Joan James, Assistant Professor at the University of Wyoming College of Education, wanted to establish a stronger partnership between the university and the local school district in her community. She and her team wanted to improve communication between the two entities. Improved communication would optimize growth and learning for all those involved: pre-service teachers, mentor teachers, K-12 students, and college of education faculty.
Problem and Solution
Joan and her team recognized the potential in a strong partnership between the College of Education and the Albany County School District. They wanted to find ways to share knowledge among all those involved in the education of students in Laramie, WY, by sending pre-service teachers into existing K-12 classrooms and bringing K-12 teachers and students into College of Education classrooms.
Through their work with the Teach to Lead summit, the Wyoming team created a structure for pre-service teachers to work with mentor teachers in existing schools on specific skill development such as lesson planning, classroom management, and instructional strategies. The team additionally put together a series of mentoring workshops for mentor teachers and College of Education instructors to discuss mentoring and co-teaching models.
The Wyoming team credits their project’s success to the intense preparation time they had at the Teach to Lead summit. “It was wonderful to have time to talk through our project and plan with our team alongside a critical friend,” she said. “It made us think more deeply about the actual implementation of our plans.”
Since the summit, Joan has spoken to many local principals about sending College of Education pre-service teachers to work with K-12 mentor teachers to plan standards-based, student-centered lessons, and to discuss strategies for effective teaching in Wyoming schools. The team has provided mentor teachers with guidelines on effective coaching strategies when working with pre-service teachers, enabling them to provide specific feedback.
Teacher Leadership Tips
Joan and her team believe stakeholders should find ways to move public education forward in a positive direction by leveraging teacher leadership on specific projects. She believes in the power of a “bottom-up and teacher- and student-centered approach” to positively impact the learning and lives of students.
Interested in learning more about this project? Contact Joan James at firstname.lastname@example.org.