Monday, September 16, 2013

The NEA Foundation Grows its Support for Union and District Leaders’ Collaboration to Improve Student Learning

Outstanding records of achievement qualify five teams for the NEA Foundation Institute for Innovation in Teaching and Learning

WASHINGTON, DC (September 16, 2013) –
The NEA Foundation has selected five new teams led by teacher union presidents and superintendents from across the country to join the NEA Foundation Institute for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, a national effort to address challenges facing public education. The new teams hail from: St John the Baptist Parish (LA) Public Schools; Durango (CO) School District 9-R; West Springfield (MA) Public Schools; Clark County (NV) School District; and San Antonio (TX) Independent School District.

Teams were competitively selected based on applications co-authored by teacher union presidents and superintendents demonstrating their ability to address difficult issues of systems change and collaborative reform, with a sense of urgency and focus. The NEA Foundation also sought to develop a cohort whose actions plans would reflect a diverse set of issues, increasing what it will learn from these sites’ experiences in order to share with the field.

“Each team has identified issues most critical to their students and has made a commitment to work together toward a common goal: to improve the quality of education for their students,” said Harriet Sanford, president and CEO of the NEA Foundation. “The teams will participate in a two-year program becoming part of a network of collaborative teams tackling some of the most pressing issues in public education, such as engaging and motivating teachers to be the drivers of their individual and collective professional growth through the design of comprehensive development systems— including career ladders. And each will develop an action plan with a focus on the impact it will have on instructional practices and ultimately student learning.”

These teams join five others, now in their second year. Together, they are addressing complex issues of educator commitment to higher performance standards and training for evaluators and peers, while also implementing comprehensive evaluation systems, such as Peer Assistance and Review (PAR), strengthening the use of professional learning communities, broad community engagement, and teacher mentoring.

The Institute supports the local work in several ways. Staff and coaches provide technical assistance and data-based feedback to the teams, in support of their joint reform work. Learning resources, including curricula addressing the context of educational reform, new forms of labor-management relations, and educational equity for all students are also provided to help build knowledge and capacity. Teams will become part of a community of practice, in which they will share experiences and learn from one another.

New this year is the development of online curricula developed by experts in the field specifically for union-district leadership teams and designed to provide professional learning experiences to support collaborative work. Modules can be used by teams to support their work in specific ways. Topics include Leading Change and Reform and New Forms of Labor-Management Relations.

“We truly believe that it will be through this kind of deep collaborative work that we will see the changes required to prepare every student for college, career, and life,” Sanford said.

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About The NEA Foundation
The NEA Foundation is a public charity supported by contributions from educators' dues, corporate sponsors, and others who support public education initiatives.We partner with education unions, districts, and communities to create powerful, sustainable improvements in teaching and learning. Visit for more information. Find us on Facebook and Twitter, and visit our blog.

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