California Educator

October 2013

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Teacher Leadership CTA &You NEA grant funds Teacher Leadership Cohort Members get a little TLC for projects that improve instruction and professional practices BY BILL GUY " T H E T E A C H E R L E A D E R S H I P Cohort is the most exciting and rewarding project I have had the privilege of participating in during my 12 years as an educator," says Ashley Cooper. The Conejo Valley biology and health teacher is one of 23 CTA members statewide involved in professional development projects funded by a $40,000 grant from the National Education Association. Facilitated by CTA's Instruction and Professional Development Department, the grant helps members assume new or expanded leadership roles as advocates in improving instruction and professional practices. TLC participants, chosen based on their interest and potential as leaders with passion for instruction and professional practice, participated in a CTA leadership academy over the summer. Since then, the participants have been meeting in four regional subgroups aligned with CTA's four geographic regions, engaging in individual or team projects focused on advocacy. Participants are also learning how to connect their advocacy to the work of their union, ultimately enabling CTA to strengthen its capacity to support learning. At press time, NEA agreed to fund a second cohort of CTA teacher leaders. Check for details. Here are four TLC participants who currently have projects under way. Add this to your timeline. STACEY WIRE WARD, Palm Springs Teachers Association BARBARA RANSOM, Santa Monica-Malibu Classroom Teachers Association "Everything in the educational literature says you need to put the best teachers in the toughest positions, but if that's the case, what are you "Teachers Make the Best Teachers of Other Teachers," say teachers utigoing to do to keep them there?" asks cohort member Stacey Wire Ward, lizing the expertise of Santa Monica middle school math teacher Barbara a consulting teacher working with Palm Springs Unified's Beginning Ransom, who also works with the AVID college readiness program and Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) induction program. with Spark programs (workplace apprenticeships for students). Working with seven of her colleagues, Ward's goal is to create "We're focused on best practices while we transition into teaching the a cohort of teacher leaders who will address the challenges of poverty Common Core Algebra 1 standards," says Ransom, "basically trying to as it impacts student and educator success. put professional development in the hands of "We're meeting regularly to discuss the book educators in order to make it more relevant and Professional Capital: Transforming Teaching useful." (See Ransom's Common Core Cohort in Every School, by Andy Hargreaves and blog at Michael Fullan (Teachers College Press), which touts the premise professional capital is essential to teaching. Professional capital equals GABRIELA OROZCO-GONZALEZ, Montebello human capital plus social capital plus decisional Teachers Association capital. We're testing the theory that a small An emphasis on professional development Stacey Ward, Palm Springs Teachers Association, group of committed individuals can make a big around the Common Core standards is also Adriana Perez, Inglewood Teachers Association, difference." the emphasis for Gabriela Orozco-Gonzalez, and Ashley Cooper, Unified Association of Conejo teacher leader and Common Core facilitator at Teachers, brainstorm ways to take a leadership role Montebello Gardens Elementary. in improving instruction. ASHLEY COOPER, Unified Association Through a technology-based community of of Conejo Teachers practice called the Common Core Café, OrozProfessional Capital is also the focus for Thousand Oaks High School's co-Gonzalez is bringing together educators and administrators to improve Ashley Cooper, who is developing an online study around the book, student achievement. "The goal is to develop a core of master teachers including discussion forums and a detailed reflection guide to highlight who can inspire others, modeling the connections between the Common the main points of the book, with the cooperation of her chapter and her Core standards-based curriculum and technology, as we strive to create school district. "The online format will allow educators across the U.S. to a community of practice with high expectations for student achievement," join these discussions, and I think that is valuable professionally," says she says. Cooper. (Her online site can be found at The Palm Springs group studying Professional Capital is using the beta version of Cooper's study guide in their work, an example of how TLC members are collaborating across the state. OCTOBER 201 3 Educator 10 Oct 2013 v2.1 int.indd 65 65 10/7/13 9:39 PM

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