Tag Archives: Teach to Lead

Mrs. Stuart Goes to Washington: Week 2

This week kicked off with Senate meetings. We met with staffers from both Republican and Democratic offices to urge the Senate not to eliminate Title II funds (so you can still have access to professional development) and to protect the $189 million for LEARN (intervention support). Both sides were sympathetic to our concerns, but it’s clear that they are contending with budget cuts. There is a cap on non defense discretionary spending, and it has seen a significant drop. Staffers from both sides of the aisle said that if we want to protect these funds, then raising the cap is essential. What does that mean? At its essence, it is akin to giving me a budget of $20 to feed my family of four each month. It’s just not possible, and certainly not healthy. Food is a critical part of life. I need to raise the cap on my budget in order to prevent my kids from starving. The same goes for Title II and LEARN, two programs critical to quality education. We should not be forced to cut these necessary programs. NCTE issued a press release later in the week expressing deep concern about these proposed cuts in the House appropriations bill.

A shot from the outside of the hearing room before we were allowed in.

On Tuesday I went with NCTE’s Lu Ann McNabb to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce hearing on ESSA state plans. The Democrats were vocal about the lack of representation from the Department of Education, and wondered when Secretary DeVos would appear before the committee. The Republicans voiced concerns about the department’s recent feedback on state plans and felt it was overreaching. Chairwoman Foxx was clear in stating that the committee will watch to make sure DC “keeps its distance” in regards to ESSA implementation.


Wednesday I was invited by rock star teacher leader Anna Baldwin to attend the Convening on Systems of Support for Excellent Teaching and Leading at the US Department of Education. The Ambassador Fellows worked this year to create a framework that “allows states, districts, and schools to assess the alignment of their systems of support for teachers and leaders to a set of core principles.” Participants spent the day collaborating and providing feedback on the framework. Keep an eye out for the release of this tool. I know I am looking forward to sharing with my administration and strategizing ways we can improve our professional learning. Jason Botel, acting assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, offered closing remarks. He stated that he sees ESSA as an opportunity to tailor education programs to the students. He also recognized that the work is hard, and teaching is hard. I couldn’t agree more!


At the end of the week I was able to spend some time with my ASCD Teach to Lead team at L2L. This past year, Meghan Everette led a team which consisted of myself, Danielle Brown, Jason Flom, Kenny McKee and David Griffith to determine how educators view their role in advocacy and what can be done to better support potential advocates. The results of this research can be found at the Hurdles and Hopes website. The purpose of the L2L session was to engage with the results of the study. We discussed advocacy barriers and ideas for removing those barriers. I particularly enjoyed crowd-sourcing ideas for professional development modules around advocacy. The room was full of leaders who had strong ideas on how to improve educator advocacy.

Meghan Everette kicks off the L2L session by talking about the Teach to Lead process.

P&O (People and Opportunities)

Meghan Everette: If only there were words. Meghan is a Hope Street Group alum, ASCD Influence Leader, co-creator of the #EdAdvBecause chat, and an ASCD Emerging Leader class of 2014. She is also a Scholastic blogger (so check that out) and all-around super mom and amazing human.

Anna Baldwin, Amanda Barney, Monifa McKnight, Dana Nerenberg and the US Department of Education School Ambassador Fellowship: All of these magnificent ladies are ambassadors. It was great seeing fellow Hope Street Group alum Anna, and fellow EdReport’s crew Dana. Amanda was an excellent facilitator and sounding board, and I had an invigorating intellectual discussion with Monifa.

Jennifer Briones: I met Jen when she worked for Hope Street Group. Now she is a Policy and Advocacy Associate for Data Quality Campaign. She was kind enough to help me with my research project while I am here.

Angela Brizuela and the Library of Congress Summer Teacher Institutes: Teaching with Primary Sources: Angela is a STEM teacher at my school, El Rodeo Elementary. She was in town for the week at the Library of Congress for a teacher institute (check out the site, they have other options that cover all teachers.) This particular institute gathered a consortium of educational partners in an effort to develop curriculum using primary sources from the Library of Congress. Angela had high praise for the event: “I found the institute to be enriching in that I was able to develop science curriculum that was interdisciplinary and encourages critical thinking which is vital to developing responsible citizens.”

Teach to Lead

Chantal Winstead speaking at the Teach to Lead Summit in Washington, DC
Chantal Winstead speaking at the Teach to Lead Summit in Washington, DC

This member guest post is written by NCTE’s Virginia P12 Policy Analyst, Chantal Winstead, who teaches English 11 and Advanced Placement Language and Composition at John Champe High School in Loudoun County, Virginia.

This July, I was one of twenty-eight individuals selected to attend the Teach to Lead Summit in Washington, DC. I had developed and submitted a proposal for community business partners to create internships for eighth and ninth graders. In pitching my idea to US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, I highlighted the importance of this opportunity for all transitioning high school students, but especially for minority and at-risk youth.

I was humbled to learn that my project idea was selected by a panel of fellow teachers from across the country out of more than 160 submissions. While it certainly gave me a feeling of pride, it made me realize the enormous responsibility to flesh out my idea, implement it, and stay connected with my team long after the summit’s end.

Joining me in this effort was a colleague from Loudoun County, Virginia, and NCTE’s P12 policy analyst from Maryland. We worked with an amazing team of Department of Education Teaching Ambassador Fellows and representatives from several DC-based education organizations, including NCTE and America Achieves, who offered inspiring ideas, expert advice, and constant praise. I have so much admiration and gratitude for their commitment to us.

The most powerful moment for me came on the last day when a fellow teacher stood and emotionally described  to Arne Duncan and a room full of empathetic educators the defeat so many of us encounter at some point in our careers. She went on to offer a testimonial to the commitment and the passion of teachers, principals, superintendents, and state and national education organizations dedicated to changing the profession, one idea at a time. She claimed she was leaving the Teach to Lead Summit with a renewed hope. Certainly, her message echoed throughout the summit: we are strongest when we are united.

It was inspiring to see so much passion and advocacy in one room. Teach to Lead offers real teachers a real voice and allows them the time and resources to develop ideas they can carry back to their communities. I will remember this experience always.