The Looming Financial Crisis? Resources for the Education Sector

With headlines like these making the rounds, there’s no way to avoid questions about how the COVID-19 pandemic has and will impact the economy — and in turn, America’s schools. The uncertainty is very real, and the consequences could be as well, but how can education leaders make sense of often contradictory and evolving prognostications? And if the impact won’t be catastrophic, what is the more complicated outlook? At Bellwether Education, we’ve worked with schools, CMOs, districts, states, and nonprofits to understand this moment, and have begun to build an understanding — unpredictable as this moment is — of where our sector is headed fiscally, how organizations and policymakers should respond, and the key variables to keep an eye on.

The Talent Development Framework (TDF)

With so many separate educator talent management initiatives—from preservice training to professional development and compensation—and with district, state, and federal involvement in teacher policies, policymakers often have adopted a piecemeal approach to dealing with this system-level issue, particularly under times of crisis. In response, we developed the Talent Development Framework, which provides an opportunity and a road map for state- and district-level policymakers to systemically improve educator quality, address teacher shortages. and improve equitable access for all students.

TDF Data Visualization Tool

The GTL Center’s Talent Development Data Tool can help states disaggregate their existing teacher workforce data to visualize different slices and segments of the teacher workforce across the entire educator career continuum. This easy-to-use, Excel-based tool assists states, districts, and key stakeholders in making strategic decisions for how best to target funding, incentives, and other programmatic supports for the greatest impact. Our team of content experts works with your state to use this data to support districts in making strategic staffing decisions and improving programs for greater impact.

Empowering Leaders. Transforming Schools For Every Student.

The Leadership Academy builds the capacity of education leaders from the school house to the statehouse to make sure children of every race, culture, and other identity characteristics have access to the learning opportunities they need to thrive. Since 2003, we have worked with educators in more than 200 school systems across 36 states.

Leadership coaching helps education leaders take on adaptive challenges that require shifts in mindset and behavior and keeps leaders in their jobs longer and making progress. The most impactful coaches help school and system leaders identify and address inequities in pursuit of a culturally responsive learning environment for all students. The Leadership Academy has coached more than 2,500 school leaders using our proven research-based coaching model, 98% of whom can point to concrete examples of how it helped them improve their practice and their school’s outcomes.  As described below, we offer an introductory and advanced coach training program.

Examining the Impact of COVID-19 on the Teaching Workforce

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis will undoubtedly have dire consequences for all sectors of public education. The rapid transition to remote modes of instruction in the spring of 2020 and the subsequent anxiety about the start of the 2020–21 academic year have highlighted the critical need for well-prepared educators.
Although calls for additional funding for public education are significant,1 at the time of this writing, a federal bailout is still in question, which leaves most state education agencies (SEAs) with grim outlooks and limited options (Green, 2020).

Strengthening Teacher Preparation: Transforming Clinical Practice

Back in 2015, a group of department chairs, administrative leadership, program directors and faculty at Jackson State University formed a task force to write a plan for transforming our teacher preparation program. In that plan, we identified areas of strength and areas we needed to improve. We wanted to build on the deep experience and wisdom of faculty, while taking a fresh look at how we could more strongly ground the experience of our teacher candidates in current K12 practices. At around that same time, we were fortunate to find incredible support by joining the US PREP coalition. With JSU leaders and faculty leading the way, the US PREP peer network and coaches acted as critical friends to strengthen and accelerate our work. We have achieved so much together.

ICYMI: Highlights from the Teacher “Survival Skills” Webinar

This school year presents unique opportunities and challenges, and educators have used this summer wisely in preparation for how to best serve their students in the days ahead. The webinar “A Leader’s Guide: The Survival Skills Every Teachers Needs This Fall and Beyond” was reviewed by attendees as one of our most helpful events this summer, and we’ve broken down the highlights below for your convenience.

Featured speakers from the webinar include:

  • Kelly Montes De Oca; Chief Learning Officer at Bloomboard
  • Heather Staker; President & Founder of Ready at Blend
  • Jason Lange; President & Co-founder at BloomBoard

State Board engages Illinois unions to support first-year teachers with coaches and mentors as they navigate unique fall

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced today a partnership with the Illinois Education Association (IEA) and the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) to pair new teachers with building mentors and virtual instructional coaches to help guide them through this most unique first year of teaching. The Illinois Virtual Instructional Coach and Building Mentor Program is a one-of-a-kind support system for Illinois’ first-year teachers. “This program will offer essential supports to our first-year teachers as they embark on their careers during an unprecedented school year,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. “Our coaches and mentors will ensure that Illinois’ new teachers feel supported and have veteran educators to turn to with their questions.”

Training teachers for the real, diverse world of the classroom

Dr. Miranda Lin’s specialty is teaching future teachers. A professor of early childhood education at Illinois State University, students who take her Teaching and Learning (TCH) 110 class know that it will be demanding, but they leave ready for their first classrooms as professional educators. “I have to prepare them for the real world,” Lin said. “Reality is not always easy. Most of my students are from the suburbs, and they have no idea what some kids go through in their lives even here on the west side of Bloomington.”