Apr 18, 2013

Largest gathering of educators in recent memory kicks off grassroots effort to prepare students for college and careers

LAFAYETTE, La. - Nearly 2,000 educators, representing every school in the state, today met in Lafayette at the Cajundome for a two-day Teacher Leader Kickoff event. The event is an effort by the Department of Education to empower those closest to students to lead in the transition to more rigorous standards and assessments. Teacher Leaders, principals, and district staff will participate in training and information sessions where they will have the opportunity to share their suggestions for the transition and explore the Classroom Support Toolbox in detail. Along with these professional development opportunities, Louisiana State University baseball coach, Paul Mainieri will provide the keynote address. To watch a live stream of the events click here from 10 am until 5pm on the Thursday and 8 am until noon on Friday.

"This event is about empowering those closest to kids. Standards and tests will become more difficult as Louisiana raises the bar for education in our state, and these efforts are about supporting educators in this transition," said State Superintendent John White, "Rather than telling teachers how to teach, the Classroom Support Toolbox and Louisiana Teacher Leaders guarantee that every teacher in the state has support at their school site."

Leading this effort are the Louisiana Teacher Leaders, who were nominated by their districts based on their leadership ability, positive influence on their school, and support for their peers. Teacher Leaders will play two primary roles as teachers continue to implement the Common Core State Standards and Compass. First, they will create and implement teacher collaboration to reflect on student learning results, access and adjust planning tools to meet student needs, specifically by utilizing the new Classroom Support Toolbox, and share instructional best practices to help fellow teachers improve. Secondly, Teacher Leaders will set up clear communication systems at their schools, so that their fellow teachers are aware of the most up to date tools and resources.

"Teacher leaders are a voice speaking on behalf of educators across the state. Our students, our future-need to be prepared to be college and career ready, and it is my mission-our mission- to assure that we get them there. I live by the credo of my district, to be a lifelong learner. My passion involves seeing students' success. I challenge my students daily, yet I am humbled to be challenged myself-by being afforded this opportunity to work with other Teacher Leaders around the state to guarantee that all Louisiana teachers are equipped to make students ready to take on the 21st century and the world. Through opportunities, like this one, we, the Teacher Leaders, will shape not just the teachers in our buildings and districts, but the students' futures," said Stacy Harkreader Neighbors, M.Ed., NBCT and 8th grade teacher and a Teacher Leader at JB Martin Middle School in St. Charles Parish.

"This week, over 2,000 educators will meet to learn more about some revolutionary improvements in Louisiana's state education.  With the adoption of more rigorous standards and assessments, Louisiana's students will have the tools to ensure that they are nationally and globally competitive in the 21st century marketplace.  As a teacher and parent, I am thrilled about this. As a classroom math teacher, the Common Core State Standards mean that I will focus on fewer standards and have more time to teach them, allowing for much greater depth and mastery.  It will be more focused and rigorous.  Students will have greater success simply because they will have more time and experience with a mathematical concept. I am very excited about the changes in Louisiana education and the resources in the Classroom Support Toolbox," said Serena White a math teacher and a Teacher Leader at Lee High School in the Monroe City School District.

The Department recently released the online Classroom Support Toolbox, a support strategy to empower teachers as the state moves toward implementing the Common Core State Standards. This interactive online toolbox for educators and school districts, a feature of Louisianabelieves.com is an effort to provide increased clarity and support for teachers and districts without prescribing how to teach. The concept for the toolbox came as a result of feedback from educators and districts that have been preparing for the transition to assessments that will be aligned with Common Core State Standards.

Types of resources provided on the website range from sample yearlong curriculum plans to instructional videos and guidance on how to set goals for student achievement. Additional resources will be available in the coming months, and Louisiana Teacher Leaders will play an important role in continuing to create resources and provide support for fellow teachers in utilizing the toolbox. Follow @LA_Believes for live Twitter updates, and for more information on Louisiana Teacher Leaders visit the Department's website here

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