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Time to Think about Teacher Leadership: For ALL Teachers

capitol buildingThe Center for America Progress (CAP) recently issued the report, Teacher Leadership: The Pathway to Common Core Success , listing the following recommendations:

  • Create teacher leadership roles at the classroom, school, and district levels.
  • Allocate time for teachers to collaborate.
  • Create systems for embedded teacher professional development.
  • Give teachers an active role in the selection and development of Common Core [CCSS] instructional materials.

CAP staff visited six sites and found that teachers who were given leadership roles, time to collaborate, excellent professional development, and an active role in selecting and developing instructional materials found greater success, higher student achievement, and strong professional satisfaction.

Those findings square nicely with what we learned from this 2014 report from the National Center for Literacy Education:

  • Positive changes in schools were occurring most where teachers were actively involved in the renovation implementing CCSS required.
  • Teachers feeling most comfortable with the CCSS tend to be those more frequently working with others to analyze student work, design curriculum, and create assessments.

Recommendations from the NCLE study connect well to those of the CAP report:

  • Provide more time for educators to learn and plan together.
  • Encourage and support teachers in designing and innovating.
  • Include everyone who has a stake in strengthening literacy teaching and learning.

While such recommendations read like no-brainers, they’re certainly not the norm. But as several stories this week like this one about Las Vegas, and this one about Florida illustrate, we’re facing teacher shortages of huge proportions—it’s time to put serious thought into how to make this job rewarding and sustainable for those who choose it.

There are places where powerful stories of teacher leadership are unfolding today, but as Lara Hebert says in this post from last fall:

“With the exception of back-to-school time, positive stories of our educational system are rare. What are you willing to do to keep teacher leadership in the spotlight throughout the year?”