Tragedy Strikes FirstLine Schools Community

Dear Friends of Leading Educators:

In the early hours of Friday, March 10th, our community experienced a devastating tragedy. It was discovered that New Orleans Kindergartner Jumyrin Smith and his brother Justin Simms (5th grade) had been fatally wounded along with their mother, Monique Smith. Sister A'Miya Smith (7th grade) survived the shooting, but remains in critical condition.

All three children were students at Samuel J. Green Charter School, which is one of many partner schools in our New Orleans / Baton Rouge teacher leadership cohort.

FirstLine Schools CEO and Leading Educators Board Member Jay Altman announced a fund established for the Smith Family in their time of crisis. Donations may also be made in person at any Capital One Bank. Please donate and share with your networks.

As Gentilly grapples with this tremendous loss, our hearts go out to the classmates of A’Miya, Justin and Jumyrin, as well as the teachers who provide safety and stability for the children of Samuel J. Green.

A Classroom Without a Woman?

We at Leading Educators are bound by the core belief that all children deserve a high quality education. We believe that through investments in teacher leadership based on rigorous content, anti-bias education and a strong culture of learning, we can create equitable schools that yield students who are college and career ready.

Central to preparing young people for successful lives and careers is the role of the teacher. Knowing how critical teachers are to our society and to the life prospects of our students, we believe it is important to take time to recognize the historical and current role of women in cultivating and leading the future of our country. Across the world earlier this week, communities recognized International Women’s Day and participated in A Day Without A Woman - a movement encouraging women and their allies to mark the day by uniting in economic protest, wearing red, refraining from making purchases (except from small, minority or women-owned businesses) and in some cases, staying home from their jobs. Organizers sought to draw attention to the essential role of women in the workforce, as well as important policies such as equal pay and paid family leave, inciting global grassroots gains towards justice and human rights.

Teaching, like nursing, social work, and many service industries, is largely a female-dominated profession. According to 2012 statistics, nearly 76% of all teachers in this country are female; however, it is worth noting that women are drastically underrepresented in leadership roles - occupying a mere 27% of district superintendent slots.

Many of these teachers - like women across the country and across the globe - marked "A Day Without A Woman" by staying out of schools and classrooms. Some criticism was leveled against the observance, as some school districts closed in anticipation of insufficient staff to cover such significant absences. This raises a tension that is particularly relevant to our work. Leading Educators partners with some of the most underserved, high-risk student populations, and we are acutely aware of the loss of valuable learning time. We also believe that students learn a great deal by watching how adults in their lives model the values they espouse.  

At Leading Educators, equity and community are among our core values. We invest our energies in fighting systemic injustice through community engagement. With a staff that is nearly two-thirds female, the long- and short-term impact of “A Day Without a Woman” is at the forefront of our minds. In a letter to our staff, CEO Jonas Chartock said, “Whether [Leading Educators’ employees] should choose to take the day off in protest, wear red, or abstain altogether, we recognize that we would not be the organization we are without the labor and leadership of women.”

On International Women’s Day and all days, Leading Educators recognizes and appreciates the essential labor and leadership of women, and salutes their essential role in building the leaders of tomorrow.

Emergency Outreach Opportunities in Our NOLA Community

Dear Friends and Supporters of Leading Educators,

As many of you know, seven tornadoes touched down in New Orleans last Tuesday, damaging nearly 1,000 structures, injuring 30, and leaving an estimated 4,000 without power.

I am relieved to report that Leading Educators’ team and offices were spared, but times like these serve to remind us that unexpected - and sometime catastrophic - events can happen to us at any time.  Now that the storms have cleared, it is time for us to rally around and support each other.  We’ve already received many inquiries from those who want to know how they can help. In response, we’ve compiled the list below of good local organizations that might benefit from your support, including one of our partner schools:

On behalf of Leading Educators and our NOLA-based team, thank you for the kind notes and concern over the past few days. We are fortunate to have been unaffected, and we appreciate being part of such a caring team and community.

Warmly,

Steph

Steph Bates
Associate Director of Program Delivery
Leading Educators, New Orleans
 

 

Leading Educators Receives Community Partner Dedication Award

On January 19th, Leading Educators was awarded the Community Partner Dedication Award from Paul Public Charter School in Washington, DC for our commitment and service to the school community. Leading Educators and Paul PCS have partnered together since the launch of the Washington, DC fellowship program in 2013, and the school and teacher leaders of Paul PCS have worked tirelessly to improve instruction and increase student achievement.

Ms. Jami Dunham, CEO, Paul Public Charter School with Leading Educators' Quentin Liggins, Associate Director, Washington D.C. region

The relationship that Leading Educators has cultivated with Paul PCS exemplifies the spirit of community that is central to our work and our core values. Our partnership with schools, community organizations, and other nonprofits has created an authentic network in which teacher leadership can thrive -  allowing us to build a collective movement to ensure great schools for all students.

