Fall 2021 Newsletter

USF David C. Anchin Center for the Advancement of Teaching

Director's Greeting

Greetings, friends, colleagues, and partners, as we embark on a new academic year! I am excited and honored to introduce this first issue of the Anchin Center’s quarterly newsletter for the 2021-2022 school year because I am writing the message as the new David C. Anchin Endowed Chair in Education Innovation and Director of the Anchin Center. I hope this message will be one of many that I will share with you about the timely, innovative, and significant work we’re doing in the Center to serve educators, children, and communities. As I begin my inaugural director’s message, I think it is important to first acknowledge that we are all still dealing with the myriad impacts the pandemic has had on our lives during the last 17 months. I sincerely hope this message finds you and your family healthy and well. My condolences go out to you who have lost loved ones to COVID. I wish you find peace and comfort amid the viral storm raging around us.

I know many of us are facing the fears and challenges that come with returning to brick-and-mortar structures, regular in-person interactions, and life as usual, while still recognizing the pervasiveness and volatility of this horrific disease. As educators, parents, and caregivers, we are also concerned that our students have fallen behind due to little or no exposure to teachers and in-person learning experiences. This may produce even more angst as we then consider the longstanding inequities and gaps that already have existed between groups of students in schools may now be an overwhelming gulf too large to close. Furthermore, the school year is beginning with a host of new educational standards, laws, policies, and curricula that we must know and follow, even though we are unfamiliar, unclear, or in utter disagreement with some of them. Please allow me to reassure you that all of us in the David C. Anchin Center empathize and stand with you as we are grappling with the same issues. We have spent the last several months trying to put our own fears and anxieties to good use by regularly talking, thinking, and planning together, as well as with so many of you, to organize a comprehensive slate of professional development offerings, a conference, and a bevy of other learning opportunities to address most of the above-referenced topics. We are delighted to highlight some our recent work and preview upcoming efforts as we begin fall semester 2021.

If you would like to continue receiving the Anchin Center’s quarterly newsletter, please be sure to subscribe to our mailing list.

If you want to learn more about the David C. Anchin Center, please visit our website.

If you are interested in discussing how you can collaborate with the David C. Anchin Center on a project, please contact our office at anchincenter@usf.edu or 813-974-5959

Dana Thompson Dorsey, JD, PhD

David C. Anchin Endowed Chair in Education Innovation

Director, David C. Anchin Center for the Advancement of Teaching

Featured in this newsletter:

  • Anchin Community Talks
  • Equity, Effectiveness, and Control: The Every Student Succeeds Act and State Approaches to Defining School Turnaround
  • AP Summer Institute Recap, July 2021
  • Gulf Coast Partnership (GCP) Celebrates 10 Years
  • Upcoming Professional Development Opportunities
  • Save the Date: Education for Justice Conference, 2nd Annual David C. Anchin Center Conference
  • “Place, Space, and Play” – Anchin teams with USF’s School of Architecture to bring an innovative pre-school concept to the St. Petersburg’s Midtown neighborhoods
  • College Athletics and its New Influence on PK-12 Education
  • Educational Policy Information Center (EPIC)
  • Leadership Collaborative
  • What We're Reading


Anchin Community Talks

Anchin Community Talks are speaking events that present cutting edge research and best practices for addressing the most important opportunities and pressing challenges in Florida’s schools.

In August, the Anchin Center hosted a panel discussion titled, "Race, Racism, and Speech in the K-12 Classroom: What should teachers and administrators know about this rapidly evolving topic?" Dr. Dana Thompson Dorsey, Endowed Chair in Education Innovation and Anchin Director, was joined by featured panelists Ms. April Cobb, Board President of the Sunshine Education Coalition, Dr. Sharon Jefferson, founder of RECESS Education, Inc., Dr. Steve Permuth, Professor of Educational Leadership at USF, Dr. Steven Tauber, Professor of Political Science at USF, and Dr. Brenda Walker, Professor of Exceptional Student Education at USF. More than 60 attendees from school districts around the state joined us for the session, which focused on the following key questions:

  • What is critical race theory? What isn't critical race theory? What should educators know and understand about critical race theory?
  • What should teachers know and understand about student discussion, voice, and speech in the classroom? What student speech is protected?
  • How can educators--teachers and administrators, alike--continue to advance efforts for justice and support students' comprehensive and candid understanding of our national history?
  • How are state and national politics influencing the passage of legislation and policies regarding classroom speech when it comes to race and racism?

Please click below to view the panel discussion.

ACT For Justice and Change | Anchin Community Talks


Equity, Effectiveness, and Control: The Every Student Succeeds Act and State Approaches to Defining School Turnaround

by William R. Black, Ph.D. and Adam C. Rea, Ph.D.

