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Association of California School Administrators
Association of California School Administrators
Family engagement strategies often left out of teacher prep
CTC hears update on effort to add family engagement to teacher preparation
January 18, 2021
The December 2020 meeting of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing was attended by ACSA CTC Liaison Doug Gephart, who filed the following report.
Parent and family engagement in pre-service preparation
The CTC was updated on the collaborative work that has taken place between San Diego State University, Public Advocates, CTC staff, and the Parent Organization Network on multi-state effort related to family engagement for teacher and administrator candidates.
In July 2020 the Parent Organization Network published a report, “Family Engagement Training for Educators in Pre-Service: Common Sense but no Common Practice,” that builds on a research demonstrating the benefits of parents and families being involved in their child’s education. Improved student outcomes in the areas of attendance, academic achievement, social-emotional skills, graduation rates, college and career readiness, teacher satisfaction and school improvement have a direct correlation with the degree to which families are actively engaged with their child’s education.
The research conducted by the Parent Organization Network, highlighted that too often, work with parents and families in preparation programs is an afterthought rather than an integral part of the preparation program. The purpose of the group, in part, is to effect change to ensure that new teachers are well prepared to bring in parents and families as part of the overall approach to ensuring academic success and attention to social emotional learning for every student.
The Initiative anticipates two key outcomes:
1) Institutions of Higher Education, state agencies, and key stakeholder groups across the country will address family, school, and community engagement in meaningful and effective ways within their educator and administrator preparation programs; and
2) Educators and administrators will effectively put in place teaching practices, organizational infrastructure, and policies that create equitable and meaningful opportunities for families to engage in their children’s education.
New teacher clinical practice
New teachers may not have enough in-person clinical practice when they enter classrooms in the fall of 2021, according to information presented to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing during its December meeting.
Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases and schools remaining closed, it is highly probable that there will be candidates in educator preparation programs who began their clinical practice this year in a distance learning model and might not have the opportunity to do any supervised clinical practice in a face-to-face setting.
There is widespread concern that these candidates may not be afforded sufficiently rich experiences to develop their skills in areas that are foundational for good teaching, such as strong in-person classroom management skills and positive student engagement.
During CTC staff discussions with stakeholders, it was determined that these challenges will place a greater burden on both the candidates and employers in several ways:
Limitation of resources —­ The economic toll placed on the state as a result of COVID-19 will limit resources and support for induction programs for the purposes of assisting these new teachers. Employers and support providers will be faced with additional work to support this year’s candidates to be effective teachers in fall 2021.
The critical role of induction ­— Induction can provide new teachers with support and coaching, including a focus on teaching in a classroom. It will be imperative to clarify the roles that employers/site administrators, mentors, preliminary programs and induction programs each play to ensure success for new teachers.
Role of district on-boarding processes — Employers will need to tailor their on-boarding process for new educators in the fall 2021. Employers will require a uniform set of guidelines and supports as they plan for on-boarding new hires in consideration of the unique needs of these new teachers.
Role of site administrators — Site administrators will be faced with greater challenges to ensure that these new teachers are provided the necessary support to be successful. Administrators will need to understand that new teachers (and second year teachers who taught through distance learning in 2020–21) in fall 2021 will need different and likely more intensive supports, particularly in the first few months of in-person instruction.
Bridge authorizations for the new Ed Specialist credentials
The commission has been engaged in a multi-year effort to address needed changes to the ways in which students with disabilities are served in California schools. This resulted in the reorganization of seven special education credentials into five credentials, three of which have new Teaching Performance Expectations.
The CTC approved “bridge” authorizations for these three credentials — Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE), Mild to Moderate Support Needs (MMSN), and Extensive Support Needs (ESN) — which would allow existing Education Specialist Credential holders to demonstrate sufficient mastery of the Teaching Performance Expectations in these specializations that were not reflected in their original preparation.
The commission approved three pathways to earning the updated credentials:
  • Coursework completed through a commission-approved preliminary special education program sponsor and aligned with the identified Teacher Performance Expectations for content not covered during the credential holder’s initial preparation.
  • Professional development offered by an approved Preliminary Education Specialist preparation program, an employing local educational agency, a Special Education Local Planning Area or state educational agencies that adopt an appropriate curriculum for this purpose.
  • Demonstration of prior knowledge and experience via observational data, a portfolio submission, video demonstration, a performance assessment or another means that demonstrates competence in the additional Teacher Performance Expectations.
Educators would be allowed to utilize all three methods, either exclusively or in combination. The commission anticipates that many current Education Specialists will choose to earn these broader authorizations.
No educator will be required to apply for a bridge credential, and educators with existing special education credentials will continue to be authorized to teach any content their credential currently authorizes.
Accreditation annual report
The CTC was presented with the annual report from the Committee on Accreditation.
The economic hit taken by the state required the Legislature and the governor to re-evaluate funding priorities in light of COVID-19. Plans for new state-funded efforts to address educator shortage areas were eliminated, as new budget cuts were put in place across the entire spectrum of state and local government programs, including cuts to TK–12 schools, colleges and universities.
