Byron's Babbles

ESSA Opportunity #7: Reservation for School Leaders

IMG_0434This opportunity is one that is near and dear to me. I really believe in job embedded professional growth/development. Under ESSA, states may reserve up to 3% of their Title II, Part A funds to build a workforce of leaders with the skills to help schools transition to personalized learning environments. Priority funding should go to support leaders serving in schools identified for comprehensive support and improvement. As a school leader who has now taken on a high school and now a school system that fits this priority, I can attest to the need for this development of teacher leaders. ESSA also requires that professional development programs should be customized, embedded, and align to statewide professional competencies so leaders can advance along individualized career pathways.

I believe programs like what we have started at Hoosier Academies Network of Schools in our Focused Leader Academy really fit the bill. This is an employee development and engagement program. The idea is that great minds and great motives still matter. Teachers with school leadership aspirations have the opportunity to become part of a cohort which will take part in monthly leadership training and be part of supervised leadership projects of the school. Cohort size is at least 10-15% of teacher leaders per year. The Vision is: Leadership will be born out of those who are affected by it. The Mission is: Leadership will appear anywhere and anytime it is needed. Our Theory of Action is: If we empower our teachers through leadership skill developmentā€¦Then we will have teacher leaders ready to contribute to the success of Hoosier Academies Network of Schools and be an important part of our talent pipeline. I believe states should endorse and help schools develop programs such as this in order to have approaches required by ESSA that build and strengthen professional learning systems aligned to teachers’ learning needs. This would allow schools to do what I call “hyper-personalizing professional growth.” Click here to see ESSA’s Definition of Professional Learning & Title ll Allowable Uses of Funds.

Also, Learning Forward and National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future have come up with an Agents for Learning competition related to state planning for Title II funds. These competitions are great ways to collaborate for best practices and to get a lot of ideas for how best to use the funding. Click here to get more information on the competition. I, for one, hope they get lots of applications. Teachers are in the best position to contribute recommendations for the best use of federal funding for professional learning, the successful implementation of ESSA, and the improvement of student learning.

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