By: Elizabeth Vilky, Senior Director, State and Member Relations, CAEP

August always reminds me of the anticipation I felt as a student preparing to go back to school. I still remember the feeling of picking out a brand new Trapper Keeper and the smell of new erasers. Each school year felt like a new beginning. I could not wait to find out who my new teacher was. When I was in elementary school I wanted to make sure that my teacher was nice and smart. It was not until I was in a teacher preparation program that I realized the importance of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions candidates need to be effective teachers.

Even though I am no longer a teacher, I believe my work with CAEP continues to have an impact on P-12 learners, specifically in my role as the Sr. Director of State and Member Relations. This role allows me to work with states to meet the common goal of raising the bar in teacher preparation.  One high priority moving forward that I am excited about is exploring ways that states and CAEP can work together collect and share data. Making informed decisions and researching to understand how students learn is a challenge currently due to lack of common data procedures across states. CAEP intends to help.

Currently CAEP has 17 state partnership agreements. These agreements are intended to be responsive to each participating state’s individual needs and policies. The collective goal is to save both states and providers time and expense by eliminating duplication of effort.

The agreements also allow for states to make choices. There are several program review options for states to choose from. Options range from a rigorous review from national Specialized Professional Associations, who define content area standards based on the latest research in their respective fields, to state-defined processes that give the state the highest level of autonomy in determining state program approval (see the July 2015 Program Review article for more information on these options). If your state has not signed a partnership agreement yet, I encourage you to talk with your state about these options. If you have questions about the program review options available to states please contact myself or Banhi Bhattacharya, Sr. Director or Program Review.

The other decision states make in the partnership agreement is the onsite visit team composition. States may choose a CAEP-only visit, a joint visit, or a concurrent visit. Joint teams consist of members appointed by CAEP and the state, led by co-chairs (one appointed by state authority, one by CAEP). Concurrent visits are operated independently by state and CAEP teams, but conduct their visits occur at the same time.

This is a new section of the newsletter. This section is intended to inform and update readers on state partnership agreements and also highlight innovative and collaborative work states are doing to strengthen teacher preparation.