Educator Voice Opportunities: Teacher Fellowships, Teacher Fellow Alumni Network roles including the national Teacher Advisory Council
States with Educator Voice Opportunities: Arizona, Hawaii, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Utah
Through close partnerships with state education agencies and other critical stakeholders, Hope Street Group (HSG) trains and engages practitioners to present teacher-generated ideas and solutions to decision-makers at multiple levels. Each year, Hope Street Group’s Teacher Fellows programs produce education policy and practice recommendations shaped by quantitative and qualitative data gathered by our Teacher Fellows (TFs) from their teachers peers across respective states. Professional learning for TFs includes in-person and virtual modules designed to empower them to lead their peers, build relationships with policymakers, tell their own stories and conduct data-driven conversations.
State Teacher Fellows (STF) programs operate in Arizona, Hawaii, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee and Utah, boasting more than 150 teacher leaders who engage thousands of their peers each year to influence timely education policies and provide practitioner expertise in local and state decision-making. Teacher Fellow data collection topics have included teacher evaluation, the Common Core State Standards, career readiness, professional development, school climate and educator preparation. Fellows programs will launch in Virginia and the District of Columbia in 2018.
The National Teacher Fellows (NTF) program is currently paused, as Hope Street Group deepens its state, local and alumni educator engagement. But the NTF program previously engaged teachers from across the country to support personal policy projects. In 2015, NTFs elicited peer feedback on the topic of teacher preparation for the U.S. Department of Education (USED) and the American Association for Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE), shared through their 2016 report On Deck: Preparing the Next Generation of Teachers. In 2017, the cohort focused on localized implementation of these national recommendations, publishing results and tips in the impact report Teaming Up: Educators Enhance Teacher Prep.
For educators who wish to remain engaged in this work after the terms of their Fellowship, HSG’s Teacher Fellow Alumni Network (TFAN) offers multiple opportunities for enhancing the mission of the organization. The first Teacher Advisory Council (TAC) features outstanding alumni from the National, Hawaii, Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee Teacher Fellows programs. The TAC will lead HSG’s program assessment and alumni outreach efforts through the next two school years, and new TFAN leaders will be recruited annually.
What have been your organization’s biggest accomplishments while exploring educator voice work?
Our active and alumni Teacher Fellows, and their Professional Learning Networks (PLNs), include more than 50,000 teachers across the country, a reach we consider a significant accomplishment in and of itself! But more specifically, we’ve seen movement in the states in which we operate — Teacher Fellows programs providing states and districts with the tools, data and infrastructure to foster deep and wide teacher networks, formulate innovative ideas and directly solve education challenges. A few highlights of impact:
- Increasing resources to implement the core components of the statewide teacher evaluation system in Kentucky.
- Informing the implementation and sustainability of the Next Generation Science Standards in Hawaii.
- Teachers serving as advisors to state legislators and district superintendents in Hawaii, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
- Collaborating to inform the development of a framework for formalizing teacher leadership roles in Tennessee (see https://tnteacherleader.org/).
- Influencing SEA decisions to improve communication to educators, to clarify guidelines for testing, and to create a Proof of Concept assessment pilot in North Carolina.
What advice do you have for other advocacy organizations thinking about engaging educators?
Practitioners must be among the first to weigh in on policies that affect their classrooms and communities, not an afterthought or sought for “final review” of decisions already made. Advocacy organizations like those in the PIE Network are poised to empower high-quality teachers across the country in applying their expertise (and their enthusiasm) by identifying them as leaders, helping them to sharpen the tools in their kits (i.e. strategic communication, policy knowledge and data literacy), and facilitating valuable, supported collaboration among them for the betterment of their peers and their students. When teachers’ efforts to elevate their profession are not just recognized but amplified and expanded, this spirit is contagious. Organizing and bolstering these efforts, while also encouraging the organic connectivity among educators, proves very fruitful for organizations aiming for teacher-led solutions.
- 2017 State Teacher Fellowship Evaluation: Building Sustainable Impact
- Teaming Up: Educators Enhance Teacher Prep
- On Deck: Preparing the Next Generation of Teachers
- Impact Points: State Teacher Fellows Program Newsletter
The topics below represent this member’s recent priorities, as they’ve reported through the annual PIE Network legislative and policy survey. If no priorities are listed, this member is new to the Network and/or has not yet participated in this survey. For much greater detail about all PIE Network members’ recent campaigns, members can access the PIE Network Policy Map here. If you have questions on the PIE Network legislative and policy survey or the Policy Map, contact Lukas.