As of the October 2016 term, the Alumni Grant is now called the 'Continuing Education Grant,' and is open to all students who have previously completed an ACE certificate, master's, or doctoral or specialist degree–regardless of their alumni association status. Please visit the Grants and Scholarships page for more information on the Continuing Education Grant.


The ACE Alumni Association provides you with the opportunity to remain engaged with your peers across the country. All graduates will now receive access to Alumni Commons, a platform that will allow you to connect with each other, share ideas, successes, and accomplishments.

When your application for the ACE Alumni Association has been approved, you will receive access to Alumni Commons.


Tip #1: If you teach in a school where a prescriptive or scripted curriculum is required, try starting each subject/class session by explaining to students what will be covered, why students need to learn this material, and how this information can be personally important to them.

Tip #2: Begin the school year with an assignment that relates school or a subject matter to the student. For example, a math autobiography or "why I like school". While this assignment should not be graded, it will provided useful insights about your students' learning experiences.

Tip #3: Volunteer to participate in peer observations. Partner with another teacher in your building to observe one another to provide/receive constructive critique about your practice.

Tip #4: Attend your local school board meetings. You may find that discussions and decisions at this meeting have an impact on your daily practice.

Tip #5: Support your students' extracurricular activities. You may find that students are less likely to be disruptive in the classroom when you take an interest in the things they do outside of the classroom.

Tip #6: If you do not live in the school community, take the time to get to know the landmarks and resources there. Incorporate this knowledge into the classroom experience.

Tip #7: Invite school community members to your classroom. Have them enhance lessons on topics related to their profession or their role in the community.


Principles of High-Quality Professional Development

(from the U.S. Department of Education)

The mission of professional development is to prepare and support educators to help all students achieve to high standards of learning and development.

Professional Development:

  • focuses on teachers as central to student learning, yet includes all other members of the school community;
  • focuses on individual, collegial, and organizational improvement;
  • respects and nurtures the intellectual and leadership capacity of teachers, principals, and others in the school community;
  • reflects best available research and practice in teaching, learning, and leadership;
  • enables teachers to develop further expertise in subject content, teaching strategies, uses of technologies, and other essential elements in teaching to high standards;
  • promotes continuous inquiry and improvement embedded in the daily life of schools;
  • is planned collaboratively by those who will participate in and facilitate that development;
  • requires substantial time and other resources;
  • is driven by a coherent long-term plan;
  • is evaluated ultimately on the basis of its impact on teacher effectiveness and student learning; and this assessment guides subsequent professional development efforts.

Here are a few excellent websites for professional development resources:

Library of Congress - Teachers Page
Annenberg Media
Learning Forward


American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence
ABCTE is a non-profit organization set up with funding from the US Department of Education. Their mission is to ensure that every child has a great teacher and they have created an alternative teacher certification program that is accepted in Florida, Missouri, Mississippi, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Idaho and Utah. Individuals needing an initial certification can use the ABCTE program to earn their teaching license.

American Council on Education (ACE)
The other ACE! ACE, the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions, seeks to provide leadership and a unifying voice on key higher education issues and to influence public policy through advocacy, research, and program initiatives.

Accreditation in the United States
Here you will find lists of regional and national accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as reliable authorities concerning the quality of education or training offered by the institutions of higher education or higher education programs they accredit.

American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers
Professional association of more than 9,300 higher education administrators who represent more than 2,400 institutions and agencies in the United States and 39 other countries.

American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education
Throughout its history, AAHHE has been involved in numerous activities with three goals in mind: (1) Increasing the pipeline of Hispanic faculty in higher education; (2) Bringing issues pertinent to Hispanics to the attention of the larger academic community; and (3) Recognizing the achievements and accomplishments of Hispanics as they pertain to our academy.

American Association of School Administrators
Advocacy and professional organization for educational leaders in the United States and worldwide.

American Association of University Professors
The AAUP's purpose is to advance academic freedom and shared governance, to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education, and to ensure higher education's contribution to the common good.

Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
ASCD, a community of educators, advocating sound policies and sharing best practices to achieve the success of each learner.

Association for the Study of Higher Education
The Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) promotes collaboration among its members and others engaged in the study of higher education through research, conferences, and publications, including its highly regarded journal, The Review of Higher Education. ASHE values rigorous scholarly approaches to the study of higher education and practical applications of systemic inquiry.

Association of College and Research Libraries
The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library Association, is a professional association of academic librarians and other interested individuals. It is dedicated to enhancing the ability of academic library and information professionals to serve the information needs of the higher education community and to improve learning, teaching, and research.

Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges
Dedicated to strengthening public and private higher education, it advances the practice of voluntary trusteeship that has distinguished American higher education for more than 350 years.

Center for Academic Integrity
The Center for Academic Integrity provides a forum to identify, affirm, and promote the values of academic integrity among students, faculty, teachers and administrators.

Center for the Study of Higher Education
Penn State's Center for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE) conducts theory-based research that informs efforts to improve higher education policy and practice.

Committee on Education and Labor (US House of Representatives)
Information on current and past legislative activity, committee membership and structure.

Consortium for Higher Education Benchmarking Analysis
Provides a forum for the exchange of performance measurements and benchmarking data for all levels of higher education around the world.

Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE)
The Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) unites researchers from seven of the nation's leading research institutions in an effort to improve elementary and secondary education through practical research. CPRE’s work focuses on the relations between education policy and organization on the one hand, and school, classroom practice, and student learning on the other.

Council for Advancement and Support of Education
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in London and Singapore, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education is the professional organization for advancement professionals at all levels who work in alumni relations, communications, fundraising, marketing and other areas.

Council for Higher Education Accreditation

Council of Graduate Schools
Our mission is to advance graduate education in order to ensure the vitality of intellectual discovery and to promote an environment that cultivates rigorous scholarship.

Council of the Great City Schools
The Council serves as the national voice for urban educators, providing ways to share promising practices and address common concerns.

Education Commission of the States (ECS)
The Education Commission of the States (ECS) is an interstate compact created in 1965 to improve public education by facilitating the exchange of information, ideas and experiences among state policymakers and education leaders. As a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization involving key leaders from all levels of the education system, ECS creates unique opportunities to build partnerships, share information and promote the development of policy based on available research and strategies.

EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology.

National Association of State Boards of Education
NASBE works to strengthen state leadership in educational policymaking, promote excellence in the education of all students, advocate equality of access to educational opportunity, and assure continued citizen support for public education.

National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC)
NASDTEC is the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification. It is the organization that represents professional standards boards and commissions and state departments of education in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, the U.S. Territories, Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario that are responsible for the preparation, licensure, and discipline of educational personnel. Associate members include other Canadian provinces, institutions of higher education, and representatives of other constituent groups with an interest in the preparation, continuing development, and certification of educational personnel.

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS)
The mission of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is to advance the quality of teaching and learning by: maintaining high and rigorous standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do, Providing a national voluntary system certifying teachers who meet these standards, Advocating related education reforms to integrate National Board Certification in American education and to capitalize on the expertise of National Board Certified Teachers.

National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)
NCATE is the teaching profession’s organization to help establish high quality teacher, specialist, and administrator preparation. Through the process of professional accreditation of schools, colleges, and departments of education, NCATE works to make a difference in the quality of teaching, teachers, school specialists and administrators. NCATE believes every student deserves a caring, competent, and highly qualified teacher.

State Higher Education Executive Officers
Serving statewide coordinating and governing boards in developing and sustaining excellent systems of higher education.

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) is a voluntary association of higher education institutions and other organizations and is dedicated to ensuring the highest quality preparation and continuing professional development for teachers and school leaders in order to enhance PK-12 student learning.

United States Distance Learning Association
USDLA serves the needs of the distance learning community by providing advocacy, information, networking and opportunity.

2017 Alumni Achievement Award

Applications for the 2017 Alumni Achievement Award are being accepted now through June 8, 2017. To submit your application, click here. For more information on the alumni achievement award, click here.


Natalie Pelham (Curriculum and Instruction '14)

Natalie Pelham, based in Jacksonville, Florida has spent the last decade serving her community through various roles in education including teaching, mentoring and coaching. Natalie has taught students of all ages and backgrounds and currently holds a position as an Adjunct Professor at the University of North Florida’s College of Education and Human Services.

Natalie began her teaching career at Annie R Morgan Elementary School, located in the inner city of Jacksonville, Florida. Throughout her time there she was able to teach 2nd-5th grade and become a technology ambassador for the school. Her expertise in education includes incorporating real-life scenarios into learning, utilizing technology to create an inclusive learning environment for all students, and helping students take ownership of their own life- long education journey. Currently at the collegiate level, Natalie instructs and mentors over 80 interns a year as they step out of their textbooks and comfort zones and into real classrooms across 11 counties in Northeast Florida. Natalie holds a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education from the University of North Florida and a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Digital Learning and Teaching from the American College of Education.

When she is not in the classroom, Natalie enjoys spending time with her husband and their two-year-old son. They love going on adventures, taking road trips, and spending time at the beach.

Congratulations, Natalie!