STEM Teacher Leadership Community Convening

Written By rodaniel

On November 2, 2015

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“Ten of the top 14 fastest growing industries in this country require significant know-how in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Yet America continues to underperform in these fields.” Alia Milgrom-Elcott, STEM Teacher LeadershipThis fact, paired with the chronic shortages of well-prepared teacher in these fields led to a 2011 “call to action” from President Obama to enrich America’s classrooms with 100,000 excellent STEM teachers by 2021. Among other strategies that have been ongoing, on July 21 and 22, 2015, the Unites States Department of Education convened a meeting of about 60 invitees to identify current needs in the field of STEM teacher leadership and develop proactive strategies to build capacity in that arena.  Organized and facilitated by SRI Education and Policy Studies Associates, representatives of academic institutions, nonprofits, foundations, companies and government agencies involved in teacher leadership in general or STEM teacher leadership in particular (including two Kentucky representatives, myself and Mindy Curless, STEM Initiatives Consultant, KDE) explored key topics through discussion, review of existing initiatives and panel discussions. Six topics emerged as highest priority:

  • Evaluation of Teacher Leader Programs
  • Models of STEM Teacher Leadership In and Beyond School Settings
  • Elementary STEM Teacher Leaders
  • Building Teacher Leader Networks
  • Administrators as Partners: A Resource for School Leaders
  • From Teacher Candidate to STEM Teacher Leader
The next stage in this initiative has now begun–the formation of a Regional Action Cluster (RAC) for each of these areas charged with the task of developing over the next eight months a final product or resource for practitioners and policymakers that can move STEM teacher leadership forward. These RAC’s will accomplish their tasks through four virtual meetings with development work between meetings by the RAC members. Kentucky Teacher Leadership FrameworkSTEM teacher leadership development is  as much an imperative in Kentucky as elsewhere in the nation, and hopefully the work of these RAC’s will make a significant contribution to the ongoing teacher leadership initiatives already underway here in the Commonwealth. Teacher leadership has emerged recently as a key strategy in KDE’s EQUITABLE ACCESS TO EFFECTIVE EDUCATORS PLAN FOR KENTUCKY released in June 2015, and its importance is also reflected in the formation of the Kentucky Teacher Leadership Work Team, currently in the process of finalizing a Kentucky Teacher Leadership Framework. In addition, multiple networks of teacher leaders have been formed, and add their important perspective to all those working diligently to improve the career pathways of our most effective educators and expand their impact on student achievement. We are fortunate to have a Kentucky representative on three of the RAC teams, and we would welcome your input and inquiries:
Evaluation of Teacher Leader Programs – Dr. Linda Hargan,
Models of STEM Teacher Leadership In and Beyond School Settings – Dr. Deborah Walker,
Elementary STEM Teacher Leaders – Mindy Curless,
  photo attribution: Logo from the Kentucky Teacher Leadership Framework]]>