Given the enormously disproportionate percentage of low income and students of color attending schools in TSI, CSI, and MRI status, it can be argued that state-level plans for turnaround interventions represent a de facto state level policy lever for more equitable outcomes. While ESSA was designed to provide greater flexibility to states, and state-level and contextually sensitive flexibility is desirable, our analysis reveals a significant and wide variation in categorical definitions and identification of turnaround schools.... Read more


AP Summer Institute, July 2021

The Anchin Center's annual AP Summer Institute is the third largest in the world, with participants joining us from 29 states and 6 different countries, including Bahamas, China, Dominican Republic, Japan, Philippines, and United Kingdom. This summer, we welcomed approximately 582 AP teachers to our AP Summer Institute which was delivered fully online for three weeks.

The Institute was very well received by participants who shared that they gained a lot from the opportunity to build their knowledge around their AP courses from experienced and enthusiastic College-Board consultants, and from fellow participants. One teacher stated, "I felt our facilitator did everything she could to make sure the workshop was as helpful and engaging as possible through our online platform. She was very knowledgeable and was able to clearly explain concepts that seemed intimidating at first. I am very happy to have attended the workshop as I now feel much more prepared and confident as a new AP teacher." Participants logged in to synchronous sessions via Zoom and worked through asynchronous course content in Canvas.

We want to thank Caryn Preston for her excellent leadership in developing and supporting this important event and our APSI facilitators for their flexibility and expertise.


Gulf Coast Partnership (GCP) Celebrates 10 Years

The GCP program is a school district and USF partnership focusing on the Level II Principal Certification. The program has been sustained through the support of the David C. Anchin Center and the professional development departments of participating districts. The 10th cohort comprises 49 assistant principals from the school districts of Hernando, Polk, Manatee, Hardee, Hendry, Okeechobee, and Glades and will work together during the 2021 – 2022 school year. Four hundred and seventy-nine principals and future principals have successfully completed the program. The program is scheduled to be presented partially online and face-to-face this year.

The guiding purpose of the GCP is to prepare the very best first-year principals by exploring and tapping into strengths that enable you and your school to achieve the excellent results you seek. Dr. John Mann and Dr. Adam Rea continue to proudly lead the program.


Fall 2021 Professional Development Opportunities

Webinar: Racial Justice in Literacy

Webinar: Racial Justice in Literacy:

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

7:00-8:30 p.m. EST

This webinar is designed to discuss how the field of literacy has responded to race and racism through an examination of equity and racial justice in literacy research. We present an overview of how race has operated as a construct in literacy research, teaching, and assessment.

Through scenarios that draw on practical experiences with literacy in and beyond classrooms, we invite parents, teachers, administrators, and other stakeholders, to identify how racism functions daily in literacy. In turn, we provide recommendations for advancing racial justice in literacy research.

Featured Panelists:

  • Dr. Arlette Ingram Willis is a Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Division of Language and Literacy.
  • Dr. Patriann Smith is an Associate Professor of Literacy at the University of South Florida and Literacy Research Association Board Member.
  • Dr. Jung Kim is an Associate Professor of Literacy and Program Director of Literacy, ESL, and Instructional Technology at Lewis University outside of Chicago.
  • Dr. Betina Hsieh is a Professor and the Director of Teacher Education at LaFetra College of Education, University of LaVerne.

Cost: Free

Reserve your space and register by clicking here!

Understanding the Science of Reading: A Self-Paced, Online Course

August 23 - October 1, 2021

Understanding the Science of Reading: Implications for Explicit Systematic, and Multisensory Literacy Instruction and Intervention:

This professional development course is designed for classroom teachers to explore the science of reading and developmental models of reading.

A focus on phonological/phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary development, comprehension, and foundational, inclusive literacy practices are central topics we will explore throughout the 6-week session. Through the exploration of these topics, teachers will consider implications for explicit, systematic literacy instruction and multisensory literacy interventions for children with decoding difficulties, dyslexia, and broader reading challenges.

The goal of this course is to provide a platform for practicing teachers to explore flexible and skillful use of developmentally appropriate instructional strategies for planning inclusive, responsive, and culturally relevant instruction for all students.


Looking to complete your professional learning hours? The Science of Reading professional development course satisfies the Florida Department of Education’s 40-hour learning hours requirement in reading instruction.

Florida statute 6A-4.0051 requires 40 hours of professional learning “in the use of explicit, systematic, and sequential approaches to reading instruction, developing phonemic awareness, and implementing multisensory intervention strategies” for recertification of teachers renewing various teaching certifications (e.g., elementary education, primary education, middle grades, education, English education, reading, and others).

Cost: $295.00

Instructor: Margaret Krause, PhD, Literacy Studies, University of South Florida

Reserve your space and register.

