  on Instagram @NCTR_BEI and on

Teacher Spotlight
Teacher Spotlight honors the tremendous work of residents and mentors from our partner programs. We showcase what residents are doing to learn and grow as they prepare to become full-time teachers and the mentors who are dedicated to supporting these novice educators. Each week we will spotlight a teacher nominated from a residency program within our NCTR Network. We are excited to elevate the great teaching happening around the country to serve students, families, and communities. 

Denesha McKenzie (Mentor)
AppleTree Early Learning Teacher Residency

Ms. Mckenzie is an exemplary practitioner and leader among her peers. At the beginning of the school year, after her resident withdrew from the residency program, Ms. Mckenzie stepped up to be the lead designer for our monthly Mentor Cohort meetings (MLC). She continuously demonstrates a commitment to mentor training to positively impact resident growth and learning. As a returning mentor, she is a model of how to make learning visible for the resident within a collaborative and equitable mentoring relationship. With support from the program manager, Ms. Mckenzie leads a team of three veteran mentors. She also designs virtual collaborative professional learning sessions that promote sustainable mentoring practices.


In the News

In the News

Enrollment In Schools Drops As Pandemic Continues

Fearful of sending her two children back to school as the coronavirus pandemic raged in Mississippi, Angela Atkins decided to give virtual learning a chance this fall. Almost immediately, it was a struggle. Their district in Lafayette County didn’t offer live instruction to remote learners, and Atkins’ fourth-grader became frustrated with doing worksheets all day and missed interacting with teachers and peers. Her seventh-grader didn’t receive the extra support he did at school through his special education plan — and started getting failing grades.

After nine weeks, Atkins switched to homeschooling. “It got to the point where it felt like there was no other choice to make,” she said. “I was worried for my kids’ mental health.”

That is a significant shift considering that enrollment overall in those states has typically gone up by around half a percent in recent years. And the decline is only likely to become more pronounced, as several large states have yet to release information. Chalkbeat and AP surveyed all 50 states, but 17 have not released comparable enrollment numbers yet.

The data, which in many states is preliminary, offers the clearest picture yet of the pandemic’s devastating toll on public school enrollment — a decline that could eventually have dire consequences for school budgets that are based on headcounts. But even more alarming, educators say, is that some of the students who left may not be in school at all.

Related Stories on Declining Public School Enrollment

Enrollment Is Dropping In Public Schools Around the Country

Declining School Enrollment Spells Trouble for Education Funding


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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