College of Education
October 15, 2020
9:00 – 10:30 am
In Attendance: Barri Tinkler, Russ Brock, Jef Cornelius-White, Denise Cunningham, Kim Dubree, Janice Duncan, Karen Engler, Deanna Hallgren, Rachel Heinz, Stephanie Huffman, Travis Marler, Juli Panza, Ximena Uribe-Zarain, Rose Lee, Sharon Lopinot
Guests: Annette Cozort, Stefanie Livers
Dean David Hough was unable to attend. Barri Tinkler directed the meeting. The Dean met with Margie Vandeven and Paul Katnik recently who discussed teacher burnout with him. He suggested to them that we might be able to use the support of ATLL for teacher support instead of professional development. Barri asked everyone for their ideas.
Russ: He has already talked to Dean Hough about this and asked his staff what they have been hearing from the schools. A number of teachers are overwhelmed and not getting much break time. Schools are having trouble finding substitutes. ATLL consultants are more than willing to help. Russ would have to check with DESE first since they are hired to do professional development. They are currently giving the “Distance Learning Playbook” to schools to assist teachers.
Annette: Her role at ATLL is to work with leadership and she works directly with Paul Katnik. She hears about struggles every day from area leaders. A number of principals are also substituting in their schools due to the shortage of subs.
Juli: Has anyone surveyed teachers in the area? Russ replied no and said teachers at the secondary level seem to be handling everything better. The elementary teachers are struggling more.
Stephanie H.: Could we use our practicum students? Would teachers consider this helpful or hinder them because we want it to be good for them. Russ replied that possibly our students could release teachers for an hour or so for their practicum assignment. Someone else (not COE faculty/staff) would be in charge of the scheduling/follow ups.
Denise: Typically, practicum students are not normally left alone in a classroom with students. So, they do not know how they could be giving breaks unless our guidelines are changed.
Kim: Giving class release time is not what the students need for their practicum requirements.
Stefanie L: Her students do not want to be at risk. She advocates for teachers but now is the time to talk with DESE about doing something. Health and safety are teachers’ number one job. We are seeing the outcomes of failed policies. This would be a band aid approach.
Barri: It is important for students to have a choice about taking this on and being in a school setting.
Janice: There is much more going on than what is happening at schools. Their philosophy is to recognize the strategies to make it safe and explore other practices if needed. Some of the college students at Greenwood recognize the dangers of doing a practicum, but they still socialize with friends. They, and future teachers, need to be reminded how to work with the COVID situation. Russ said that his group could possibly set up activities or talk sessions across schools or grade levels. Participation would be optional.
Travis: There are probably some practicum students who could help with grading and possibly do a portion of the online teaching.
Rachel: Surveying teachers regularly to share what they are doing. Monthly round tables could be optional.
Ximena: Are there other school districts who have this kind of assistance? Possibly research it and go from there.
Karen: Offer self-care mindfulness meditation like our university does. This could have a huge impact.
Russ: Last March, April, and May ATLL offered sessions for teachers to have discussions with each other. They continue to offer that. Most of a teacher’s day is so filled with teaching, grading, and planning that they don’t want to add one more thing. They are dealing with their work and family life.
Stephanie H.: Ask students who have more hours and substitute certificates to see if they would want to provide relief an hour or two periodically. Help grade papers, etc. Students would need to want to do it. It may need to be an external organization for students.
Barri: Possibly offer independent credit.
Travis: Regarding secondary education, organize students who are taking the same in a larger room and let the two or more teachers take turns teaching.
Annette: Some high schools use Launch, which is unlimited seating (virtual).
Denise: Do we have any idea of where this is needed? They had a hard time placing practicum students in the area school districts because a number of districts did not want them. Also, traveling could be hard from some students.
Barri: We could open up to schools who want to partner with us and are willing to do this.
Annette: Principals are desperate for substitutes. She hears this daily. A pool of 4-5 students assigned to a specific school would be very helpful. Karen added that before COVID, some principals were discussing that, but worried that students won’t have the competencies. It would be difficult for this to count as a student’s practicum.
Stephanie: States were not prepared to give teachers the help needed to go online so quickly. This does give an opportunity to DESE to come up with more assistance and to look toward the future. Early childhood and elementary teachers are struggling more. They need interaction.
Stefanie L.: Everyone needs to work on best practices.
Ximena: Parents and students both need to be trained on how to learn online. More resources are needed and everyone involved needs to be trained.
Russ: DESE has received funding for reimbursement for school districts for technology needs. There is still money available for schools. ATLL staff do not have the extended technical expertise that teachers need.
Ximena: Is it possible to have a technology needs assessment completed for schools/teachers?
Kim: They place 400-600 practicum students per semester. DESE doesn’t have competencies that are required to be met, but MSU does. Students could put their hours in as “help”. Some students may not be able to travel far due to other classes they have. Some students may have concerns about being in a classroom, but there is probably a larger number that would want to. Annette agreed.
Denise: Schools have to want our students there. Currently it is not that way.
Barri ended the discussion that some good ideas were generated and she will discuss them with the Dean. She then asked if there was anything timely to discuss. Denise received an email from Marjorie Steward regarding the Career Expo / Education Career Fair being virtual this year. Last year it was at the Springfield Expo Center from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, on Wednesday, February 26. It is for all students from our university and others. Recruiters from business, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, public/private schools and graduate schools are invited to attend. There is recruiting for internships and full-time positions. Most colleges/universities have tables for recruiting there. Barri asked what everyone thought would be the best time and March or April were suggested although they will try to find out when school districts will be hiring. It was also suggested to have a morning and afternoon session.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:00 a.m.
Submitted by Sharon Lopinot, Executive Assistant II