Recommendation Two:
Create opportunities, both formal and informal, for teachers to influence design, create, and implement school and district policies and procedures.


Role Group Strategies

Create a culture of continuous inquiry and collaboration focused on identifying and sharing “best-practices.” Encourage peer coaching and observations, action research, and critical friends groups as methods of supporting colleagues.

District Profile:  A Commitment to Craft, Rochester (N.Y.) City School District Career in Teaching Program
Scarpa, S. (n.d.)  District Administration Magazine.
The Rochester City School District established a Career in Teaching Program over 16 years ago with the support of the Rochester Teachers’ Association.  This comprehensive overview of the program explains the mentoring and peer review components of the program, as well as the levels that have been created within the teaching profession in Rochester.  This resource is valuable for district-level administrators or policymakers interested in designing a system of support for new and struggling teachers, a method of stratifying the teaching profession, or a system of peer-review and evaluation.

Their Key to Survival:  Each Other
Gingold, H.  (2004, June). Classroom Leadership, 7(9).
This article from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development describes the work of four teachers in Liverpool, N.Y. who created a “collaborative teacher network” designed to support one another throughout the school year.  The four teachers worked as a team, planning lessons and instruction, evaluating the results of their teaching, and refining their professional practice.  They set aside time each week to meet with one another, and kept in regular contact via email and phone calls.  As a result, their teaching improved and they each developed skills required of reflective practitioners.

Redesigning Professional Development:  Critical Friends
Bambino, D.  (2002, March). Educational Leadership, 59(6), 25-27.
Because of their shared experiences, teachers can often provide the most effective instructional support to their colleagues.  One model for this type of collaboration is the Critical Friends Group.  This article introduces the concept and benefits of Critical Friends groups and tells the stories of three schools that have implemented Critical Friends groups with great success.

Action Research Tools and Resources
The Teacher Leaders Network
The members of the Teacher Leaders Network, a major initiative of the Southeast Center for Teaching Quality, recently examined the process and potential of action research as a school improvement tool.  This web page features an extensive list of action research resources.  Included are articles related to action research, sample action research projects, and reviews of books that are designed to introduce educators to the process of action research.

Coaching:  A Strategy for Developing Instructional Capacity
Neufeld, B. and Roper, D.  (2003, June). Annenberg Institute for School Reform
This report provides a guide through the process of instructional coaching. The authors explain what coaches do, how they are prepared, important factors and challenges in implementation, and the benefits and expected outcomes of coaching programs.

School Based Coaching – A Lit Review
Green, Terry. (2004). National Staff Development Council
This document presents a review of literature supporting school-based staff developers or coaches. The author provides detailed definitions of key terms and then discusses research pertaining to a variety of coaching models. The publication also includes a list of practical tools for use by schools and districts.

Teachers Observing Teachers:  A Professional Development Tool for Every School
Israel, M.  (2003, February 4). Education World
This article explains the benefits of having teachers observe other teachers, not to evaluate performance, but to provide professional development and encourage growth. 

Themes in Education:  Action Research
Ferrance, E.  (2000). Themes in Research. Northeast and Islands Regional Educational Laboratory.
This booklet introduces the concept of action research, a process of careful reflection on practice that encourages collaboration and allows teachers to address issues that are pertinent to their settings.  It provides an overview of the history of action research, an explanation of a process for completing it, stories from two teachers who have completed action research, and links to additional action research resources.

Create opportunities, both formal and informal, for teachers to influence, design, create and implement school and district policies and procedures and communicate your belief in the role of the teacher as an expert in teaching and learning.

Building Trusting Relationships for School Improvement:  Implications for Principals and Teachers
Brewster, C. and Railsback, J. (2003, September). By Request. Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory
This booklet addresses issues of trust between principals and teachers and among teachers themselves as an element of school improvement.  The authors draw on recent research and highlight several schools working on trust building, including a “critical friends group” established at Southridge High School in Beaverton, Oregon. 

Principals who Know How to Share Leadership
Alabama Best Practices Center.  (2004, Spring).
The Spring 2004 issue of "Working Toward Excellence" profiles several principals who've discovered (some late in their careers) the power of teacher leadership to revitalize teaching and learning. The issue also describes the Alabama Reading Initiative's principal coaching program, which is helping dozens of principals gain the confidence, skills and knowledge they need to lead reforms in literacy instruction.

Teacher Quality: Teachers Teaching Teachers
Christensen, Linda. (Winter 2005/2006). Rethinking Schools
Linda Christensen, a high school English teacher from Portland, Oregon, writes that teachers find professional development lead by classroom teachers to be the most productive. She describes her experiences with the Portland Writing Project, summer curriculum camps, and professional development days, all of which are teacher-lead and actively involve teachers in reflection, writing, and curriculum development.

Leadership Audit Tool:  A Participatory Management Checklist
Center for School and Community Development.
This online tool helps school administrators and leaders to reflect on the degree of participatory management that they allow for within their own schools.  Covering areas related to decision-making and problem solving, survey takers get a chart showing their personal areas of strength and weakness.  This tool can be used multiple times during the course of a year, tracking progress and growth.  It can also be effective to identify the individual strengths of administrators across an entire county. 

Leadership Matters:  Building Leadership Capacity
Barkley, S., Bottoms, G., Feagin, C.H., and Clark, S.  (2001).
This guide outlines practical strategies for building leadership capacity in schools that pertain to administrators, teachers, students, parents, and the community.  It also includes a description of the importance of establishing a shared vision and a checklist that can be used to evaluate the supports that a school has in place to encourage risk-taking by teachers and administrators.

School-Based Management: Rhetoric vs. Reality
Education Commission of the States
This article is one in a series investigating the progress of education reform from the end of the 20th Century to the start of the 21st.  Of particular interest in this piece are the list of factors crucial to successful school-based management and the case studies on the reform efforts of Kentucky and Chicago.

To Teach, To Lead, To Transform
Threshold (Summer 2005) Cable in the Classroom
This article considers the role of the teacher leader in the future of school reform. The authors describe the type of roles teacher leaders take on within a school, discuss the necessity of including teacher leadership in teacher preparation programs, and give a variety of answers to the question “What makes a teacher leader?”

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