Across the country, a growing number of educators are transforming student learning and the teaching profession in new ways through teacher-powered schools. More than 270 of these educators representing 22 states gathered in Los Angeles, CA, for the second Teacher-Powered Schools National Conference.
The conference kicked off with tours of Robert F. Kennedy Community School in Los Angeles, CA, and Social Justice Humanitas Academy in San Fernando, CA, both teacher-powered schools within Los Angeles Unified School District. During these tours, conference attendees learned from students and teachers how collaborative leadership has positively impact their schools.
“We are able to learn about collaboration by watching our teachers collaborate,” said a Social Justice Humanitas Academy student about the impact the teacher-powered model has had on his education. “We see our teachers aren’t just coworkers. They’re a team and they look up to each other.”
The conference—moderated by Kim Farris-Berg, Amy Junge, and Lori Nazareno—featured teacher-powered practitioners sharing how they are collaboratively designing and running all aspects of their schools. Session presenters spoke on securing and sustaining school autonomy, distributing leadership among teacher teams, and demonstrating student success beyond test scores.
“Teacher-powered schools put a new spin on the concept of ‘teacher leadership,'” said Kim Farris-Berg, lead author of Trusting Teachers with School Success. “The idea behind these schools is to give decision-making authority over student and school success into the hands of those who know and understand students—the teachers.”
Several schools and individuals were recognized at the conference for their achievements in advancing the teacher-powered schools movement:
- Teacher-Powered Schools Initiative Extraordinary Achievement Award: Chrysalis Charter School in Palo Cedro, CA, and Mission Hill K-8 School in Boston, MA;
- Teacher-Powered Schools Initiative School-Union-District Partnership Award: United Federation of Teacher, NYC Department of Education, and Council of Schools Supervisors and Administrators for the PROSE Initiative; and,
- Teacher-Powered Schools Initiative Advancements in Research Award: Dr. Karen Hunter Quartz, Professor at UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.
The Teacher-Powered Schools Initiative is a joint project of the Center for Teaching Quality and Education Evolving. For more information and for a complete list of teacher-powered schools, visit www.teacherpoweredschools.org.