The “Raise Your Hand: Empowered Educators Day” promises to be a day of practical inspiration. But you don’t have to travel to the mile-high city to learn from the NEA teachers and education support professionals who are leading the way. Beginning at 10 a.m. in Denver (or noon EDT), the event also will be live-streamed at http://www.gpsnetwork.org/welcome/ra2014/, and the conversation can be followed at #RYH4ED. (For more information on the day and to see a complete schedule, click here.)
Listen in to hear the story of Daniela Robles, a courageous Arizona teacher who inspired more than 20 of her colleagues to radically improve their teaching. “I am motivated by excellence in education for all students, not just a chosen few,” said Robles, who blogs at Arizona’s Stories From School. Or hear from Alexis Machado, a California teen who was “kicked out” of school last year, but was empowered by the teachers at her new school to graduate.
The day, which will be hosted by author and MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry, will feature four TED-style talks, including Robles, Machado, and others. It also will include a dozen dynamic showcases of innovative school-based projects that involve accomplished educators, and effective collaborations with educators, students, parents, and community members.
Those showcases will include the work of Denver’s teacher-led Mathematics and Science Leadership Academy, where teachers regularly observe each other and provide the kind of peer feedback that leads to excellent instruction, and work from the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA), where teachers have taken charge of their own professional development and mentorship. “I’m all for taking responsibility,” says MTEA President Bob Peterson. “What I say is we should be child-driven and child-informed.”
None of this is new work for NEA, which has pledged its 3 million members to the critical work of “transform(ing) public education by tak(ing) charge of our profession, and responsibility for our profession,” NEA President Dennis Van Roekel has said.
Last year, NEA helped pay for more than 50 teaching and learning projects from Portland, Maine, to Seattle, Wash. In Las Vegas, 150 early-career teachers have enrolled in “Take One!” a National Board program that improves teacher planning, implementation, and reflection. In New York, Utah, and Illinois—via new NEA-funded Peer Assistance and Review programs—teachers are doing the hard but necessary work of teacher evaluation.
Meanwhile, a partnership with the national advocacy group Teach Plus brought more than 50 “Future of the Profession Fellows” to Washington, D.C., this year, where the high-performing teachers dove deeply into the educational issues that impact American schools.
These are the teachers and educational support professionals who actually know best how to collectively lead their profession into the future. It’s important to listen to them. And, on July 2, you can, too.