Policy

Leadership Policy
The Need for a Social Studies Coordinator
April 4, 2018
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The Need for a Social Studies Coordinator

Jeff Gray
@iteachushistory

Let me briefly introduce myself to you. I am a twenty-five-year veteran teacher and have taught social studies in Tennessee for thirteen years. I’ve also taught for six years as an adjunct professor in a college of education and am currently a Tennessee Hope Street Group Fellow. In addition, I am the founder of the First Tennessee History Alliance which provides monthly professional development opportunities for teachers in the First CORE Region.
Policy
Wishing for Wakanda: Building Bridges in Education
March 28, 2018
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Wishing for Wakanda: Building Bridges in Education

Amanda Arnold
@Amanda_Arnold77

``In times of crisis, the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.” -T’Challa, Black Panther
Policy
Students and Teachers Deserve a Fear-Free Environment
March 20, 2018
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Students and Teachers Deserve a Fear-Free Environment

Stacy Jones
@stacyjonestned

Following the recently publicized fatal school shooting in Parkland, Florida, most major media outlets—including CBS, NBC, and ABC—reported the number of school shootings to date this year as 18. That number was derived from Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit group, co-founded by Michael Bloomberg.
In the Classroom Policy
Mississippi Students’ Activism is Historically Significant
March 8, 2018
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Mississippi Students’ Activism is Historically Significant

Stacy Jones
@stacyjonestned

Terry, Mississippi, located in Hinds County, about 15 miles southwest of Jackson, had a population of just over 1,000 people—60 percent African American—at the time of the 2010 census. It is home to two high schools, including Terry High School. One of its most famous residents was Tommy Johnson, the blues man about whom the original legend of soul-selling at a crossroads in exchange for masterful guitar playing originated—before it was later attributed to musician Robert Johnson.
In the Classroom Policy
Full-Immersion Work-Based Learning
February 7, 2018
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Full-Immersion Work-Based Learning

Heidi King
@heidikingking

Patrick’s alarm goes off at 5:30 am.  He rolls out of bed and gets dressed.  He has to clock in at Gestamp by 7am, which he’s learned means arriving no later than 6:45.  Patrick is saving for a car, but for now he pays Uber $20 a day to get to and from work.  This is not the easiest life for an 18 year old high school senior to face, but this experience has changed the course of Patrick’s life for the better.  
Leadership Policy
Public Education is Vital to the Success of our Students
October 1, 2017
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Public Education is Vital to the Success of our Students

Stacy Jones
@stacyjonestned 

Ispent this week at a meeting in Nashville reviewing end-of-course assessment items for Tennessee’s state department of education. I have contracted independently in this endeavor for the past two years, and I’m sure that many—even some fellow educators—might question the potential interest level in such an activity. However, I enjoy it immensely. It connects me to the objectives I’m trying to achieve for my students in my public school classroom, based on our specified standards, and it keeps me engaged as an educator. Scrutinizing reading passages and their connected test questions most certainly requires a high level of critical thinking.
In the Classroom Policy
You May Say that I’m a Dreamer, but I’m Not the Only One: Reimagine Career Readiness
September 9, 2017
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You May Say that I’m a Dreamer, but I’m Not the Only One: Reimagine Career Readiness

Amanda Arnold
@Amanda_Arnold77

John Lennon once said, “Imagine all the people living for today.” This is such a simple statement, yet so hard for so many students to do. Career readiness is a critical part of education that students need for living everyday lives. Students must receive education that prepares them for excellence in all labor.
Leadership Policy Professional Learning
Get Caught in the “Web” of Teacher Leadership
August 29, 2017
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Get Caught in the “Web” of Teacher Leadership

Maureen Henderson
@MaureenHender18

Imagine a spider spinning a web.  It begins with individual fibers, then works to strengthen them, carefully finishing with their connection.   Across the state of Tennessee there are many strands of teacher leadership being spun.  Amazing initiatives and programs have been put in place to reinforce them.  What does it look like when these pieces are woven together to create a strong, powerful design?
Leadership Policy Professional Learning
Once a Fellow, Always a Fellow
June 22, 2017
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Once a Fellow, Always a Fellow

Diarese George
@DiareseGeorge

What’s my next move? What are my options? Are there opportunities for growth beyond the classroom? In the classroom? This time last year, these were questions that I had asked myself. At the time, I had just completed my fourth academic year of teaching and wondered what my professional trajectory looked like in the coming years. I transitioned into education after working in business for six years after college. In business, there was always an understanding that if you came into an entry-level role, depending on the company, you should be preparing for upward mobility within 2-3 years. Having surpassed that timeframe in the classroom, I was anxious to see what my next steps in the profession would be. That’s when I came across teacher education fellowship opportunities after reading Commissioner McQueen’s monthly Educator Update. (See past updates and sign up to receive them here.)

