Teacher Leadership Academy
Learning to Lead
In 2013, the USF College of Education created the Teacher Leadership Academy, a customized program that allows K-12 teachers to work toward a Teacher Leader Graduate Certificate or an advanced degree at USF, while still on-site in their classrooms. The issues and tensions of teaching and leading in a "failing" urban school become the curriculum for understanding conceptual underpinnings of teacher leadership and a meaningful curriculum for the program. The Teacher Leadership Academy is a clinically-centered model of teacher leader preparation where the school's needs drive the curriculum for graduate coursework. The goal is to develop a cadre of teacher leaders that work together to renew the school.
"My leadership opportunities have been enhanced by the opportunity to participate in the Teacher Leader Academy the past three years. I have learned a lot about my own learning and coaching styles and how to apply these when working with teachers and students." - Teacher Leadership Academy Participant
Mort Teacher Leadership Academy
Mort Community Elementary School is a large urban school not far from the USF Tampa campus, student test scores and distribution of resources are not the only big concerns. The school also is focused on empowering the surrounding community. In 2016, Mort became a Community School, which allows the school to provide resources for services such as housing and food to students and their families. The USF College of Education has become a partner in the project.
As the academic arm of the Mort Community School, USF developed a customized Teacher Leadership Academy at the school. The coursework in the Mort Teacher Leadership Academy aims to cultivate leaders within the school. Teacher participants are empowered to become equity-literate teacher leaders who have the knowledge, skills and dispositions to systemically study their own learning, effectively coach other teachers, skillfully facilitate job-embedded professional development and intentionally develop a lens of equity.
Now in its fourth year, the Mort Teacher Leadership Academy has produced 25 USF certified teacher leaders and has teachers enrolled in the Teacher Leadership Certificate, the Master of Arts in Elementary Education, and the Educational Specialist Degree in Elementary Education.
"When I first started teaching, I would hear the words 'teacher leaders,' and I only thought of administrators. Now when I hear the words 'teacher leaders,' I think of all kinds of positions within a school that could fall in that category" Amy DiSalvo, Mort ESE Teacher
MORT TEACHER LEADERSHIP ACADEMY AT A GLANCE
Improvement in School Culture
- There is an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect increase from 23.4% to 74.6% (+38.7% increase in two years)
- Overall, my school is a good place to work and learn increase from 36.2% to 81.4% (+45.2% increase in two years)
- Teachers feel comfortable raising issues and concerns that are important to them increase from 12.2% to 66.1% (+53.9% increase in two years)
- The faculty has an effective process for making group decisions to solve problems increase from 29.8% to 75% (+45.2% increase in two years)
- The faculty and leadership have a shared vision increase from 53.2% to 89.8% (+36.7% increase in two years)
Improvement in Teacher Leadership Development
- Teacher Leadership Overall Composite Score increase from 40.8% to 77.6% (+36.8% increase in two years)
- Teachers are encouraged to participate in school leadership roles increase from 55.3% to 95% (+39.7% increase in two years)
- Teachers have an appropriate level of influence on decision making in this school increase from 18.2% to 60% (+41.8% increase in two years)
- Teachers are recognized as educational experts increase from 31.3% to 70.0% (+38.7% increase in two years)
"What we have now is a community of learning. It's not just about my students or other teachers' students – but our students." - MTLA participant
For more information about the TLA graduate certificate program or developing a Customized TLA program for your school/district , contact Dr. Rebecca West Burns at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. Stacy Hahn, Director of Professional Development & Partnerships at email@example.com.
The TLA is made possible through the support of the David C. Anchin Center and through the collaboration, partnership, and vision of the University of South Florida College of Education.