Tampa Bay Literacy Leadership Collaborative

The Literacy Leadership Collaborative will be a multi-district team of literacy leaders working together to harness the power of evidence-based, equitable instructional practices while implementing the Florida B.E.S.T. standards and a newly adopted curriculum to accelerate literacy achievement for each student in their district.

Sessions take place on Thursday Evenings from 6:00 –8:00 p.m. (Dinner Served at 5:30 p.m.)

2021-2022 Sessions:

  • September 16, 2021
  • October 7, 2021
  • October 28, 2021
  • November 18, 2021
  • December 9, 2021
  • January 13, 2022
  • February 3, 2022
  • February 24, 2022

Instructor: Angela Schroden, Ed.D.

Location: TECO Hall, College of Education, University of South Florida, Tampa

Cost: $495

Registration fee includes:

  • All sessions
  • A complementary dinner
  • On-campus parking at USF’s Tampa campus

Reserve your space and register by clicking here!

Microsoft Innovative Teacher Academy - for USF College of Education Faculty

Join us for a specialized two-day event to learn about the many tools Microsoft has to offer professors and pre-service teachers. Throughout each day, you'll participate in a series of immersive learning activities that will help you increase efficiency, enhance communication and collaboration, and improve instruction to meet the needs of your students — while modeling the innovative use of educational technology.

This is an introductory course intended to expose faculty to Microsoft offerings for education. This is not a deep-dive instruction into any one tool. Information about additional trainings and resources will be available throughout the day for educators who would like to learn more about the topics presented in this training.

Dates: Friday, September 17, 2021 and Friday, October 8, 2021

Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Presenters: Nicole Caldwell, M. Ed. and Cindy Daniels, MSA

Location: TECO Hall

Device Requirement: Please bring the working device(s) you are most comfortable with to both sessions.

You can register for this two-day training opportunity by visiting the following webpage: https://bit.ly/3BpFoIj

Information about a Microsoft Innovative Tools training for College of Education Staff and Students will be coming soon!

Coming Soon!

Additional fall professional development offerings will be coming soon. Be sure to follow us on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) to stay up to date with all of our offerings.

Be on the lookout for more information about:

  • Microsoft Innovative Tools training for College of Education Staff and Students
  • Textured Teaching professional development workshop with Lorena Germàn, co-founder of #DisruptTexts and Multicultural Classroom. This workshop will be Saturday, November 6th, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
  • #Disrupt Text online workshops
  • Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Mathematics



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College of Education, University of South Florida


After shepherding students through a global pandemic that highlighted so many longstanding inequalities that serve as a barrier to achievement, teachers and administrators are returning to school this fall with a new unknown—what does education look like as communities adjust to the post-pandemic world? Campuses and school buildings are reopening their doors for a “return to normal,” though this approach doesn’t fully encompass the complexity of what teachers, students, and families have endured since March of last year. Questions remain about how to best accelerate learning for students who have experienced learning loss, teachers’ well-being and emotional health, teacher recruitment and retention, primary and secondary trauma, and the health and safety of everyone in schools.

This conference will explore these questions as we collaboratively forge a path forward towards a more socially-just, equitable education for students, especially those underserved in our current school structures.


Registration will open soon!


“Place, Space, and Play” – Anchin teams with USF’s School of Architecture to bring an innovative pre-school concept to the St. Petersburg’s Midtown neighborhoods.

by Dana Roberts, Graduate Assistant, David C. Anchin Center for the Advancement of Teaching

Settle back and re-imagine your earliest memories of school, pre-school, or day-care. Thinking back to that time: what was your best day? What friends did you make? What fun things did you do that day? Just how special was your first teacher?

In South St. Pete, young families are struggling to find quality play-school placements for their toddlers. Besides a shortage of placements, what early childhood education seats that are available are often in centers that are rated by the Department of Education as mediocre at best. Even these placements might not be close to home or conveniently located.

Midtown is the area of just south of center town St. Petersburg that is an historic African-American community. It was an epi-center of the struggle against segregation and a local beacon in the civil rights movement of the 60’s and 70’s, but unfortunately, progress more recently has been slow. In 2015 the Tampa Bay Times released a bombshell investigative report about the area’s elementary schools called “Failure Factories”. It was severely critical of the Pinellas County School Board and it galvanized local efforts to enhance quality educational opportunities for all Black students.

Today, the community in South St. Pete and City Hall are moving forward with a vision of urban renewal that includes improving early childhood education (ECE) access. The David C. Anchin Center for the Advancement of Teaching and USF’s School of Architecture were recently awarded an USF internal partnership grant to investigate an affordable, sustainable, and exceptional ECE facility concept. The project has the flag-ship vision of “Place, Space, and Play” to delineate the key concepts of local-ness, space as a teacher, and our overriding belief that play is the main job of any toddler.

