Hope Street Group Teacher Fellows Awarded for ESSA Strategy Plan
This week, a cross-state coalition of Hope Street Group Teacher Fellows will join 11 other teams in Chicago as finalists of the Learning Forward and the National Commission on Teaching & America’s Future’s Agents for Learning Challenge. The challenge, which called upon educator teams across the country to create plans that detailed innovative uses for federal funding for professional learning and student outcomes under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), named the Hope Street Group State Teacher Fellow team of Trey Ferguson (NC), Cassie Reding (KY), Carly Baldwin (KY), Natalie Coleman (TN) and Debbie Hickerson (TN) as finalists. The “Game Changers” team from Hope Street Group is the only team with representatives from three different states to receive this honor. Hope Street Group National Teacher Fellows will also be strongly represented: current Fellow Sarah Giddings and former Fellows Debbie Hickerson and Rebecca Wattleworth will also be in attendance to present their innovative proposals with their respective teams. Trey describes their team’s initial incentive to throw their hat in the competition ring:
“My teammates and I felt too many professional learning opportunities were happening to us, not for us, and definitely not with us. Too many systems are being developed from the top down and do not provide adequate resources or accountability to enhance good teaching practices.”
The finalist teams represent a diverse and knowledgeable group, among them 56 teachers, administrators and learning leaders from 12 different states. When asked about their strategic approach, team member Natalie Coleman tapped into the need for collaboration among educators:
“Our proposal focuses on collaboration and learning from excellence, and we have proposed a model of professional learning that makes it possible for teachers to learn from one another through observations, peer feedback and ongoing follow-up sessions.”
Hope Street Group, a national organization that works to ensure every American will have access to tools and options leading to economic opportunity and prosperity, was given the unique opportunity to plan and sponsor the event:
“We were honored to be asked to co-sponsor this event and help plan it,” commented Dr. Tabitha Grossman, the National Director, Education Policy and Partnerships for Hope Street Group. “Giving teachers an opportunity to share their insights and innovative ideas about how educators can learn together and individually is something we hope to do more of in the coming months with the partners who are involved in this event.”
Dr. Stephanie Hirsh, executive director of Learning Forward, weighed in on the call for teachers to lend their leadership–their expertise, experiences, and input–in the distribution of ESSA funding:
“States tell us they are looking for ways to capture stakeholder input, and the creative and bold ideas in the applications show how much these engaged educators have to offer as we enter the implementation phase of ESSA.”
In addition to the proposal presentations, the Chicago event will feature opportunities for the team members to engage to receive coaching to refine their plans and build skills in advocating with policymakers. As evidenced by the insight offered in the proposals, the challenge further demonstrates the need for teacher voice in education policy on the school, district, state and national levels. Educators can provide a firsthand perspective into what is effective and needed by students, themselves and their colleagues. A unique perspective only they can offer.
The presentations from the top 12 finalists will be live-streamed from 1:00pm to 3:30pm (CST) on July 22nd and can be viewed from this URL: http://www.learningforward.
To learn more about Hope Street Group’s Teacher Fellows Program, please visit http://hopestreetgroup.org/
About Hope Street Group
Hope Street Group is a national organization that works to ensure every American will have access to tools and options leading to economic opportunity and prosperity.www.hopestreetgroup.org