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Monday, July 10, 2017

The Intersection of State, District, and Classroom Efforts

As a classroom educator who is interested in teaching my students well while also uplifting and elevating teacher leadership in the district and state where I work, I'm wondering how all of these efforts intersect.

First, as I attend the NB Academy in Las Vegas, it's clear that educators drawn to national certification are educators who deeply care about children and the potential education holds for good lives. Educators here share with a sense of excitement and enthusiasm when they discuss how their efforts empower their students as well as their colleagues. They are proud of the ways that they've used the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards to uplift practice as well as compensation for educators while creating dynamic teacher leadership cohorts in their states. Listening to their success stories provides me with many examples of positive professional learning, development, and leadership that I can bring back to the school district where I teach. These educators further share multiple examples of positive practice that I'll be able to utilize in the classroom too as I work to serve students well.

These nationally certified educators and leaders also point to their use of strategic, systematic structure to promote more NBCTs in ways that matter--their good work is based on a foundation of dedicated collaboration amongst state NBCTs and with the NPBTS organization, local/national teachers' unions and other public/private funders. I'm learning about how they intersect their work with these outside organizations to gain good consult, funding, and future ideas--this is important to the work I do on my own and with colleagues in the classroom, at the district level, and via state and national organizations.

When districts support the intersection with educators throughout the nation and world both in real time and virtually, they nurture their own systems with strength. This national and international intersection helps to develop both our vision and practice in real time, and empowers our efforts to educate students for the world today and the world in the future. Essentially these intersections move beyond the isolation that too many educators, schools, and districts face when working to educate every child well.

Over the years, I've engaged with many teacher development efforts and organizations outside of the classroom, school and district where I teach--these efforts have elevated what I can do with and for students and colleagues. In a sense, these efforts bring the world of ideas and practice into my classroom and connect my students and school with the world--this is positive. My rule of thumb for getting involved in outside efforts is that they must be efforts that will directly impact the work I do at school for students, and when the efforts I commit to no longer serve my primary work as an educator, I step down from those endeavors.

So, in the days ahead, I'll think deeply about how leading interested Massachusetts educators towards national certification will empower my own teaching and learning. There's no doubt that working to help educators reflect upon and grow their own practice related to the national standards will serve to deepen my own commitment and use of these standards in my daily practice too.