Springing from the regional Teacher Leadership Summits, Teacher Leadership Labs are more intimate daylong meetings intended to increase or expand the progress of a single Teach to Lead team. The collaboration enables all stakeholders to share best practices, identify challenges and ultimately create actionable commitments.
To date, Teach to Lead has facilitated the following Teacher Leadership Labs:
1) IF Data Project, Marshall, MI
Feb. 27, 2015
The lab focused on the IF Data Project, an effort based at Marshall Middle School to create a community-wide, teacher-led approach to increase student achievement for at-risk students in rural Michigan.
Outcome: The lab led to the expansion of the project to neighboring middle schools and secured partnerships with local universities, county health and human services, and a local hospital.
2) Connecticut Educator Network, Hartford, CT
March 6, 2015
The team sought statewide support for development of its Educator Network, providing Connecticut educators with an opportunity to serve as advisors to the Department of Education while receiving training in teacher leadership.
Outcome: The lab was successful in engaging key stakeholders in the development of the network while also securing their support.
3) The WoLakota Project, Mission, SD
April 22, 2015
A teacher mentoring and cultural understanding project, WoLakota is working to address high teacher loss after only one year and low student achievement in tribal and public schools serving Native American communities. After a positive two-year pilot, WoLakota hopes to reach over 40,000 students statewide and serve as a model for other states. The Secretary of Education for South Dakota is a part of the WoLakota team.
Outcome: The group set clear targets to expand classroom-based leadership roles and career pathways for teacher leaders statewide, providing up to 375 retained teachers in high-needs schools over five years. Seventy-five percent of the teachers will work toward achieving National Board Certification.
4) Teacher Leadership Training and Networking, Springfield, IL
May 4, 2015
The lab aimed to boost teacher leadership statewide by: 1) training State Teachers of the Year and finalists as leaders in policy, advocacy and practice; and 2) expanding training and networking to teacher leaders.
Outcome: Eighteen organizations signed a Illinois Teacher Leadership Commitment to support teacher leadership throughout Illinois.
5) Cadre of Distinguished Educators, Portland, OR
May 11, 2015
The Cadre of Distinguished Educators (CODE) project, introduced by teachers from David Douglas School District, outside of Portland, seeks to expand leadership opportunities for teachers at the school and district levels.
Outcome: The lab sparked an open and honest dialogue among teachers, principals and district leaders about the existing barriers to teacher leadership and how to overcome them.
6) Distributive Leadership Project, Gilbert, AZ
May 14, 2015
The lab focused on ways to sustain and expand a unique culture of teacher leadership at Playa del Rey Elementary, a highly regarded Title I school that will be losing its principal as she becomes president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals. Representatives from other Phoenix-area districts as well as state leadership were in attendance, seeking to build a statewide model.
Outcome: The group made several commitments to continue the discussion and to advocate and collaborate for professional development for teacher leadership. Supporting organizations pledged to help provide some of the essential training needed for teachers to be successful as they take on leadership roles.
7) Writing is Thinking, Boston, MA
June 26, 2015
Writing is Thinking is professional development focused activity that involves teachers working collaboratively to strengthen their ability to teach writing skills across the curriculum to their students with particular attention to those who are English Language Learners and/or who have special needs. The goal of the lab was to engage teachers, staff from the State and district, and a broad range of other community members to help the team with their next steps. Their overarching goal is for these particularly challenged students to experience a networked system of well-prepared teachers – not isolated teachers who may or may not hold these same expectations or know how to help.
Outcome: The Lab engendered enthusiastic public support and commitment to the social justice mission of Writing is Thinking. The participants were greatly moved by the presentation and impressed with the teacher’s passion and commitment to these students and reconnected with their own passions that bring them to their work.
8) Teachership: Creating a Culture of All Windows, No Walls, Williamsport, PA
August 4, 2015
This project of the Southern Tioga School District is an exciting effort to provide opportunities for teachers to lead improvements in teaching and learning without leaving their classroom, while administrators deepen their understanding of teaching and learning. Through their continued commitment to collaborative growth, this project has expanded the professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators.
Outcome: This lab was attended by staff and administration from all Southern Tioga schools, as well as other stakeholders across the state. After being given the opportunity to learn about Teachership, stakeholders acted as critical friends to help the leadership team expand their ideas. The day ended with commitments from stakeholders to advance the work of this team and their own schools.
9) Building a Foundation of Teacher Leadership with Education Stakeholders, Oceanside, NY
September 10, 2015
The lab focused on conversations and commitments around the benefits and challenges of teacher leadership. Various groups of education stakeholders spoke about the value of teacher leadership, successful models of teacher leadership, concerns surrounding teacher leadership, and the changing paradigms of leadership as teacher leaders emerge.
