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

Actively participate on school improvement and planning teams and encourage others teachers to do so as well so that .teachers can have a voice in forming school policies and practices.

Sustaining School Improvement:  Data Driven Decision Making
Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.  (2003).
This document outlines the skills necessary for data-driven decision making, offers strategies that school leadership teams can use to support this process, provides a rubric for evaluating data-driven decision making within a school and shares a ‘success story’ from Jeanette Myhre Elementary School in Bismark, North Dakota.

A Handbook for School Leadership Teams
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.  (2004).
This handbook, developed by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, is a valuable tool for any school attempting to evaluate and define the work of their leadership teams.  Sections cover guidelines for the operation of school leadership teams, roles and responsibilities of members of leadership teams (including parents), the process of developing a school improvement plan, and a checklist for tracking school improvement planning.

Leading Your School Through a School Improvement Process:  Organizing a School Improvement Team
School Improvement in Maryland
The development of school improvement teams allows leadership within a school to be shared.  This website provides score sheets to evaluate the effectiveness of their school improvement teams in the following five areas: team building, strategic planning and follow through, leadership, data utilization and analysis, and managing change and measuring progress. 

Redefining the Teacher as Leader
Usdan, M., McCloud, B., and Podmostko, M. (2001). Institute for Educational Leadership.
This report examines the potential power in enabling and encouraging teacher leadership.  It discusses roadblocks to teacher leadership, shares promising practices from districts around the country, and provides a list of “Suggested Questions” that communities can use to start discussions related to teacher leadership within their districts.

Critical Issue: Building a Collective Vision
Peterson, K.  (1995). North Central Regional Educational Laboratory
The creation of a collective vision is critical to the success of any school.  Collective visions help to unite faculty, parents and community members behind a common goal and help to keep the complex work of schools focused and on track.  This website examines the importance of collective vision and walks through the process of establishing it.  Links are provided throughout the document, connecting to supporting documents and definitions related to the concept of shared vision.  Also included are links to illustrative cases and explanation of possible pitfalls.

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?”

Become reflective practitioners by participating in action research as individuals or as members of school-based study groups. 

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.

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.

What is Action Research?
Sagor, R.  (2000). 
Guiding School Improvement with Action Research. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

This chapter from the book Guiding School Improvement with Action Research by Richard Sagor introduces the concept of and processes involved in action research.  He discusses the impact action research has on building reflective practitioners, achieving school-wide priorities, and building professional cultures and outlines a seven-step process common to any action research project.

Collaborate with colleagues and form Critical Friends groups to encourage informal evaluation of teaching practice and student learning.

Sustaining School Improvement: Communication
Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.  (2003).

Breaking down these communication barriers is critical to identifying best practice within a building and focusing the efforts of an entire school community. This four-page document outlines the key elements of communication within a schoolhouse, offers strategies that school leadership teams can use to promote effective communication, provides a rubric for evaluating communication practices, and shares a ‘success story’ from Singing Hills Elementary School in Elizabeth, Colorado.

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.

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