- A group of teachers from across the country left
their classrooms and headed to Delaware Saturday to
learn how to advocate for educational policies that
will benefit their students.
About 70 members of the Teachers Network leadership
Institute are spending the weekend here to talk about
how they can individually, and as a group, bridge
the gap between the statehouse, where the educational
policies are typically developed and the classroom,
where they are implemented.
A major goal of the two-day conference is to give teachers the chance to let their voices be heard on education issues, such as inclusion practices, teacher retention and student testing, said Ellen Meyers, senior vice president for Teachers Network, a nationwide non-profit organization that works with public school teachers.
can no longer do what you want in your classroom,
for better or worse,” said Meyers, who directs
the New York-based Teachers Network. That lack of
freedom risks stifling creativity in the classroom,
she added. ‘Teachers have to weigh in on that.
Other wise they’re going to be told what to
Rodel Charitable Foundation of Delaware is hosting
the group, which includes teachers from California,
New York, Virginia and other states. Rodel formed
six years ago, seeks to make Delaware schools among
the best in the nation by 2012.
During the conference, members are reviewing research
studies written by teachers in the institute that
focus on issues such as parental involvement, curriculum
and school culture. They’re also getting the
opportunity to network the other educators from around
the country to see what they’re doing and what
programs are working.
often with teachers, you stay in your own entity.
This connects us,” said Aneesha Jacko, an early
childhood literacy instructor in Brooklyn NY, who
attended the conference at Wilmington’s Spencer
Hotel. “I think we’re doing the work that
changes students’ lives. When there is no policy
being developed that can affect those students, the
voice of teachers needs to be heard.”
Because Delaware is a small state, it’s not
as hard to create opportunities for teachers to be
included when it comes to education policy-makers
about education, but to be viewed as equal partners
in the debate, he said.
teachers from all grade levels across Delaware are
participating in the conference. All are nationally
certified or working toward their certification, Herdmann
said. They meet monthly and, like other Teacher Network
Leadership Institute affiliate members, conduct research
The hope is that they will bring back to their schools
an energy that will encourage other teachers to get
involved. “There’s a real commitment on
their part,” he said. They’re already
doing above and beyond.”
The Delaware contingent includes teachers such as
Tamara Grimes-Stewart, a special-education teacher
in the Christina School District for 10 years. It’s
Delaware’s second year as one of the 12 affiliates
with the Teachers Network Leadership Institute. Working
together with teachers from other areas really helps
the group because it widens the focus, she said.
important for us across the state to know what people
are doing across the country,” she said. “I
can see the whole picture of what’s going. We
can accomplish so much more.”
The conference continues today from 8 am until noon.
Contact Kelly Bothum at 324-2962