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Improving Teacher Effectiveness, New Approaches to Certification Top the Agenda at Summit of Education Leaders From Four New England States

Hosted by New Hampshire Commissioner of Education Virginia Barry Meeting Focuses
on Opportunities for Collaboration Among Neighboring States

With compelling topics such as teacher effectiveness and new approaches to teacher certification on the agenda, education leaders from four New England states met recently to brainstorm ways that collaboration among the neighboring states could improve teaching and learning for students. At the recent “Educator Effectiveness: A New England Regional Solutions Summit” hosted by Dr. Virginia Barry, New Hampshire Commissioner of Education, representatives from the Connecticut, Maine and New Hampshire Departments of Education and the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education joined with other educational experts to delve deeply into the challenges and opportunities they face in their states.

Kicking off the summit, Dr. Barry challenged her colleagues to think creatively about ways that the New England states can work together to improve education, particularly in the areas of reciprocity and portability of teacher certification. “The dialogue at this summit was enlightening and productive, and we look forward to continued discussions on these important topics,” she said.

Dr. David Driscoll, chair of the National Assessment Governing Board Executive Committee and former Massachusetts Commissioner of Education, brought a national perspective on education to the gathering with a presentation on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and the current status of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Participants were also updated on developments from two multi-state assessment consortia – Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) – which have been awarded federal Race to the Top assessment grants to develop K-12 assessment systems aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

Peter McWalters, interim director of the State Coalition for Educator Effectiveness (SCEE) Workforce Development Initiative, and former Rhode Island Commissioner of Education, briefed the group on the Council of Chief State School Officers/Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium’s (InTASC) State Coalition for Educator Effectiveness (SCEE) Workforce Development Initiative. This collaboration of 33 states will work together to unpack and align the new Common Core State Standards, InTASC model core teaching standards and the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium 2008 standards for school leadership. McWalters said states in the coalition will work together on preparation and certification initiatives that will grow highly effective teachers and leaders.

Offering new insights into ways that the educator certification process can both ensure quality and provide portability, representatives from the Evaluation Systems group of Pearson provided an overview of its NES® (National Evaluation Series™) computer-based educator certification testing program.

“It is inspiring to have our four neighboring New England states come together in the spirit of extending their collaborative efforts in teacher preparation, certification and evaluation,” said William Gorth, president, Evaluation Systems group of Pearson.

The participants hope to meet again in the near future for additional productive dialogue and brainstorming on issues that affect their states.

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