Educator Voice Opportunities: Rodel Teacher Council
The teacher leaders of Rodel’s Teacher Council are dedicated to finding solutions, improving their craft, and leveraging their voices for the benefit of their students. The Council was first convened in 2013 to elevate the voices of teachers, represent the diversity of the teaching force in Delaware schools, provide a venue for teachers to weigh in on important issues affecting their work, and help set the course for education improvement in Delaware.
In 2014, the Council published one of the country’s first examples of educator-developed personalized learning recommendations, the Blueprint for Personalized Learning in Delaware. The Council followed up on this work in 2016 with the publication of four policy briefs related to personalized learning issues. More recently, members of the Council have developed ESSA recommendations for both educators and policymakers, and Educators Speak Up: Social and Emotional Learning in Delaware.
In 2017-2018, the Council included 22 members, both new and returning, representing a diverse mix of educators from districts and public charters throughout the state.
What have been your organization’s biggest accomplishments while exploring educator voice work?
Rodel has been proud of the work of the teacher council over the course of the past 4 years. Some of the highlights have included:
- Regulatory change to allow LEAs to award high school credit based on mastery
- RTC members have been selected to sit on statewide leadership teams, working groups, advisory boards, and steering committees due to the voice/perspective they developed as council members
- Annual personalized learning workshops for hundreds of Delaware teachers, planned and executed by RTC members
- Written pieces published on national blogs (EdSurge, ISTE, EdWeek), and local news outlets
- An existing charter school with an RTC member on staff adjusting its model to support personalized, student-centered learning based on the RTC member’s experience with personalized learning
What advice do you have for other advocacy organizations thinking about engaging educators?
A couple pieces of advice:
- There are many flavors of teacher voice work, but we found it helpful to focus our council on a specific topic, and it was even more helpful to focus on something future-oriented (in our case, personalized, student-centered learning). This helped people think about and engage with what is possible, which completely changed the tone of the conversation to keep the group student-centered and visionary.
- We were surprised by how time/staff intensive the teacher council quickly became. Don’t underestimate it, but doing teacher voice well is completely worth it and has yielded tremendous benefits to us as an organization.
- One of the best design decisions we made was to allow teachers to continue on with their council experience for as many “terms” as they would like. It meant that we could continue to build relationships over a longer period of time without having to start fresh each year with a completely new group.
- Be thoughtful about how you can capture the impact (much of which is indirect/intangible in our experience) of your program from the outset.
- Educators Speak Up: Social and Emotional Learning in Delaware
- A Critical Opportunity for Teachers to Inform Education Policy: Guiding Principles for Educators on ESSA
- A Critical Opportunity for Teachers to Inform ESSA: Policy Recommendations for State and Local Leaders
- Blueprint for Personalized Learning in Delaware
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.