The education community is learning how to create the fertile environment that encourages teacher leaders to assume new instructional roles, influence policy and contribute in new ways to faculty and student learning. While much of the work of identifying, supporting and developing teacher leaders falls to school districts, SEAs across the nation are embracing this opportunity.
"Map" teacher leadership
Kentucky recently published its Teacher Leader Framework that describes leadership in six spheres: Leading From the Classroom; Leading Through Modeling and Coaching; Leading Groups and Teams; Leading to Increase Teacher Voice and Influence; Leading to Professionalize Teaching; and Leading to Connect to Larger Community and the World. http://education.ky.gov/teachers/Pages/Educator%20Leadership.aspx
Convene Teacher Leaders to Influence Policy
Georgia's Superintendent of Schools Teacher Advisory Council meets with teacher leaders twice a year to discuss how decisions made at the state level are affecting teachers in Georgia's classrooms. The teachers are advisors that act as liaisons between the Department of Education and the teachers of Georgia.
The Illinois Teacher Leadership Network was created in 2015 with widespread partner support "to build a culture and space for teacher leadership in Illinois." According to their vision statement, "Teacher leaders will have access to a career path that retains and develops high-performing teachers for leadership roles; formalizes, defines, and builds the competencies necessary for high-quality leadership to improve student learning; and recognizes and encourages shared leadership and decision-making in schools to maximize outcomes for children." http://nnstoy.org/chapter/illinois/
Create content-based opportunities for teachers to lead
Tennessee is launching an early literacy initiative called "Read to Be Ready." Regional experts will guide district-based coaches who will lead reading professional development each semester for teachers through PLCs, grade-level meetings or by scheduling other time for learning. Coaches will follow this direct instruction with support throughout the semester by planning together with teachers, teaching model lessons, co-teaching, or observing teachers and providing feedback.
The Washington Teacher Leader Fellows Program engages teachers in leading professional development in a variety of content areas. Currently, the state supports dozens of Fellows in English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Early Learning. View the recruitment materials and program information at: http://www.k12.wa.us/CurriculumInstruct/Fellows.aspx
Communicate opportunities directly to leading teachers.
SEAs can create a list of the state's "movers and shakers" and use that list to promote opportunities directly to leading teachers. The following national opportunities are currently open for application.
ASCD Teacher Impact Grants (TIGs) provide funding and support directly to teachers for promising teacher-led, administrator-supported ideas, programs, or initiatives to improve education. These grants allow teachers to develop and execute projects that can serve as models to be replicated and scaled. The program provides the flexibility, funding, and evaluation support necessary to meet the unique needs of promising teacher-led projects. The grants cultivate the expertise of teachers and help to position them as leaders driving transformation in schools, districts, and states.
Teach to Lead is a partnership among the US Department of Education, ASCD and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Teach to Lead proves resources, facilitating stakeholder consultation, and encouraging professional collaborations to develop and amplify the work of teacher leaders. Two Teacher Leadership Summits (in Minneapolis and Long Beach, CA) will spotlight and advance the groundbreaking, teacher-led work that is happening in states, districts, and schools across the country .
Learning Forward and the National Commission on Teaching & America's Future (NCTAF) announced a competition yesterday that will invite teachers to submit written proposals for the best use of federal funding for professional learning under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
Teams interested in participating will be invited to a series of webinars helping them to understand the new law, including the rights and responsibilities of states regarding use of federal funds for professional development, as well as how those funds can support a systematic vision for continuous improvement in schools.
Teachers will then submit written plans that will be reviewed by an independent panel. The finalists will travel to Chicago for two days in July to participate in further training and feedback and then present their proposals to a panel of judges, who will comment on each of the proposals.