New Data Show Tennessee Teachers Want to Lead From the Classroom

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016


Tennessee teachers are eager to increase their level of professional learning and leadership in the state, according to a report from the Hope Street Group (HSG), a national nonprofit organization known for its teacher engagement work. The report includes survey results and recommendations to the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) from the Hope Street Group State Teacher Fellows and thousands of their peers.

“We appreciate the feedback gathered by Hope Street Group and its fellowship program,” Commissioner Candice McQueen said. “Teachers are the most important factor in the success of our students, and this report supports our critical efforts to listen to and learn from our teachers to improve educational opportunities for all students.”

The Hope Street Group report focuses on professional learning and teacher leadership, with results indicating that over half of the survey respondents aspire to a teacher leader role while remaining in the classroom. The report also highlights teacher input on preferences in professional learning frequency and format, differentiated pay, and how teacher leaders are selected. Protected planning time and professional support are also discussed.

“Our purpose at TEA is to promote and advance public education and the teaching profession. Hope Street Group’s report showcases that Tennessee educators are the real experts on what our students need to succeed. Their involvement in important policy decisions is crucial,” said Barbara Gray, Arlington Community Schools administrator and Tennessee Education Association president. “We are pleased we were able to work with the Hope Street Group Tennessee State Teacher Fellows to increase teacher input regarding what works in our public schools.”

“Teachers have been instrumental in the work that has made Tennessee the fastest improving state for student achievement, said Jamie Woodson, Executive Chairman and CEO of the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE). “For Tennessee to reach our bold goals for student success, we must empower more teachers to demonstrate leadership, and this report from The Hope Street Group is providing valuable insight on how we should proceed.”

The thirty Hope Street Group Tennessee State Teacher Fellows hail from twenty one districts across the state and, along with thousands of their teacher network peers, represent the high quality of professionals in Tennessee classrooms. The Tennessee State Teacher Fellows are selected for their strong individual commitments to improving learning outcomes for children. The Tennessee Department of Education, the Tennessee Education Association and SCORE partnered with Hope Street Group in an effort to better engage teachers to ensure the Tennessee education system promotes professional learning and teacher leadership.

In the spring of 2016, the first cohort of Tennessee State Teacher Fellows will continue the group’s work across Tennessee to increase teacher involvement and ensure teacher voices are heard in order to inform and impact policy decisions and transform the teaching profession.

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. For more information, visit:

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