As we move ahead in the new year, we are excited to continue to build meaningful relationships with the schools and communities that we serve. We thank Paul PCS for being a great partner and look forward to many years of dedicated service to come.

 

T

Welcome, Chancellor Wilson!

On December 20, 2016, Antwan Wilson was unanimously confirmed as the new Chancellor of DC Public Schools (DCPS). An educator for over 20 years, Wilson most recently served as the superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District where he was credited with helping to raise achievement scores in Oakland schools. Wilson is now set to take the helm at DCPS on February 1st.

Since the October departure of former Chancellor Kaya Henderson, Leading Educators, along with others in the education reform community, has followed the appointment process for a new Chancellor with great interest. Over the past four years, we have worked in close partnership with DCPS to support instructional improvement through the Learning Together to Advance Our Practice (LEAP) initiative. This district-wide programming is designed to embed high quality professional learning and leadership development opportunities into the district’s wider plan to improve the quality of teaching and learning that takes place in individual classrooms and schools. The innovation and potential impact of this district-wide approach was recently profiled in the Washington Post, underscoring the powerful culture of shared learning that is part of DCPS’ teacher leadership and instructional improvement efforts.

Under the leadership of Chancellor Wilson’s predecessor, Kaya Henderson, DCPS became the fastest improving urban school district in the country. Leading Educators is excited to build a relationship with the new DCPS leadership team in order to continue the momentum that the district has gained. As we look toward the bright future of DCPS, we are encouraged by Chancellor Wilson’s recent comments stating, “Teachers are tremendously important to the success of the students and the district.”  We look forward to continued partnership with Chancellor Wilson to build a brighter future for DCPS and all the children that it serves.   

 

PRESS RELEASE: TEACHER LEADERSHIP OPENS THE DOOR TO BETTER SCHOOLS, STATE BY STATE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT:
Communications Manager
(504) 355-1253
marketing@leadingeducators.org
http://www.leadingeducators.org/

 

TEACHER LEADERSHIP OPENS THE DOOR TO BETTER SCHOOLS, STATE BY STATE

Leading Educators partners with nine trailblazing states to enable teacher leadership growth

NEW ORLEANS, LA -  January 23, 2017

Leading Educators, a nationally-recognized nonprofit dedicated to raising student achievement by developing teacher leaders, has launched the State Teacher Leadership Toolkit: Created By States, For States. Developed in partnership with Education First, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Joyce Foundation, the toolkit presents a roadmap for states to establish teacher leadership programs to improve the quality of teaching and learning in schools.  

Piloted with nine trailblazing states1 around the country, the toolkit provides an important companion resource to support the state-level planning underway as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Through Title II of ESSA, states now have greater opportunities to advance teacher leadership and professional learning efforts. While many teacher leadership programs occur at the local level, states can be powerful partners to districts by creating the enabling conditions necessary for teacher leadership to thrive, providing guidance and catalyzing the conditions for implementation.

In 2014’s Leading from the Front of the Classroom: A Roadmap for Teacher Leadership that Works, Leading Educators presented districts with a concrete strategy for maximizing the potential of highly effective teachers to help improve classroom instruction, transform school culture, and create high-impact teacher leadership initiatives. The State Teacher Leadership Toolkit not only underscores the importance of teacher leadership programs, but it shines a light on the process of creating policy, with clear objectives and measures of success as well as the tools and funds to meet them. 

Robin McClellan, Supervisor of Elementary Education in the Sullivan County Department of Education Blountville, Tennessee said, “Leading Educators assembled a national team of advocates to support state departments of education with the design of teacher leadership programming. As a learner, I built my understanding of how to bridge the gap between state, district, and school levels to equip students for success. I believe this toolkit will be an invaluable resource as the nation focuses on building the capacity of the most important agents of educational change: teachers.”

The state leadership toolkit will: 

  • Provide states with tools to make the case for teacher leadership as a way to accelerate progress towards state goals
  • Build states’ understanding of teacher leadership policy, support, and funding options so they can identify the most successful strategies for their unique contexts 
  • Provide easy access to resources that states and districts can learn from to design and implement high impact teacher leadership initiatives

Leading Educators’ Chief Learning Officer Chong-Hao Fu stated, "School administrators are often faced with the challenge of designing and supporting education reform that is high-impact and sustainable. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides states with greater flexibility to drive teacher leadership initiatives, and districts can play a key role in developing this work. Many states, however, need concrete strategies to help them leverage this new autonomy. The State Teacher Leadership Toolkit responds to this need by providing valuable insight and strategies for designing, implementing, and sustaining large-scale teacher leadership programs.”

1

The nine participating states include: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

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About Leading Educators

Leading Educators raises the academic achievement of students by developing teachers to take on leadership roles within their schools. Incorporated as a 501(c)3 organization in 2011, Leading Educators is the only national program that exclusively supports the leadership and management development of teacher leaders. Using teacher leadership as a vehicle, Leading Educators is building a nationwide movement to ensure all students have the opportunity to succeed in school and life.