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Teacher Leaders go to Washington

Posted by: murphys2 | September 4, 2019 | No Comment |

Each year before the fall semester commences, twelve teacher education seniors, who are part of our Teacher Leader program, take a week-long trip to Washington, D.C. to explore a variety of educational organizations and to learn about policy in education. This year, the Teacher Leaders met with members from WestEd, an organization that provides services to teachers, schools and districts that lead to high-quality learning and equity; the Department of Education and United States Capitol to learn how federal policy affects them as future teachers; and the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools (NAFIS) which exposed them to political issues affecting education.

This trip molds Teacher Leaders into stronger educators by equipping them with the ability to advocate for themselves, other educators, their future students and students’ families. They learn about the intricacies of policy making and discover career opportunities available to them. This 2019-2020 cohort of Teacher Leaders left Washington, D.C. with a drive to take action, research policies and write their congressmen regularly to enact change.

Hear from some of the Teacher Leaders and what they took away from this enriching experience:

This trip was an excellent way for me to grow both as a leader and a future educator. I got the chance to lead the group, interact with professionals and political activists within educational policy, and learn more about the legalities surrounding public education. It became evident to me that many politicians do not understand the workings of the classroom, and that we, as teachers need to be more active in creating and reforming educational policy. Most importantly, I learned as a future special education teacher how important it is to advocate for my students and understand the laws that affect them. — Annie Grace Whitfield, Special Education

After this week in Washington, D.C., I feel better equipped to enter the classroom as a first-year teacher. This experience has helped me to build a stronger foundation of knowledge of the different roles of a teacher outside of teaching content and relating to students. — Mckenna Kenner, Elementary Education

The most helpful and meaningful thing that we, as future educators, can do is to advocate for our students and our profession. By using our voice and participating in policy-centered discourse, we are helping to promote our students and their time in our classroom. I cannot wait to implement what I’ve discovered on this trip into my own classroom and my professional life! — Kyra Swartz, Early Childhood Education

The Teacher Leader program fosters the professional development of senior teacher education majors by pairing them with a mentor who is an innovative leader in education, providing them with challenging, extracurricular opportunities, and coordinating roundtable discussions with education leaders.

The 2019-2020 Teacher Leader members are:

Anna Katherine Baldwin
Lauren Croghan
Jonathan Eskew-Martin
Jenna Gore
Abby Guza
McKenna Kenner
Katelynn Kitts
Elizabeth Poppens
Julianna Ridenhour
Bree Soria
Kyra Swartz
Annie Grace Whitfield

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