WTU Teacher Leaders Tackle Vital Educational Issues
In 2019, 12 educators participated and presented their findings on cutting edge educational questions and craft recommendations to address them at a symposium for DCPS teachers and administrators, sponsored by the Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) and its parent organization, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
Teacher leaders do “action research,” explained Dr. Rosalind LaRocque, an AFT researcher and professional development expert. “The aim of their work is to identify real solutions to real problems and to help put these solutions into use. The AFT supports dozens of such solution-driven programs, but the WTU Teacher Leaders of 2019 have been particularly outstanding.” Dr. LaRocque is the author of Reform Versus Dreams: Preventing Student Failure.
“We couldn’t be more proud of this year’s teacher leaders,” said Washington Teachers’ Union President Elizabeth Davis. “They worked very hard. They read available literature on their chosen topic, used proven methodologies to create new data and then applied their findings to real issues that classroom teachers face every day.”
At the symposium where the Teacher Leaders presented their projects, the program’s coordinators, WTU General Vice President Jacqueline Pogue-Lyons and Sarah Elwell, a teacher at McKinley Technology High School each said that they were very inspired by seeing that even after a hard day’s work in the classroom, the teacher leaders put in many hours on their projects.
The 12 Teacher Leaders were:
Aiyana Belguda, who explored how to improve the effectiveness of school-based programs that address the social/emotional needs of low-income children.
Tamara Carter, who showed that programs teaching entrepreneurship to adult incarcerated students reduce the rate of recidivism.
John Clayborn, who collected data relating to the question of how students who attend schools outside of the school’s neighborhood boundaries affect the school’s academic outcomes.
Rhonda Crittendon, who collected data to analyze how well schools prepare so-called “at-risk” students for succeeding in life after high school.
Yelonda Harvey, who studied the relationship between students’ academic achievement and their being given a say in the pedagogical methods used in the classroom.
Dr. Darion James, who conducted a survey to examine how social promotion and student retention affect daily instructional strategies and classroom climate.
Joseph Martin, who compared outcomes at schools that have resources to create excellent educational opportunities with outcomes at schools that lack such resources. He found that the opportunity gap creates the so-called “achievement gap.”
William McMurtrey, whose research showed that although school systems include writing in their curriculums, compared to other basics, the writing experiences of students do not often meet their needs to accomplish original and extended writing assignments.
Safiya O’Connor, who showed that the process of teacher licensure can be redesigned to better serve educators and provide consistent high quality education for students in DCPS.
Read more here. See presentation video.
Rachel Orr-Thomas, who addressed the question of how getting a low evaluation score affects the careers and performances of veteran teachers.
Margaret Thomas, who examined how the performance of teachers can be improved by the teachers studying videotapes of themselves at work in the classroom.
Nadia Torney, who delved into the relationship between student achievement and the empathy that their teachers demonstrate.
Past WTU Teacher Leaders include Kenneth Neat, who recently worked with DCPS administrators in helping to design a teacher induction program and Keishia Thorpe, who was named National Life Changer of the Year this past February by the National Life Group, which recognizes K-12 educators and employees who make a difference in the lives of students.