Summit : Washington D.C.

School : Robert Goddard Montessori PK-8

District : Prince George’s County Public Schools

State : Maryland

Team Lead : Karuna Skariah

Topics: Coaching/Peer Observation, Curriculum, Teacher Leadership Positions/Roles

Talented and Gifted Teacher and Instructional Program Coordinator Karuna Skariah, NBCT, believed classroom teachers in her community in Lanham, MD craved a stronger and more purposeful relationship with the CEO and central office of the Board of Education. They wanted to have their voices heard directly by decision makers. Her application to Teach to Lead in 2015 proposed the creation of a Teacher Action Committee designed to bridge this gap in the hopes of improving classroom instruction and student learning.

Problem and Solution

Recognizing the potential benefits of an information-sharing partnership between the city’s teachers and local school administrators, Karuna and her team endeavored to create a new entity that could serve as a platform for stronger dialogue between these two groups.

The Teach to Lead team’s proposed solution–a Teacher Action Committee–pulled together a group of school-based teachers and leaders from the Central Office for the purpose of engaging creatively around ideas for improving student outcomes.

Progress

Since its creation, Karuna’s team has made tremendous progress from their proposal’s initial conception. Beginning with a presentation of the proposed entity to the CEO’s Executive Cabinet, Karuna’s team has expanded its work into the recent culmination of a Teacher Leadership Lab. The Leadership Lab was able to bring together an even more diverse group of stakeholders than initially planned, including teachers, Board of Education members, school principals, Executive Cabinet members, union and university leadership, and representatives from the Maryland State Department of Education. They have agreed to work together in the 2016-2017 school year to establish a Teacher Action Committee that puts teacher voices into strategic decision making.

Teacher Leadership Tips

Through their work with the Teach to Lead Summit and their relentless pursuit of their broader vision for uplifting the teaching profession in their community, Karuna and her team were able to enhance the voices of teacher leaders and strengthen relationships with external stakeholders. According to this team, teacher leadership means “doing much more than what you are paid to do, whether it is teaching, mentoring or coaching. It means honing your craft and uplifting your profession–even when no one is looking.”

Interested in learning more about this project? Contact Karuna Skariah at Karuna.Skariah@pgcps.org.