Teacher leadership leads to student agency

Student group working with dry erase marker
In his Spring Break message to Maine 207 staff, Superintendent Dr. Ken Wallace lauds the compelling teacher leadership being demonstrated across the District each and every day and notes its direct correlation to the quality of work being done by Maine 207 students, as staff and students alike create a model of what great public education can look like.


Dear Staff,

This week Dr. Colleen Worrell, the Director of the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning for St. Mark’s School in Southborough, Massachusetts traveled here on her spring break to observe our teacher leadership program which she identifies as an exemplar of the OECD’s Learning Organization model. On Tuesday she was able to sit in on teacher-led training in Academic Vocabulary (Comparison and Contrast) led by Mecca Sadler and Jen Gustavson, who expertly modeled the lessons in ways that rival professional presenters anywhere.

Last night at our Community Advisory Council, Dr. Audrey Haugan showcased Maine West students who have tackled real problems like parking lot egress and building prosthetics for a fellow student in need, and we showcased multiple examples of student agency in action. CAC members saw examples of students building homes for Habitat for Humanity in our East Geo-Construction classes as well as South students developing an application to solve parking shortage issues for students.

Central to all of this were examples to the CAC of the compelling teacher leadership across the District, which has a symbiotic relationship to the compelling work being done by our students. I could not be more proud of our teachers and the quality of work that is happening each and every day in our classrooms led by our world-class teachers and staff. As we re-imagine the work to improve learning, we must ask questions and seek answers to how many courses like Geo-Construction, where students outperform their regular Geometry peers on performance assessments while building homes for needy families, can we develop? I will pose that question today, but in the near future we will formalize a process to invite teachers to consider courses that are more integrated and re-imagine time in ways that create more space and time for student and teacher agency. We are ready because of each of you.

Have a wonderful break. Thank you for all that you do to help us elevate teaching and learning to a unique position as a model of what great public education can look like.

Sincerely,
Ken
  • Maine North High School
  • Frost Academy