I decided to apply to Hope Street Group’s State Teacher Fellowship, the State Collaborative on Reforming Education’s Tennessee Educator Fellowship, and Education Pioneers Summer Fellowship. I was surprised to be accepted to each of them! At the conclusion of this year, I have completed each fellowship. Reflecting on them, I see they each offered unique experiences that have equipped me to be a better educator.

My Education Pioneers Fellowship placed me at the Tennessee Department of Education in the Office of Licensure and Educator Preparation. Last summer I worked on a project that explored the opportunities and challenges of school districts collaborating with education preparation programs to create partnerships. Working at this level helped me to see education from a broader lens, especially regarding an initiative like that. That experience helped me to reframe my thought process and view situations from different perspectives. It also gave me access to executive directors across various departments, professional development with the Commissioner, and a chance to view the Department’s five Education Priorities at work in real time.

I participated in both the Hope Street Group and SCORE Fellowships at the same time during the 2016-2017 academic year. The Hope Street Group Fellowship connected me with other teachers and local and national policymakers to give feedback on critical education policy issues, while serving as a spokesperson for positive change in the profession. I also was able to provide feedback to the Department of Education regarding professional development, chronic absenteeism, and RTI2. Additionally, Fellows convened throughout the year to receive advocacy training to aid in our roles. Three of the most helpful things that I learned are how to utilize Twitter for professional development, how to participate in and host Twitter chats, and how to conduct a meaningful focus group.

The SCORE Fellowship selects teacher leaders from across the state to train them to advocate and elevate their voices to support and advance student-focused education policy. SCORE provided the historical context of education policy in Tennessee, including where the state started and how it became the fastest improving in the country. This Fellowship connected me with key individuals and policymakers who played a role in the state’s improvement. It also equipped and empowered me to lead my own advocacy project, which centered on supporting educators of color in Tennessee. SCORE convened Fellows four times throughout the year to provide both advocacy training to support our projects and opportunities to meet key stakeholders, including Commissioner McQueen, executive directors from national education reform organizations, state legislators, and gubernatorial candidates.

My participation in each one of these fellowships has left me feeling enlightened, equipped, and energized to continue to engage in the policy work that I have begun. As my fellowships concluded, I remind myself that the work is just starting. We need more educators involved in education policy and engaging policymakers. When highly effective educators inform and shape education policies based on their practical knowledge and experience of excellent teaching and learning, the results are better for students. I highly recommend any of these fellowships to any educator who is looking to advocate on behalf of students and make an impact in the policy space. Each one of these fellowships proclaim once a Fellow, always a Fellow. For that, I will forever be connected to these organizations, their ongoing work, and the future Fellows who participate in them.

Diarese has taught Business courses at Clarksville High School for the past three years. In that time, he has served as a lead instructor for the school’s career Academy, member of the Instructional Leadership Team and an Academy lead in cross­-curricular collaboration for project­-based learning. He is a graduate of his district’s Leadership Development course, and a district­-wide Professional Development facilitator for Microsoft Excel training. Diarese holds a BBA in Marketing and Management and M.A. in Corporation Communications from Austin Peay State University, MBA from University of Phoenix and an Ed.D. in Leadership and Professional Practice from Trevecca Nazarene University. He also serves as a Hope Street Group Tennessee Teacher Fellow, engaging his colleagues in providing classroom feedback to the Tennessee Department of Education on public education policy issues.

Leadership Policy Professional Learning
Finding Your Teacher Voice
June 16, 2017
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Finding Your Teacher Voice

Hayley Cloud
@hcloud_tn

Ibegan holding adult conversations at a very early age. My vocabulary was well beyond my years, and I could hold a conversation with almost anyone who would listen, no matter the individual’s age, gender, or appearance. I wasn’t picky. Looking back, I’m sure the duration of my conversations sometimes reached the level of annoyance. I know my audience must have thought after a while,  “How do I get her to stop? How much more can I take?” Let’s just say that I have always had a voice, and it was a pretty strong one. I never had trouble finding my voice—until I became a teacher.