ATC is launching a new online portal in March 2022 to decrease the time spent reviewing applications and managing licensure, as well as any technical difficulty and confusion experienced throughout the process.
John Hall, ATC’s director of partnerships, has been a long-time believer in and utilizer of mindfulness meditation, but over the past two years this practice has turned into an everyday commitment that fuels his well-being as both a person and professional. He earned his certification as a Koru mindfulness facilitator in 2020 and since then has offered a series of free classes for ATC teachers and other educators from ATC’s partner schools. As he prepares to begin a new course for ATC fellows on March 9, John took a moment to reflect on his journey with mindfulness and the impact that mindfulness meditation can have on students and educators alike.
The Arkansas Teacher Corps came together on Saturday, February 12 for the third All Corps event of the 2021-22 school year, a day of professional development focused on our core value of brave vulnerability. This year has been really difficult in schools with constant changes due to COVID and we wanted to give fellows time to process that the year was not what they expected.
Jamie Powell (ATC '18), Whitney Carter (ATC '18), Bernard Smith (ATC '17), Dasnee McChristian, Nick Brown, and Tonya Bobo (ATC '18) have been selected to lead and facilitate coaching, logistics, equity sessions, and instruction sessions, respectively, for the 2022 ATC Summer Institute.
Arkansas Teacher Corps has been featured in a recently published book, COVID-19 and the Classroom: How Schools Navigated the Great Disruption, for our work with novice teachers at the beginning of the pandemic! Chapter 12 "How an Alternative Licensure Program Pivoted during the Pandemic" details how our team shifted to a virtual institute model in summer 2020 and the impact it had on our fellows and staff.
This past fall we administered our semi-annual culture survey and saw growth in responses for ALL questions compared to the same time last year. Our largest growth occurred for the question “I feel connected to the ATC family”, a priority for our team this year as we have structured our PD days around connectedness and worked on creating more-connected coaching cohorts and content groups.
The ATC Teacher Development Team completed the remainder of fall TESS evaluations in January and has now set a direction for PD and coaching this spring--one centered on discussion techniques and formative assessments with an emphasis on teachers' emotional resilience.
A recent survey of students taught by Arkansas Teacher Corps fellows found that students' self-reported class engagement has increased since September 2019, the last time the survey was administered. However, students also indicated a decrease in grit, or the ability to persevere in order to achieve a goal. These results suggest that students may be excited by the return to in-person learning but may struggle to stay on task.
Once a month, our fellows meet with their coach in regional cohorts for small-group professional development workshops focused on teaching skills and emotional resilience. For the 2021-22 school year, these sessions have focused on formative assessment and teacher mindfulness specifically.
On November 6th, we welcomed our fellows to our second All Corps professional development event of the 2021-22 school year. Grounded in our core value of continual learning, the day featured ATC alumni facilitating content-specific sessions and allowed current fellows the opportunity to facilitate skill-based sessions for their peers.