Defining Excellence

We know the value of providing our students with models for their learning. Well, at NCTE, we also provide models of excellence for NCTE affiliates. Each year since 1996 the NCTE Standing Committee on Affiliates  has evaluated applications for the Affiliate Excellence Award, an award that honors NCTE affiliates that meet high standards of performance for programming and promote improvement in English language arts teaching.

Affiliates can apply for, and win, this award year after year because it’s an award that holds winners up as models for all NCTE affiliates to emulate. The required criteria include:

• increasing membership in the affiliate or NCTE;
• publishing an affiliate communications instrument at least twice a year;
• conducting at least one professional development program for members;
• completing the annual affiliate report to NCTE by the deadline;
• achieving accomplishments such as implementing and maintaining a cultural diversity plan;
• developing a program to encourage new teachers into the profession;
• participating in an NCTE Affiliate Leadership Meeting;
• participating in at least three affiliate-sponsored activities at the NCTE Annual Convention.

This year’s seven winners deserve a Drum Roll!!! Each of them has been recognized as an Affiliate of Excellence more than once, and each, while maintaining the essential services of conference, publications, and communications, has also created a new program for their members. I’d like to introduce all seven of them to you so you can join me in honoring them and their leadership and members who have made the award possible, and so we can see the possibilities various affiliates bring to their members. I’ve included some comments about each from Jean Boreen, chair of the Standing Committee on Affiliates and the Excellence Award committee chair.

The Montana Association of Teachers of English Language Arts has been recognized for its excellence for three years.

I was impressed with your convention with its exciting sessions for your members as well as the interdisciplinary opportunities you offer; the joint memberships with Math and Science offer great potential. Your methods of communication—from your well-conceived website and phenomenal newsletters—all contribute to keeping members informed and aware. In terms of advocacy, I was impressed with your SEAM program and how strong your affiliate is in support of teachers and students around the state through your various efforts.

The Iowa Council of Teachers of English has been recognized for its excellence for four years.

Your methods of communication continue to be a model that I actually recommend to other affiliates. Your well-developed website as well as your use of social media all contribute to keeping members informed and aware. I have certainly appreciated your enhanced development of special interest groups, especially the writing group, which I have joined and find both insightful and inspiring. I also love the Yo Teach Podcast idea; wonderful!

The New Jersey Council of Teachers of English  has been recognized for its excellence for six years.

Your publications and social media continue to be an exceptionally strong means of communication in keeping members informed and aware; your website is also a strong mechanism for reaching out to your membership. I loved your development of the virtual Hall of Fame; what a wonderful way to highlight great leadership and support of the affiliate. I’m also very impressed with your plans for new members as well as the consistent updating and goal-setting your group is doing; I love the energy that is clearly emanating from the good work you are all putting forward.

The Texas Council of Teachers of English Language Arts has been recognized for its excellence for nine years.

Along with your consistently strong conventions and the professionalism of all of your publications that contribute to keeping members informed, aware, and professionally supported, I wanted to make a special point about your advocacy efforts this year as you have made even more important the impact TCTELA has on the teachers and students of the state of Texas. Your work this year on standards review and the development of TEKS connection must be lauded.

The Virginia Association of Teachers of English has been recognized for its excellence for nine years.

You have taken your advocacy of teachers in the state to a new level with your very active interactions regarding the “Beloved” Bill. I applaud the consistent effort so many of your members made to make the will of Virginia teachers known in regards to curriculum. I also continue to love the Literacy Explosion and the great categories that students can write to.

The Ohio Council of Teachers of English Language Arts  has been recognized for its excellence for ten years.

Your methods of communication continue to be some of the most professional that I have seen and certainly contribute to keeping members informed and aware, probably one of the reasons that Ohio is able to produce appropriate position statements that support well NCTE’s focus on advocacy. I was again pleased to see how involved you were able to be as an advocate for teachers around the stakeholders group. Your Teaching Ambassador program is exciting and has great merit for the outreach you are attempting to do around the state. Finally, I love the Future Teaching Mentoring Plan and its inclusivity; so important to younger professionals.

The Georgia Council of Teachers of English  has been recognized for its excellence for fifteen years.

Your hosting of this year’s NCTE conference was truly a model for others to emulate. The Georgia Strand at NCTE was also a smart move and could be used effectively by other affiliates hosting upcoming conventions as it really offers opportunities for teachers to network with GCTE as well as each other. That strongly ties into how your methods of communication all contribute to keeping members informed and aware; I liked the addition of the Tweet tips this year to your website which also continues to be one of your strength areas. I would also like to note that the consistency of leadership in Georgia and the mentoring of new members is a strength that I see very clearly in all of your materials and in your interactions at the leadership conference.

Applause, please, for these seven excellent affiliates!

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About Millie Davis

Millie Davis is Senior Developer for Affiliates, and Director of the Intellectual Freedom Center at the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). In addition she works on NCTE’s communications efforts, particularly on social media. Millie's passion is working with literacy teachers across the country and beyond whose passion for their students and their students' learning is their reason for going to work each day.

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