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TNLI: Major Accomplishments by TNLI MetLife Fellows
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Highest-Level Recognition. The work of MetLife Fellows has recently received major recognition by policymakers and school leaders at the highest levels. Some particularly salient examples include: 1) direct mention of—and credit to—the Leadership Institute in Wyoming Governor Geringer’s 2002 State of the State address (February 11); and, 2) Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan’s public endorsement of TNLI as “an outstanding opportunity to capitalize on the expertise of exemplary teachers to develop effective policies that strengthen student achievement.”

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Major Policy Document. Hot-off-the-press, Teachers Network Leadership Institute (TNLI) just published a major new policy document, Ensuring Teacher Quality-A Report from the MetLife Fellows in the Teachers Network Leadership Institute. This report, geared toward school administrators, focuses on teacher leadership and the process for engaging teachers in policy decisions at the school level and beyond. The document outlines four cogent recommendations for ensuring teacher quality-the single most important factor in determining student success-within any school environment. This report is being disseminated to 5,000 school superintendents nationwide.

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What Matters Most -Brochure . In 2001, based on the nationally recognized success of the MetLife Fellows' groundbreaking book, What Matters Most-Improving Student Achievement, one of TNLI's partner organizations, the National Commission on Teaching & America's Future (NCTAF), published a color brochure-with funding from the Ford Foundation-that outlines: NCTAF Recommendations, the Voices of Teachers, MetLife Fellows' Research Findings and Recommendations, and specific Action Steps for Districts. What Matters Most-Improving Student Achievement features the work of the MetLife Fellows-documenting the results of their action research and highlighting the ways in which policy plays out in schools. To date, this book has been read by more than 5,000 policymakers and educators nationwide.

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National Governors Association/Wyoming Affiliate. Following a conversation with the MetLife Fellows during our 1999 Snowbird Institute, Governor Geringer of Wyoming addressed the National Governors Association. As a result of the fellows' presentation, the Governor was able to share specific policy recommendations-such as how schools can use time for teachers to collaborate-to the nation's governors. At the 2001 Snowbird Institute, the Governor again joined the MetLife Fellows-and was pleased to announce the establishment of a statewide Wyoming Teacher Leadership Institute that he had spearheaded based on his earlier experience meeting the fellows. Governor Geringer related that "every state should have an affiliate of the Teachers Network Leadership Institute." In July 2002, Governor Geringer and the MetLife Fellows will present the TNLI model to our nation's legislators at the ECS annual meeting.

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Teacher Leadership Initiative . Aware of the dire need for grooming teacher leaders-and recognizing that teacher leadership is the channel through which all students can maximize their greatest potential-the Fairfax County (VA) affiliate, working collaboratively with area schools and local universities, has developed a master's degree/certificate program in teacher leadership. The goal of this innovative program is to promote student achievement through leadership contributions of teachers in their classrooms, schools, and throughout the school system. Specifically, this initiative is designed to provide teachers-in leadership positions or in leadership development-with highly structured professional development that includes best instructional practices, leadership knowledge and skills, and leading-edge content knowledge.

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Presentations. The MetLife Fellows have established presentation guidelines that they are using to speak to a variety of audiences. Some recent examples of conferences or events at which the MetLife Fellows have given presentations include: Connections between the National Board Certification Process and the North Carolina Performance-based Licensure Process at the University of California at Santa Cruz New Teacher Center Mentoring Symposium, the Release of the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher in Washington, D.C., and the highly selective Penn Conference on Urban Ethnography in Philadelphia.

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Education Commission of the States (ECS). During the past three years, four MetLife Fellows have served on ECS national advisory boards: MetLife Fellow Janet Price on Governor Geringer's National Advisory Council on Teacher Quality (99-00); MetLife Fellow Judi Fenton on Governor Shaheen's National Advisory Council on Early Learning (00-01); MetLife Fellow Wade Fuller on the National MetLife Advisory Board on Change in Education Initiatives (00-01); and, MetLife Fellow Jane Fung on current ECS Chair Governor Guinn's Council on Child Literacy (01-02). In addition, at the ECS 2000 Annual Meeting, MetLife Fellow Janet Price represented teacher leaders nationwide at the opening session and delivered the luncheon address to conference attendees-speaking to conference participants on the issue of Teacher Quality.

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Direct Interactions with Policymakers. Increasingly, the TNLI MetLife Fellows are seizing the opportunity to meet with state and local legislators to share action research findings and policy recommendations in order to improve student achievement. MetLife Fellows from throughout Florida, for example, made an official visit to the state capital in Tallahassee-where they were introduced on the floor, and met directly with several state senators and representatives, including John McKay, Senate President. MetLife Fellows in New York City recently hosted a legislative breakfast; the event was attended by state senators, Assembly members, city council members, and the Deputy Mayor for Policy. As a follow-up to this breakfast, New York City Fellows are currently inviting these legislators to visit their schools.

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Professional Development Schools Saved. During the 2002 Wyoming legislative session, the Wyoming Fellows met with 18 legislators, including key members of the Joint Education Committee and Joint Appropriations Committee, to discuss their research and advocate for continued funding for Professional Development Schools (K-12 schools that have partnered with institutions of higher education to provide teacher preparation programs at a school site, and as a result, increase teacher quality in hard-to-staff schools). The Joint Appropriations Committee had previously cut funding for PDS; when an amendment was proposed to restore funding, the amendment had failed on its first and second readings. After consultation with the Wyoming fellows, however, the amendment to restore funding passed-and continued to gain legislative support. The amendment was included as part of the final state budget, and was signed into law by the governor.

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Teacher Network Collaboration. The United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) has adopted the Los Angeles MetLife Fellows' proposal to provide salary point credit for teacher network collaboration. This proposal has been approved by the UTLA Professional Development Committee, the Board of Directors, and the House of Representatives-and is now officially part of the UTLA contract proposal to the Los Angeles Unified School District.

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Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE). Following a victory in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity suit, the New York City TNLI MetLife Fellows have been asked to play a major role in providing the remedy (i.e., determining how best to use newly allocated funds to improve classroom practice and student achievement) for schools throughout New York City.

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Policy Reform . More and more, the MetLife Fellows are seeing the results of their policy-influencing resulting in major policy change. For example, as a direct result of one fellow's policy recommendation based on his action research findings, the State of California has expanded its Beginning Teacher Support Program to reach 100% of new teachers throughout California-instead of just 5%.

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Press. MetLife Fellows attract major local, regional, and national press-including a Harvard Family Research Project online article (Fine Forum, Winter 2001) on MetLife Fellow Lara Goldstone's research, and a full chapter in Teacher Education Quarterly (Spring 2002) featuring the work of MetLife Fellow Penny Arnold. In addition, major commentary articles have appeared in Ed Week (May 31, 2000) and Teacher Magazine (March 1999). The MetLife Fellows have also been written about in hundreds of community, district, union, and professional association newsletters throughout the country.

 

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