Fellowship Summer Session Recap

By Mary Rakes, Director of EL Strategy and the DLC Teacher Leader Fellowship

“Thank you for providing a much needed avenue that supports us, as EE and EL teachers. We often are the overlooked or last to be thought about teachers in a building. Having the opportunity to share, learn and grow with a group of like-minded people has been really empowering.” – A 2019-2020 DLC Teacher Leader Fellow.

From June 17th-20th, the DLC space was buzzing with the sound of inspired collaboration. The first DLC Teacher Leader Fellowship Summer Session could not have gone better, and we are still thinking back on all the highlights from the week.

The 2019-2020 Fellows are one incredible group of educators. Spanning across 17 charter and traditional Nashville schools, the 21 Fellows serve English Learners and students with disabilities in a variety of capacities. The Fellows range in experience in education from three to thirty-plus years, and among them have experience at every grade level, Kindergarten through 12th grade. Needless to say, we could not be more honored to facilitate a time and place for them to learn, grow, collaborate, and connect.

Over the course of four days, the Fellows participated in sessions centered around leadership and best practice development. They spent time working with and learning about the NBPTS’s Teacher Leader Competencies, High-Leverage Practices, coaching conversations, developing a needs assessment, and more. While digging into the content, they participated in new learning structures such as chalk talk, role playing, and gallery walks, which the Fellows said they hope to bring back to their own schools when leading professional learning.

We also had some amazing speakers throughout the week. Things kicked off with an incredible session from Krystal Clark, certified StrengthsFinder coach. The Fellows heard from Dr. Fain of Lipscomb University on the topic of Academic Talk + Equity. In addition to these speakers and others, all the Fellows attended the mini-conference on Wednesday, June 19th and learned from local experts on everything from True + Successful PLCs to Dyslexia-Specific Interventions. The keynote speaker, author and blogger Mary Susan McConnell, shared her perspective as a special needs parent with the group, and brought everyone to tears before the end of her inspiring talk.

Much of the year for the Fellowship is organized around the Fellows learning how to do a needs assessment and implement changes in their circle of impact based on the results of the needs assessment. During the Summer Session, Fellows were also introduced to a clear protocol for doing a needs assessment. From there, they brainstormed ideas for their Impact Projects, something they will work on throughout the year. The ideas they were coming up with were incredible! Clearly, they all came in with strong ideas of how to improve their students, classrooms, and schools-a testament to their growing leadership abilities. Through their year of work with the Fellowship, they will be better suited to create and implement these changes. We can’t wait to see what impact they will make through the year.

Our week ended with shoutouts, Las Paletas, and new ideas for facilitating meaningful change. Our hope is that we sent the Fellows into the school year feeling empowered by being part of this cohort of leaders working to better outcomes for all diverse learners across Nashville.

2019-2020 DLC Teacher Leader Fellows & DLC Staff

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