The Teacher Leader Fellowship Program Abroad
MISSION: The Teacher Leader Fellowship Program Abroad is designed to provide US teachers, administrators and policy makers who support them an experience in countries that are recognized globally as educational super-powers in order to learn about their policies and practices first-hand and consider what, if any, of those policies and practices could be modified or implemented wholly in their local settings.
THE FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM ABROAD IS DESIGNED FOR:
TEACHERS who want to remain teachers and have an interest in effecting change beyond their classroom walls to thrive in a supportive environment that allows them to take ownership of the programs, practices, policies and priorities that affect student learning;
ADMINISTRATORS who support teacher leaders to create collaborative, creative and innovative school cultures in the service of student learning;
NETWORKS OF TEACHER LEADERS AND ADMINISTRATORS to share best practices, programs, policies and priorities across districts in the US and other countries that are recognized for their ability to support the profession and student learning; and
US POLICY LEADERS who have an interest in education policy and practices and want to consider what, if any, of the policies implemented in other countries have promise for their local setting.
MAJOR ACTIVITIES OF THE FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM ABROAD INCLUDE:
Pre-visit readings and discussions – Prior to departure for the country, important readings about the education system in the country are shared. At least one meeting in the US is held prior to departure to discuss them.
Saturday Departure from JFK on (usually non-stop) Flight to Target Country – Every attempt is made to select the most direct route using non-stop flights to the target country. On occasion, non-stop will not be possible.
Sunday Orientation to culture and education of target country – A brief tour of the target city from the airport to a centrally located 4 – 5 star hotel (that includes breakfast) orients participants to the physical location. A welcome dinner with a representative of the education community who orients the group to the education systemt is provided.
Visits to Schools – Over the course of the week, program participants will visit schools that serve pre-K through high school level students. School visits will include a discussion with the head of the school and teachers, and classroom visits to allow discussion with students and observation of the interaction between students and teachers.
Visit to Teacher/Administrator Preparation Institution(s) – Depending on the way each target country prepares teachers, discussions and/or visits to teacher preparation universities/colleges/schools are scheduled with professors and pre-service teachers/administrators.
Visit to Ministry of Education and/or City Central Office and/or Legislature – Depending on the target country and schedule, at least one visit to policy making bodies of the country and/or centralized administration are scheduled.
Post-Visit Meeting and Discussions – At least one post-visit meeting is held so that the participants can de-brief, review what they experienced and analyse what they believe they can apply in their local settings.
On-Going Interaction and Discussion between US schools and Target Country Schools – Sister school pairing will be made such that students, teachers, administrators and policy makers can have continued dialogue using the latest technological tools.
COUNTRIES SELECTED FOR VISITATION IN 2019:
FINLAND has been recognized globally as an education super-power. Generally, their students are happy, healthy and are consistently achieving top scores on the PISA exam. Teachers are highly valued, highly educated (they all have masters degrees), and treated as true leaders in their schools. Trust is key to the educational success of all in the system.
Canada was the third highest performing country on PISA in 2015. In Ottawa in particular a major focus has been on enabling students’ “curiosity, creativity, imagination and innovation.” They want students to “explore and discover their own pathways to success.” They organize themselves to involve all people connected with schools – from janitors to directors – to have input into students’ educational lives.
DIRECTOR OF PROGRAM:
Dr. Betty J. Sternberg
Connecticut Commissioner of Education, Emerita