If you are wondering where to find solid, research-based information about teacher leadership in the STEM fields, you are in luck. The US Department of Education has just launched a comprehensive website on the topic of building STEM Teacher Leadership. The subtitle of the website is “Reflections by the STEM teacher leader community on opportunities and gaps in STEM teacher leader development efforts,” and it was just launched this month. The site reflects the work of teams of educators, called Regional Action Clusters, representing K-12 and higher education as well as other organizations engaged in this important work, coordinated by staff from SRI and Policy Studies Associates.
The site is organized in two ways, by theme and by user group. The themes include: models of STEM teacher leadership, elementary STEM teacher leaders, administrator support for STEM teacher leadership, from teacher candidate to STEM teacher leader, building STEM teacher leader networks, and evaluation of teacher leader programs. Information under each theme is presented as answers to a set of frequently asked questions, making it easy to target specific information without reading through a lot of text. The user groups, another way to enter the site, represent: elementary educators (K-5), secondary educators (6-12), school/district administrators, education support organizations (like CTL), teacher preparation programs, state education agencies, and national funders/policy makers.
My experience in serving on the models of STEM teacher leadership team reminded me of the deep knowledge and expertise that exists among educators representing different stakeholder groups and geographic regions. Our discussions and sharing of resources enabled us to better define STEM teacher leadership and offer examples of models that could inform K-12 schools as they develop teacher leadership in STEM fields. I found CTL’s engagement in the Kentucky Department of Education’s Instructional Transformation grant, with its focus on developing teacher leadership and transforming teaching and learning, to be not only parallel work but especially useful in bringing resources and first-hand knowledge to bear. I was able to share with my team the various teacher leadership frameworks we had consulted in constructing Kentucky’s own teacher leadership framework (see KY Teacher Leadership Framework for a copy of the framework) which was in draft form at the time, and to share that draft as a way of helping to understand how teacher leadership was conceptualized in both broad and deep ways.