The PSC website has posted a proposed rule (http://www.gapsc.com/Rules/Proposed/edprep/20100915/505-3-.073.pdf) that would rescind the existing Teacher Leader Endorsement and replace it with a new rule regarding the Teacher Leader Endorsement Program. While the old rule provided that the endorsement should be offered to those holding level 5 or higher teaching or service certificates, the new rule would offer endorsement programs that prepare teacher leaders who hold certification as teachers, those in the service field of School Counselor, or in the leadership field of Educational Leadership. Do you see anything MISSING here??? The proposed rule, to become effective December 15, 2010, glaringly omits the media specialist service field as an option for the Teacher Leader Endorsement Program. Let’s take a look at the requirements for this leadership endorsement:
- Candidates who complete the program are teacher leaders who will facilitate the design and implementation of sustained, intensive, and job-embedded professional learning based on identified student and teacher needs. This includes, among other indicators, modeling lifelong learning, being reflective, engaging in professional development, advocating for the profession, staying current and knowledgeable of policy, trends and practices, working with others to build professional learning communities for collaborative work, and designing professional development. (Sounds like a school library media specialist.)
- Candidates who complete the program are teacher leaders who work with others to promote the development of a school culture that fosters excellence in teaching and learning and focuses on continuous improvement creating a sense of belonging and building a collaborative work environment. Indicators include building a collaborative culture, using a research-based change model for needed change, supporting a collaborative learning community that embraces a shared vision, considering ethical and legal implications of decisions made individually and collectively, and helping the school/district refine its vision based on emerging trends and initiatives. (The LMS focuses on collaboration, ethical decision-making, and trends and issues in schools consistently.)
- Candidates who complete the program are teacher leaders who demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of curriculum and apply this knowledge to the alignment of curriculum, instruction, and assessment to standards. This includes possessing a knowledge of the discipline and structure of the curriculum, understanding the sequence of grade levels and delivering meaningful professional learning and instructional strategies, engaging teachers in cooperative planning, demonstrating deep understanding of the curriculum and what students should know and understand in each instructional unit based on those standards, and identifying content specific resources for curriculum implementation. (Possessing a strong knowledge of the curriculum enables the LMS to assist with professional learning and selection of appropriate resources.)
- Candidates who complete the program are teacher leaders who model best practices in pedagogy and serve as a mentor and coach for other educators. Indicators include modeling and articulating exemplary instructional practices based on current research, assisting teachers in developing higher order questions, guiding teachers in in-depth understanding of lesson planning and delivery, integrating technology to support classroom instruction and student learning, guiding teachers in designing and selecting appropriate assessment instruments and strategies, and assisting teachers in identifying resources and providing appropriate support services for specific student needs. (A huge portion of the LMS time is spent supporting lesson plan development and assisting teachers with integration of technology into instruction.)
- Candidates who complete the program are teacher leaders who access and conduct research, and apply research findings to improve teaching and learning. This includes guiding colleagues to relevant research, conducting and engaging others in action research, following ethical procedures when conducting research, and remaining current on educational research, trends, and innovations. (“Ethical research” and “current trends and issues” are areas of the LMS’s expertise.)
- Candidates who complete the program are teacher leaders who demonstrate the ability to collaborate with all stakeholders to improve student learning and foster/influence change. Indicators include developing and sustaining trusting, productive, and supportive relationships with all stakeholders, promoting an atmosphere of collaboration through problem solving processes, promoting effective communication and collaboration with diverse groups of people, and identifying and utilizing resources to promote school and community relations. (The LMS is an advocate for the school with all stakeholders, always presenting ideas and resources for strong programs.)
These requirements and indicators ARE things media specialists do, and it is important that we retain the ability to acquire the Teacher Leader endorsement if we are to be recognized as leaders in our schools and school systems. Your comments on this issue can be posted at the PSC website by following the process listed here:
- All interested persons shall be afforded reasonable opportunity to submit data, views, or arguments orally or in writing. Anyone interested in making a written statement may do so by submitting it to the undersigned at Two Peachtree Street, Suite 6000, Atlanta, GA 30303. It is requested that such a statement be delivered on or before October 16, 2010. Opportunity for oral hearing shall be granted if requested by 25 persons who will be directly affected by the proposed rule, by a governmental subdivision, or by an association having not less than 25 members.
We strongly encourage you to take action on this so that we retain the right to receive this endorsement, and maintain our roles as leaders in our schools.
Phyllis R. Snipes
University of West Georgia