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Improvement Science as a Means to Amplify Teacher Voice

By Heather Haines, Fellow

In helping my students find their voices as chemists, I found my own voice as a teacher who could enact change in my classroom in response to my students’ needs. Read More

Teacher Collaboration as the Key to Our Students’ Futures

By Bradford Hill, Fellow

Teacher collaboration and networks of collaborative teacher groups are already creating the innovation we need to best prepare our youth for their futures and teachers, administrators, and the education system need to continue to expand them. Read More

Teaching Through Challenges that Matter to Students

By London Jenks, Fellow

One of the most fruitful places for learning is in the middle of struggle, in fact brain research supports the claim that we need struggle in order to learn. There is a strong precedence for humans and the human race growing and developing in times of challenge and uncertainty. This is true in the classroom, as well. When I am able to engage students in the challenges that face our community, nations, and globe, their learning takes on more rigor and relevance. Read More

Recruiting International Students: Decisions to Consider (Part Two)

By Anne Watson, Fellow

In my previous post, I introduced some of the fiscal issues related to enrolling international students. In this post, I’ll share tips on how to find international students and how to market your school. Read More

Recruiting International Students: Decisions to Consider (Part One)

By Anne Watson, Fellow

I don’t know about you, but normally I don’t know what’s going on in the classroom next to mine, let alone classrooms in another country. Normally, I have no idea what goes on behind the scenes in administrative politics. This past year, however, was not a normal year for me. Instead of teaching science at Montpelier High School... Read More

Problematizing Frameworks for Emerging Multilinguals

By Nicholas Chan, Fellow

Immigration has no timetable. The students at my school, all of whom are recent immigrants, start the new academic year in mid-August. But we have students join us as late as early April (and then again in May as we take on students who will start with us the next year). Sometimes, a new student is on the roster but not attending class for days while waiting for mandatory vaccinations. Other days, our counselor will run into class a minute before the bell rings... Read More

Where are Teachers in the Conversation About Education?

By Kate Blaske, Fellow

Recently, I have had discussions with both educators and others about what I see as a trend in our current national discourse about education and in educational policies: the government (i.e., federal, state, and local, as well as government agencies and school boards), along with corporate and foundation benefactors, seem to decide what is best in education. This often means that teachers are left out of the conversation at best or, when they speak up, maligned at worst. Read More

The Counter-Intuitive Benefits of Teacher Leadership: Staying Sane and Sustained

By Andrew Wild, Fellow

Why should beginning teachers engage in leadership? Teaching is extremely demanding in terms of time, intellect, and social-emotional resources. Why add leadership to the endless list of responsibilities? I don’t ask these questions hypothetically. I asked them myself in my first few years of teaching. Effecting change outside of my classroom was low on my list of priorities. I recall thinking, “I need to focus on being the best teacher I can be for my students . . . and survive my 3rd period class. The leadership can wait.” There were two flaws in my thinking... Read More

Bringing Teacher Voice to the Table

By Lindsay McDowell, Fellow

I’ve always said that nobody knows what the students in my classroom need mathematically better than I do. Not the other math teachers at my school, most who have been here for less than a month. Not my former, English teacher principal, who always wants a math person to answer her math questions. Not the Curriculum and Instruction directors over at the district office, who make it into my room about once a semester. This is why I’m currently hiding out teaching the highest level of math classes. Read More

Enriching Student Learning Through Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration

By Katrina Stern, Fellow

It’s Friday afternoon, the last period of the last day before our week-long February break. Twelve students sit facing each other in the center of my classroom, their desks arranged in a circle. The other 13 students in the class sit in a larger circle around the outside, taking notes on particular facets of the conversation that I assigned them to monitor. Only one student is absent; he will be in Mexico with his family for the next two weeks. Read More

Use Your Story: Teacher Learning Through Storytelling

By Katie Blaske and Kirstin Milks, Fellows and Editors-in-Chief of Kaleidoscope

As we stepped into the role of Kaleidoscope’s first editors-in-chief, we realized that we both see storytelling as a powerful tool for improving education in three ways. First, the portrayal in popular media of teachers and their place in society has shaped how teachers are viewed and valued. By sharing the knowledge that our authors generate in their schools, we hope to add vibrant, thoughtful voices to the rising movement challenging our nation’s dominant narratives of teacher-shaming and teacher-proofing. Read More

WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR TEACHERS TO BE THE PRIMARY AGENTS OF EDUCATIONAL IMPROVEMENT?

By Nicole Gillespie, KSTF Executive Director and CEO, and Heather Buskirk, KSTF Senior Fellow and Trustee

Since 2002, when KSTF offered its first Teaching Fellowships, developing teacher leadership capacity has been one of our primary goals. Over the years, we’ve seen many examples of Fellows, even those who were beginning teachers, working with their colleagues to improve education for their students. They weren’t waiting for others to tell them how to do it, or implementing someone else’s plans, but rather taking matters into their own hands and improving what they could. Read More

UNDERSTANDING TEACHER COMMUNITY AS A SYSTEM: A STRATEGY FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT (PART TWO)

By Roseanne Rostock, Senior Program Officer, Teacher Development

As we explore teacher leadership in Year 5, we encourage Fellows to begin by looking closely at their professional communities, and to consider community as a system using the activity system framework. By exploring professional community in this way, Fellows can look beyond simple characterizations such as “weak” or “strong” community, but instead identify parts of the system where they can make changes to improve the overall outcomes. Read More

UNDERSTANDING TEACHER COMMUNITY AS A SYSTEM: A STRATEGY FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT (PART ONE)

By Roseanne Rostock, Senior Program Officer, Teacher Development

Conventional wisdom tells us that teacher leadership is something that is reserved for those teachers who have “earned their chops” through years of experience, expertise or “success” in the classroom. At KSTF, however, we believe that teachers at all stages of their careers have important roles to play in a distributed model of teacher leadership. Read More

ASSESSING INDIVIDUAL ROLES IN COLLABORATIVE RELATIONSHIPS

By Michele Cheyne, Senior Program Officer, Teacher Development

In recent blog posts, KSTF’s Executive Director (Nicole Gillespie) and Director of Programs (Jeff Rozelle) both address the idea of teacher leadership/leading teachers and the role KSTF plays in the development of KSTF Teaching Fellows as primary agents of educational improvement. Both Nicole and Jeff write about leadership as both reflexive and distributed, and how KSTF seeks to support that kind of teacher leadership capacity in our programs... Read More