In April, Leading Educators took seven Fellows to England in partnership with Teaching Leaders UK and the British Council. The trip followed an earlier visit to New Orleans by several teacher leaders from the United Kingdom.
The exchange is sponsored by the British Council with the intention of teacher leaders sharing best practices, learning from observing each others' schools and classrooms and from discussing their roles. Many of our attending teacher leaders wrote short pieces on their experiences during the trip. We plan to publish all of these perspectives, starting with Bridget Cantrell, Elementary Instructional Coordinator at Ott Elementary in Kansas City. Bridget published a blog of her own to share her trip with her school:
Day #2 Such a big world, yet a common mission!
I can't help but listen to the UK team and learn about their education structure and think we have a common mission; to educate all students to the highest level that they can possible attain in order to improve our society and quality of life for each and every student.
Most of the day was gaining knowledge of the English structure of education and the historical aspect of educational change and reform. I think I was most impressed by the accountability system description by Barry who is a Teaching Leader coach and OLFSTED evaluator. OLFSTED is the accountability function run by the government. I connected this to our MSIP 5 accountability but layered with a site visit. The spirit of accountability was represented by a true spirit of growth for each student.
The thought of Middle Leaders has brought much traction to recent UK thinking. Middle Leaders are vital to the grass roots effort of change within a school. OFSTED even recognizes the impact of these folks in the improvement process and has designated look fors during site visits. I can't feel excited to think about the defined support roles of teacher leaders in the trenches and yet serving as support to colleagues and Principals. I think this is an undefined role in the US, a thankless, unrecognized silent leadership role. I can't help but wonder why we don't recognize these practitioners in a formal leadership role.
You can read the rest of this post and find Bridget's other posts here: http://bcantrellle.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/such-big-world-yet-common-mission-cant.html