WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Education and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards announced today that 31 organizations have joined the Teach to Lead initiative as supporters in the effort to advance student learning by expanding opportunities for teacher leadership. Supporters include the National Education Association (NEA), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY). Each organization pledged to help engage the field and their members in various ways, including through social media, summits, training, policy work and advocacy opportunities for future teacher leaders.
The cementing of support from these organizations is part of growing momentum for Teach to Lead, which was established in March by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
“This collaboration will be part of the solution to take teacher leadership to scale—using the ample existing body of work on this as a springboard for action,” U.S. Secretary of Education Duncan said, “I’ve heard from so many teachers who are tired of the heartbreaking choice between serving their students and serving their profession. Teacher leadership must be a force for changing education—not a result of it.”
Thanking the organizations for their support, Ronald Thorpe, president and CEO of the National Board said, “Teacher leadership is not simply a product that can be created by policy and programs—it is a quality that must be forged and nurtured from within the profession. As we work together to cultivate teacher leaders, the expectation is that they in turn will support novice teachers to build their own practice and become accomplished. Ultimately, this cycle will help elevate the entire profession and improve education for all students.”
In addition, Teach to Lead announced that Boston, Denver and Louisville, Kentucky, will be the sites for the first regional Teacher Leadership Summits to be held between December and early 2015, bringing together educators from multiple states to spur meaningful commitments to teacher leadership. The commitments could entail scaling existing programs, creating new programs or spearheading supportive policies that give teachers more opportunities to lead, particularly while continuing to teach. In these working meetings, participants and supporter organizations will share resources and collaborate to create plans of action. Each summit will be followed by smaller Teacher Leadership Labs, which will focus on the implementation of plans to help local districts drive student success through teacher leaders.
Boston is a major hub for teacher leadership, with active collaboration between the district, nonprofits and the AFT. Boston Public Schools offers teacher leadership courses in partnership with Teach Plus, Teachers21 and the Governing Board of Teachers. Teachers who graduate from the Boston Teacher Leadership Certificate program go on to serve in teacher leader roles within their schools, supporting a pipeline of future teacher leaders and principals.
Kentucky has developed a statewide network of teacher leadership through the Hope Street Group Kentucky State Teacher Fellows Program and other programs. Through the National Board’s Network to Transform Teaching initiative, the Kentucky Education Association and other state partners are collaborating to link Board-certified teachers to instructional leadership roles in high-need schools. Kentucky is also a pilot site for the Teacher Leadership Initiative, a partnership between the National Board, NEA and the Center for Teaching Quality.
Denver Public Schools has a longstanding deep investment in recruiting and retaining teacher leaders. The district offers a master teacher certificate, for which National Board Certification is a requirement, and has offers additional compensation to teachers in leadership roles. Working with the Colorado Education Association, the district aims to increase its number of teacher leaders to 150 in 40 schools in the 2014−15 school year.
The summits will be designed to reflect and support collaboration between supporters, local school districts, teachers associations and other key leaders on the ground to advance teacher leadership.
"Teach to Lead helps close the gap between decision-making by policymakers and the daily life of classroom teachers," said Sydney Morris, co-founder and co-CEO of Educators 4 Excellence, a supporter organization. "We are thrilled that this collaboration puts a megaphone in front of our members who are ready and able to pave a path forward in education policy through solutions-driven, collective action."
Sibyll Carnochan Catalan, executive director of the supporter organization America Achieves Fellowship for Teachers and Principals, said, "Bringing educators to the forefront as leaders and experts in the field is something that will benefit children across the nation. The commitments that we will foster together will have long-lasting impacts on the field."
About Teach to Lead (www.teachtolead.org)
Teach to Lead is a joint initiative of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and the U.S. Department of Education focused on expanding opportunities for teacher leadership in ways that enhance student learning and make it possible for teachers to stay in the classroom while leading in the profession.
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