Building Leadership To Support Teacher Learning: The Mills Teacher Scholars Principal Inquiry Network
The larger goal of the newly formed Network is to support school leaders to harness the potential of the Mills Teacher Scholars inquiry work at their sites to support transformational systems change.
Through this newly formed Network, leaders of Mills Teacher Scholars partner sites will work with their school-based colleagues to:
- develop a deeper understanding of how teacher inquiry can improve instructional practice and align school-wide expectations and practices
- build competency around how to set the conditions to support teacher learning and teacher instructional leadership
- consider new ways to leverage existing teacher leader competencies at their school site
As teacher scholar leaders from their sites met in the adjacent room, Principal Network participants at our August meeting had a chance to experience the Mills Teacher Scholars thinking space for themselves. Veteran MTS partner principal, Paco Furlan (Rosa Parks, BUSD) modeled the idea of sharing an authentic dilemma of leadership with principal coach Eve Gordon, who supported him to think more deeply through probing questions and comments. Principals then had a chance to explore their own question of practice in small groups before joining up with their teacher scholar leaders next door.
Site leaders and teacher scholar leaders were asked to collaboratively craft a statement that articulates how their Mills Teacher Scholars inquiry work will move them towards their school improvement goals. This messaging, that aligned teacher leaders’ vision with the principal’s would then be shared with their staff on the opening professional development day. Here are statements from two of our partner sites:
“There has been an ask for intentional professional learning that is not just checking off a box. Mills Teacher Scholars provides the opportunity to choose an area for improvement and to look at our teaching and reflect– in a nonevaluative, nonthreatening way– with each other in service of better outcomes for kids….This is not top down, this is process driven by teachers.”–Anna Yates Elementary, Emery Unified
“In our professional development this year, we want to create spaces for teachers to share their learning and struggles with each other for mutual benefit. Our belief is that PD should facilitate sharing amongst the faculty so that the students experience continuity across the disciplines and are able to flexibly apply their knowledge.”—Albany High School
The Mills Teacher Scholar Principal Inquiry Network will come together in October and in January to continue this cross-district leadership learning opportunity.