The partnership’s focus on “Place” is also very intentional around the need to address what are called “Child-care Deserts” and the idea that access should center on the neighborhood. Extending this into the concept of “community-schools”, we see the pre-school as a point of access for young families for parenting support, young-family health, and social services facilitation – something that is called “wrap-around services”. This concept comes back to humanity’s earliest social discovery: something called “the village”. Our village pre-school conforms to the west-African tradition of “Kindezi” – the art of taking care of the village’s children with an eye to not only their future but for the ongoing benefit of the whole community.

In mid-fall 2021, Professor Taryn Sabia and her graduate students at the Florida Center for Community Design and Research at USF's School of Architecture will be holding a workshop that will engage South St. Pete residents in a participatory design experience to start the process to build partnerships between community members, organizations, and government leaders. More importantly, this “Community Design Charrette” (the term for this form of community engagement) will result in a “community-approved” facility design that is based on residents’ consensus of what a “Play-based” curriculum for our “little-kiddos” would look like.

The “Place, Space, and Play” community pre-school project is a challenging and ambitious new venture for the Anchin Center beyond our traditional K-12 role. We are all very excited to be departing on this journey to improve education opportunities for such an important but underserved population so close to home.


College Athletics and its New Influence on PK-12 Education

by Chris Darby, Graduate Assistant, David C. Anchin Center for the Advancement of Teaching

On July 23, 2021, the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled in the case of NCAA v. Alston that college athletes could profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL). The issue of compensating college athletes had been an enduring legal battle for decades, and the Court’s decision shocked both the sports and legal arenas. In the court’s opinion, Justice Gorsuch noted, “American colleges and universities have had a complicated relationship with sports and money.” This decision from the nation’s highest court directly impacts higher education as colleges and universities are now tasked with the burden of developing and implementing new policies concerning how and for what type of educational opportunities student athletes may receive funding. As with other policies born out of past landmark Supreme Court decisions, there are often more questions than answers and many years of trial, error, and sometimes more litigation. Only time will tell how the Courts’ decision will shape NCAA, higher education, and college athletics policies and programs, as well as whether NIL will yield substantial financial benefits for college athletes.

While the US Supreme Court’s decision has immediate ramifications for incoming or current college athletes, some consideration should be given to what the decision may mean for up and coming athletes on the PK-12 level. Specifically, PK-12 leaders may want to start thinking about how they can properly equip their student athletes with the academic knowledge and preparation they may need as future high-flying NCAA college athletes given how young some students begin participating in sport activities. For instance, school districts may implement mentoring programs where they match young student athletes with school leaders or alumni who were former college or professional athletes. Districts may also consider updating or developing new curricula for elementary and secondary students focused on marketing, brand imaging, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. A 20 year-old superstar college athlete who has taken these courses throughout their school career may feel better prepared to negotiate or to make potentially life-altering financial and contractual decisions based on his/her NIL than if they had not had the courses. Regardless, the decision in NCAA v. Alston is here to stay. Teachers and educational leaders, from PK-16, should ensure their students are academically, mentally, and financially astute to address challenges and make very difficult choices, including those that may arise as college athletes, because they can affect them for the rest of their lives.


Educational Policy Information Center (EPIC)

The Education Policy Information Center (EPIC) provides timely, accurate, reliable, research-based information designed to inform educational policy development at the state and local district levels. EPIC publishes Policy Briefs and Research Briefs to provide relevant research for the professional and lay community and Policy Research Reports that synthesize and disseminate significant scholarship on policy issues. EPIC also hosts a public lecture series to share cutting-edge research by EPIC Fellows and Scholars-in-Residence on policy issues in education. EPIC publications and resources can be found on the “Research and Resources” page on the Anchin Center website.


Leadership Collaborative

The Leadership Collaborative is an initiative sponsored by the Anchin Center and school district professional development leaders from the west coast of Florida, including Citrus to Sarasota Counties, Polk County and the Heartland Consortium. Participants focus on issues related to professional development and discuss items of concern at the state level.

The Leadership Collaborative held its May meeting online where participants discussed new legislative requirements for teacher recertification, upcoming professional development opportunities, and shared strategies in support of teaching and learning amidst ongoing school closures due to COVID-19.



About the David C. Anchin Center for the Advancement of Teaching

The mission of the David C. Anchin Center for the Advancement of Teaching is to collaborate with teachers, school leaders, districts, and other educators to improve the quality of education for students and to transform the teaching profession to attract, retain, and develop quality educators. We achieve this mission through partnerships with schools, the broader educational community, business and industry, and the community at large.