I have had the unique opportunity of splitting my time between teaching at my school and serving as a Teacher-Leader in Residence at the Connecticut State Department of Education. In this hybrid role, I have been able to work alongside policy leaders making decisions that impact public education while reflecting on my classroom practice and representing teachers and students at the state level. As a Teacher-Leader in Residence, I have focused a great deal of my time on teacher engagement and outreach, bringing teachers and state leaders together to discuss the benefits and challenges of current policy initiatives. My vision for this educator engagement centers on the inclusion of classroom teachers’ perspectives at the policy table, with the goal of collaboratively exploring viable approaches and constructive solutions that promote educational progress, innovation, and improvement. By addressing the new challenges facing public education in this way, we have an opportunity to enhance teaching and learning, ultimately better serving the students we teach. For Connecticut state education leaders, the strategy for achieving this degree of teacher engagement is two-fold: (1) Visit schools and classrooms in order to talk directly with teachers. (2) Invite educators to the State Department of Education in Hartford to participate in feedback sessions and collaborate as members of work groups and committees. The result: teacher voice that informs policy and benefits students.
Idea No. 7