Huntsville, TN (2017-07-04) Huntsville Middle School teacher Kenneth Chadwell has been chosen as a 2017-2018 Hope Street Group Tennessee State Teacher Fellow to provide a leadership voice in education policy.
The Hope Street Group Tennessee State Teacher Fellows Program is a nonpartisan program that provides a group of diverse public school teachers–who are chosen through a rigorous selection process – with skills around peer and community engagement, facilitating focus groups, and communication strategies while giving them opportunities to amplify teacher voice to inform policy decisions. Hope Street Group launched the program with great success in Kentucky in 2013, replicating it in Hawai’i in 2014, North Carolina and Tennessee in 2015, and Arizona and Utah in 2017.
“I applied to the Hope Street Group Tennessee State Teacher Fellowship to help strengthen my voice for my students and fellow teachers”, Chadwell said.
Chadwell will join twenty new fellows along with thousands of teachers across the state increasing teacher leadership and amplifying their voice to inform policy decisions. There are seven teacher leaders returning to the cohort for a second year.
“Teacher engagement is vital to the improvement of education in Tennessee,” Chadwell continued. “State policy makers want to hear from the experts when it comes to education and those experts are teachers. By really listening to the concerns of the teachers, policy makers can gain clarity in the needs of our students,” he added.
Tennessee State Teacher fellows (STFs) have collected feedback and the opinions of Tennessee teachers on topics such as teacher professional development, Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTI2), chronic absenteeism and effective discipline practices. Teacher Fellows lead focus groups, gather survey data, and meet with local and state leaders to give critical feedback on education policy issues. The program also has an active social media presence, hosting monthly teacher-led Twitter chats on various education-related topics at #HSGEdChatTN.
For the 2016-17 school year, in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE), Teacher Fellows conducted a data collection where they sought teacher solutions from their peers on improving school climate, including chronic absenteeism and student discipline. Their findings were turned into actionable recommendations to further support educators in the state.
Fellows like Chadwell will have the opportunity to survey and discuss similar issues with teachers across Scott County and use the results to advocate for teachers and students locally and throughout the state.
“It’s exciting to see the growth of the Tennessee State Teacher Fellows Program, and how teacher leadership has blossomed in our great state,” Keilani Goggins, Tennessee State Teacher Fellow Program Director stated. “Educator insight is critical when it comes to crafting meaningful education policy. I’m confident that this cohort of teacher leaders will do exceptional work engaging their peers and gathering input, while providing actionable recommendations to our partners,” she concluded.
Hope Street Group is a national organization that works to ensure every American will have access to tools and options leading to economic opportunity and prosperity. For more information, visit: www.hopestreetgroup.org.