The 2019–20 accreditation season’s activities, including site visits, were adjusted to reflect this new reality and to maintain full implementation of the system while continuing efforts to refine the newer aspects of the current system. In the 2019–20 year, 31 of the 34 scheduled site visits were able to be completed prior to June 30, 2020.
The remaining three programs were rescheduled and reviewed in fall 2020. Twenty-six institutions received a status of Accreditation; five institutions received Accreditation with Stipulations.
Additionally, the accreditation report highlighted many benchmark achievements during the 2019-2020 accreditation year that included:
  • Piloting the annual accreditation data system with the field,
  • Developing data dashboards for use by accreditation site visit teams for the institutions and programs they were reviewing,
  • Continuing Board of Institutional Review site visit trainings for 90 additional individuals,
  • Utilizing feedback from the program review and common standards review for site visit teams,
  • Utilizing survey results for interview questions and informing team decisions about programs, and
  • Developing improvements for the Initial Program Approval process mirroring the Program Review process.
Classified School Employee Teacher Credential Program
Since 2016, the California Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program has helped to address the state’s teacher shortage in math, science, special education and bilingual education by supporting the recruitment of classified school employees into teaching careers and helping them complete their undergraduate education, professional teacher preparation, and certification as credentialed California teachers. Staff updated the Commission on Teacher Credentialing on the program during its December meeting. In the last four years, a total of 770 California credentials have been earned by Classified Program participants in the following areas:
  • Education Specialist (369);
  • Multiple Subject (253);
  • Single Subject (79);
  • Single Subject STEM (26);
  • Multiple Subject with Bilingual Education (14);
  • Single Subject Bilingual Education (9); and
  • Education Specialist Bilingual Education (20).
This program is deemed to be successful based upon the number of participants who have received their credentials and are now in classrooms.
A notable program success is the continuing effectiveness of the collaboration between school districts and postsecondary institutions.
Teacher Residency Grant Programs
The CTC heard an update on the Teacher Residency Grant Program, which was included in the 2018-19 state budget to fund the development, implementation, and expansion of teacher residency programs. In these programs, a prospective teacher teaches at least one-half time alongside a teacher of record, who is designated as the experienced mentor teacher, for at least one full school year while engaging in initial preparation coursework.
It is important to note that not all Teacher Residency Programs begin in the fall and end in the spring. Between the fall of 2019 and the fall of 2020, 37 Teacher Residency Programs have been initiated to provide services to 309 teacher residents. Results from the initial evaluation of the first year of the residency program show many partnerships are beginning to make progress toward increasing the number of teachers in shortage areas (Special Education, STEM and Bilingual), as well as the proportion of teachers of color.
Commission staff will continue to provide technical assistance to Teacher Residency grantees and will provide regular updates to the commission regarding this state-funded grant program.
Institutional Approval
The commission granted initial institutional approval — Stage II to Cambridge College. Cambridge College is a private, nonprofit institution based in Boston, Mass., and accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education. Cambridge College also offers programs in Puerto Rico, California, and online. Approval of Stage II would allow Cambridge College to move forward to Stage III in which Common Standards and Preconditions will be submitted for review. Approval of Stage II does not authorize the institution to offer an educator preparation program that leads to a credential or license. Cambridge College seeks to offer the following credential programs through both traditional and intern pathways: Preliminary Multiple Subject, Preliminary Single Subject: Math, Preliminary Education Specialist: Mild/Moderate, and Preliminary Education Specialist: Early Childhood Special Education. These programs would be offered on the Chaffey Community College campus in Rancho Cucamonga, where Cambridge College currently offers 36 degree and 19-non degree programs.
Revised language for initial program preconditions
When a program sponsor proposes a new educator preparation program, the program sponsor is required to submit a response to two Initial Program Preconditions: Demonstration of Need, and Practitioners’ Participation in Program Design. These two preconditions have remained relatively unchanged since March 1995.
Current language lacks the robustness needed to ensure that there is a need for the program and that the program sponsor is actively collaborating with practitioners in the design of the proposed program.
Based on feedback from the commission, the Committee on Accreditation, and various stakeholders, the CTC approved revisions that would specify the data and evidence sponsors must provide in their proposals.
The new language reads:
(1) Demonstration of Need. To be granted initial program accreditation by the Committee on Accreditation, the program sponsor must demonstrate the need for the type of program in the service area in which it will operate or a need for educators prepared through the specific program delivery model. Proposals must include data on the number of individuals currently serving on less than full credentials, where available, in the service area of the proposed program, projected need based on a need’s analysis, and affirmations from employers with their anticipated hiring need for individuals with the planned credential.
(2) Collaboration in Program Design and Implementation. To be granted initial program accreditation by the Committee on Accreditation, the program sponsor must demonstrate evidence of collaboration between institutions of higher education, employers of credentialed educators, and TK–12 practitioners in the design of the program. This evidence must include verification that the partners will share authority and responsibility for the implementation and continuous improvement of the proposed educator preparation program as negotiated in the partnership agreement.
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