Teacher Leadership: It's in Your Contract
I believe that the solutions to the multitude of problems teachers face should come from teachers. In other words, I believe in the power of teacher leadership. I think that every school in Brevard County should be using teacher leadership to improve teaching and learning. If you believe the same, then I urge you to step up and lead. As a matter of fact, your contract provides the opportunity for teachers to lead via steering committees. Article VI Section D of the 2015-2016 Contract states:
A Steering Committee composed of a school's faculty may be established in each school at the discretion of the faculty. The Steering Committee may request and shall be granted a meeting with the principal at least quarterly during the school year on a mutually agreeable date and time. The purpose of the Steering Committee is to offer input from the faculty to the principal concerning any matters pertaining to the operation or the educational program of the school. However, pending grievances or an individual teacher's issue may not be discussed. Recommendations of the Steering Committee will be given full consideration by the principal. Each school shall have three (3) to seven (7) members on its Steering Committee, with one membership reserved for a BFT building representative or designee. Other members shall be selected by the faculty. It is not the responsibility of the principal to organize the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is responsible for submitting a written agenda to the principal no less than three (3) workdays before the meeting with the principal. The Steering Committee will prepare minutes of the meeting and submit those minutes to the principal for review. Upon approval of the minutes by both parties, the Steering Committee will make available to the school faculty minutes of the meeting.
When I was on the Steering Committee at Oak Park, we successfully solved some issues. One of our major achievements was making sure there were working computers in every classroom. Part of the reason for our success was that we made a great effort to keep it positive…we made sure we were solution driven. For every problem we put on the agenda, we also listed several possible solutions.
You have the knowledge to solve the issues your schools face, and your contract guarantees you a platform to do so! If you need help getting your steering committee going, please let me know!
Anthony S. Colucci