The Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) has announced the launch of a new program, the Hope Street Group Tennessee State Teacher Fellowship, to elevate educator voices and improve teacher leadership opportunities. TDOE is partnering with Hope Street Group, a national nonprofit organization known for its teacher engagement work, plus the Tennessee Education Association (TEA) and the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) to bring the program to the state.
Hope Street Group will select a cadre of talented teachers this spring to participate in the 12-month fellowship, which will commence in summer 2015. Fellows will be given the opportunity to attend professional development trainings, engage with their colleagues and collect data and feedback from teachers. Ultimately, Teacher Fellows will influence positive change at the local, state and national levels. In the last few years, Tennessee has launched a number of programs to help elevate the teaching profession and educator voice.
“We are happy to welcome Hope Street Group and its fellowship program to Tennessee,” said Tennessee Commissioner of Education Candice McQueen. “Teachers are the biggest factor in the success of our students, and it is critical that we listen to and learn from our teachers to improve educational opportunities for all students.”
“The Hope Street Group State Teacher Fellows Program exists to amplify teacher engagement and impact. Without the input of teachers, education policy will not reach its full potential. By empowering teachers to offer solutions to classroom and school challenges, we are not only serving the profession of teaching, but improving educator working conditions, something we know is necessary to improve outcomes for students,” said Dan Cruce, Vice President of Education at Hope Street Group.
Already launched in Hawaii and Kentucky, the Hope Street Group State Teacher Fellows program will also now replicate in North Carolina. An independent evaluation of the Kentucky State Teacher Fellows program found that the fellowship provided teachers with “a diverse, unique and transferable set of tools, training and resources” and that Kentucky education leaders “valued the data reported to them and acknowledged the important role Hope Street Group played and can play to support teachers’ participation in the policy process.”
Teachers from across the state are eager to have additional teacher-led input on education policy that affects their classrooms, and have also welcomed the new fellowship program. “Our purpose at TEA is to promote and advance public education and the teaching profession. Tennessee educators are the real experts on what our students need to succeed and their involvement in important policy decisions is crucial,” said Barbara Gray, Arlington Community Schools Administrator and TEA president. “We very much look forward to working with the Hope Street Group Tennessee State Teacher Fellows to increase teacher input regarding what works in our public schools.”
“The 2014-15 State of Education in Tennessee report published last month by SCORE identified elevating the teaching profession as a state priority and specifically recommended expanding teacher leadership opportunities,” said SCORE President and CEO Jamie Woodson. “The Hope Street Group Teacher Fellows program will give teachers resources and opportunities to take their leadership beyond the classroom and to raise the teacher voice in Tennessee. For that, we are grateful and eager for Hope Street Group’s Tennessee launch.”
The Fellows selected for the program will represent a broad range of outstanding teachers dedicated to working toward improvements for their colleagues and their students. If you are a Tennessee teacher and are interested in learning more about applying to the fellowship, please visit: apply.hopestreetgroup.org.
Hope Street Group is a national non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding economic opportunity and prosperity for all Americans. For more information, see: www.hopestreetgroup.org.