Outcome: The lab allowed educational stakeholders some time to think, reflect, and plan commitments for next steps. While the day was meant to celebrate the program and teachers at Oceanside, what occurred was a celebration of collaboration between regional educational stakeholders focused on empowering teachers to improve student learning.
10) Promoting a Positive School Culture through Teacher Leadership, Starkville, MS
December 1, 2015
The Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District’s lab provided authentic conversations among participants that deepened the understanding of the role of teacher leadership in bringing tangible change to local schools and the community. The lab further allowed civic leaders to reflect on their own roles in supporting teacher leadership and emphasized building relationships among stakeholders.
Outcome: The lab was attended by local/state community leaders, Mississippi Department of Education representatives and teacher leaders from across Mississippi and the Starkville/Oktibbeha County area. The day’s work inspired community members to become members of the SOCSD Strategic Partnership Team that supports the efforts of the school district; further, a commitment was made by the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District to the creation of two hybrid role positions that began in January 2016. The work also brought to light the marginalized perception of our Oktibbeha County constituents in the recent consolidation, resulting in programs like Educator for a Day that bring our county and city community leaders into our schools for experiential learning opportunities.
11) Teacher Led PD Using Modeling and Guided Practice (ABQ-NBCT Led Lesson Study), Albuquerque, NM
January 8, 2016
This project was introduced by educators from the Albuquerque Public Schools working in coalition with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Network to Transform Teaching. This study leverages the knowledge and expertise of National Board certified teachers as leaders to bridge the gap between professional learning and classroom practice. The ABQ-NBCT project seeks to develop and deepen a shared understanding of how educator leadership provides the strongest possible educational environment for students and promotes student learning.
Outcome: This lab allowed educational stakeholders from across the state time to learn about the work of the teacher leaders and strategize how they could support their endeavors. Joining us for the day were Authors Alisa Simeral (Teach, Reflect, Learn: Building Your Capacity for Success in the Classroom) and Tonya Ward Singer (Opening Doors to Equity) whose books were being used by the lesson study group. Stakeholders in the room pledged significant commitments that will amplify and expand the lesson study model both within Albuquerque Public Schools and across other school districts.
12) Building Highly Effective Leadership Teams, Omaha, NE
February 27, 2016
50 teachers and administrators gathered to expand a collaborative culture with a mindset for teacher leadership at the school and district levels. Teachers and/or administrators from twelve schools attended the lab. After hearing success stories, the participants spent the day in collaborative structures allowing for conversation on the benefits and obstacles to shared leadership. Much of the discussion focused on the need to move from having collaborative structures to having true collaborative cultures and mindsets.
Outcome: As a result of the lab, twelve schools had a plan for increasing the culture of collaborations between teachers and administrators in their buildings. The team will continue to provide outreach to schools in the district and will provide leadership training through their education association.
13) Teacher Action Committee for Instruction and Student Learning, Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS), MD
May 21, 2016
This project was initiated by Educator Board Partners Team, a team of teachers working together to propose the creation of the Teacher Action Committee (TAC), a platform where the PGCPS CEO, Central Administration and the Board of Education can have an ongoing, meaningful dialogue with active school-based teachers, regarding classroom instruction and student learning. The TAC seeks to open up an avenue for school-based teachers to provide input on crucial issues that impact day-to-day teaching and learning, such as, instruction, curriculum, professional development, teacher retention and support, and all things learning centered.
Outcome: The Leadership Lab allowed educational stakeholders from across the district time to learn about the work of the teacher leaders and strategize how they could support their endeavors. Among them were teachers, school and district leaders and members of the Executive Cabinet. During their presentation, the team explained that the TAC would advocate for high quality classroom instruction for students and student learning. Throughout the lab, stakeholders in the room worked collaboratively to share ideas and forge a pathway for a TAC. The team also elaborated on how the TAC would be instrumental in supporting the CEO’s Strategic Plan, as well as the implementation of the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act), in bringing teachers to the policy table.
14) “Teacher Academy Design Studio: For Teachers, by Teachers,” Winston Salem/Forsythe County Schools, North Carolina
June 23, 2016
Bringing together 15 principals and 70 teacher leaders from their 81 schools, the group worked to design a new professional learning plan for the district. This plan focuses on providing personalized learning for the staff using a teacher leadership structure to facilitate a variety of types of professional support for staff. Teachers worked in breakout groups to provide input and action steps on everything from building trust and a collaborative culture, to content of various levels of learning. Dr. Emory, superintendent, chose to have teachers design this work after studying The Irreplaceables, a publication by The New Teacher Project, TNTP. As a supporting organization for Teach to Lead, TNTP provided two webinars on teacher leadership structures and helped facilitate conversations during the Leadership Lab.
Outcome: The Teacher Academy Design Studio: For teachers by teachers moved the work of the district’s professional development plan forward with strong teacher input. Impactful conversations led to a commitment to include teachers in framing a teacher leadership structure for the district.