Amplifying Student Voice Through Teacher Leadership
In an op-ed penned by Teach Plus Nevada Teaching Policy Fellow Kenny Belknap on the need for bold vision from district leadership, Kenny called on the Clark County Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara to visit his classroom. In January 2018, the Superintendent paid his classroom that very visit.
Kenny chose to leverage the platform to amplify student voice to illuminate how they would prioritize investments for their education. By designing a lesson where his students both learned about education funding and the district reorganization, the students were able to provide their insights to the Superintendent during a roundtable discussion on issues including teacher retention, class size, school safety and mental health supports.
One of Kenny's students reflected on the eye-opening conversation: “The most important thing we as students are asking of Nevada legislators is that they remember that we are more than just numbers." (What's the Plus)
Teacher Focus: The Inequity of School Funding
In April 2017, State Rep. Sam Yingling visited classrooms at Round Lake Early Education Center and met with early childhood blended teacher and Teach Plus Policy Fellow Kali Skiles and other teachers at the school. Following classroom visits, Rep. Yingling held a round table discussion with the teachers to address the need for equitable school funding and the importance of early intervention programs.
Rep. Yingling’s visit was prompted by an op-ed by Kali Skiles that underscored the need to close the funding gap in Illinois. Read more about the visit in the Daily Herald.
Teacher Focus: Legislation on Career Pathways
In April 2017, State Rep. Dale DeVon met with 2nd grade teacher and Teach Plus Policy Fellowship Alumna Melissa Sherle and other educators and students at Washington Irving Elementary School in Indianapolis. Rep. DeVon and the teachers discussed the Teacher Induction Pilot Program bill, which supports career pathways and mentorship programs for new teachers. Authored by Rep. DeVon, the bill was developed with extensive input from Teach Plus teachers and incorporates all of their recommendations.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed the Teacher Induction Pilot Program bill into law on April 28, 2017.
Teacher Focus: Legislation to Replace the State Assessment
In March 2017, State Rep. Bob Behning visited Tindley Renaissance Academy to discuss legislation to replace the state's current assessment. The legislation was developed with extensive input from Teach Plus teachers. The bill authored by Rep. Behning contains the recommendations that Teach Plus teachers, including Teach Plus Policy Fellowship alum and Tindley Academy principal Eddie Rangel, shared with the Indiana General Assembly. After the classroom visits, Rep. Behning sat down with Tindley's principal, teachers, students, and parents to discuss changes to education in Indiana.
More about the visit on WISH-TV Indianapolis.
On June 6, 2017, surrounded by Policy Fellows and Teach Plus staff, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed into the law the Student Assessment Bill. The final bill reflects many of Teach Plus teachers' recommendations, including one summative test at the end of the school year and the grading of the test by Hoosier educators.