In many classrooms, especially in low-income schools, we see dedicated teachers whose students are not making expected progress. These teachers often receive pressure and attack from other teachers, parents, and administrators. This pressure, intended to motivate, increases stress and anxiety for struggling teachers and is counterproductive. Building a professional community beyond the school increases confidence and promotes teacher success. We need programs to build teacher capacity for instruction, leadership, and National Board Certification. One way, is to organize teacher cohorts from various schools to meet twice per month throughout the school year to discuss, plan, and reflect on strategies for effective instruction. Cohorts would collaborate with successful teachers and university partners, who are deeply invested in prompting growth in a supportive, non-punitive way. Teachers would collaborate to improve instruction using proven strategies like: peer observation, peer coaching, and lesson study. Participating teachers would provide anecdotal records of their professional growth through the program and participate in surveys about program effectiveness. $500 tuition would be provided by participating teachers to insure commitment. Participating teachers would receive 3 graduate credits, as an incentive. Additional costs for the program can be covered: through grants, State or LEA funds, or federal Title II funding under the Every Child Achieves Act.
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