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Boston Schools Tap Teacher Talent

Congratulations to Boston Public Schools for its internally driven improvement efforts. Its Turnaround Teacher Teams (T3) initiative models of one of Learning Forward's core principles: expertise. The principle--Communities can solve even their most complex problems by tapping internal expertise--recognizes that within every school are solutions to intractable challenges.

These challenges can be solved if teams of educators, often led by teacher leaders, work collaboratively to examine data to define persistent problems associated with student learning. Together they study evidence-based practices to identify those that might be most appropriate for their unique school and student circumstances. They engage in collaborative professional learning at school to acquire the content knowledge, skills, and dispositions to implement their selected practices. With support, teachers implement their newly refined or acquired practices, and bring samples of student work back to their collaborative teams to assess the impact of those practices on student learning.

By placing leadership and support for change at the school and classroom, tapping the expertise of teacher leaders, and building strong collaborative cultures, teachers and students benefit. In this era where resources for professional development are quickly disappearing and additional opportunities for differentiating teachers' roles are needed to keep the best and brightest teachers in the profession, the Turnaround Teacher Teams in Boston model how to expand professional collaboration and learning and the role of teachers to build collective responsibility for complex challenges related to student learning.

Joellen Killion
Deputy Executive Director, Learning Forward

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