High school teachers Joanna Schimizzi and Rob Leichner formed a teacher-driven professional development community called Uncommon Planning, which works to collaboratively build and evaluate Common Core instructional tools.
State: North Carolina
Source: America Achieves
Hearing the concerns of teachers about lack of collaboration and planning around the Common Core in Charlotte, North Carolina, high school teachers Joanna Schimizzi and Rob Leichner decided to take the lead improving Common Core implementation in their district. To address these issues as well as the district’s need for more teacher leadership opportunities, they created Uncommon Planning, a teacher driven professional development series that brings emerging teacher leaders together collaboratively to build and evaluate common core instruction and assessments.
Leichner teaches math and Schimizzi teaches science. The pair initially reached out to eight schools and asked the principals to nominate emerging teachers to participate; in the last year, fifty teachers have been through this program.
According to Schimizzi, “There simply were so many teachers who were ready for expanded roles, and not enough opportunities for these professionals; Uncommon Planning has supported these teachers in returning to their schools and engaging their colleagues in deeper collaboration on the Common Core…we listened to what our colleagues were saying and then designed professional development based on their needs. The feedback we received from both teachers and their principals showed teachers, students and schools benefited from Uncommon.”
“We have launched and led this while working as teachers ourselves,” said Leichner. “The next steps are to find ways that districts can provide additional support to teacher driven initiatives like ours, through compensation and recognition for participating teachers; teachers often can’t wait for districts to determine professional development-teachers know what other teachers need!”