Improving Instructional Impact
Peers in Public Practice
Teachers value professional development that is relevant, interactive and job-embedded and gives them access to their colleagues as experts. Local education foundations can help develop teacher leaders who support their peers in improving their instructional practice. Peers in Public Practice provides real world, real time exposure by teachers to their colleagues as experts – providing the time, space and structure for those valued learning opportunities.
In this model, teacher leaders open their classrooms to peer teacher observers in their district, then both leaders and observers engage in debrief sessions to give feedback, reflect on what was observed and discuss potential new strategies.
Pilot projects, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, began during the 2016-17 school year and continue into this school year in 13 school districts around Florida.
Fostering Collaborative Communities for Teachers
Florida’s local education foundations have a 30-year history of positively engaging teachers through recognition and classroom grant programs. With the Peers in Public Practice experience and other local education foundation efforts, interest in supporting teachers in new ways — focused on improving their instructional practice and developing teacher leaders — is growing. Long-time partner Wells Fargo stepped up to encourage more work in this area through the CFEF in 2017-18 by funding four new initiatives. Fostering Teacher Leadership offers seed money for foundations to begin leadership communities within school districts on an ongoing basis through teacher leadership councils, online learning communities, roundtables and more teacher-to-teacher learning communities.
Through a Teacher Leadership Affinity Group, all CFEF members have opportunities to learn from one another and connect to state and national resources. The ultimate vision? All Florida teachers have meaningful, valued opportunities to hone their skills so that all Florida students have access to exceptional learning experiences every day!