New Millennium Initiative
“So often, decisions about education are made far removed from the classroom, without input from the newest teachers. Our think tank allows teachers – early in their career – an avenue to effect change on a large scale in the education world.”
-Ben Jackson, high school English teacher, New Millennium Denver
To become change agents, teacher leaders must connect empirical evidence and teaching experience to a vision of student learning – and then engage colleagues, union leaders, administrators, and policymakers to advance new policies and practices.
In fall 2009, CTQ launched the New Millennium Initiative (NMI). Drawing on our virtual network experience, we will engage and develop a growing community of young teachers and connect them to researchers, reformers, administrators and union leaders. We will work with local and national partners to support teachers as they market their ideas to policymakers, fellow teachers, and other educational stakeholders, including members of their own communities. We will also help interested participants develop their knowledge, skills and relationships to become the next generation of teacher leaders.
We have initial funding over the next year to launch our work in Denver area schools, a statewide network in Illinois, the Bay area in California and the Seattle metro area in Washington. Current support for the work comes from the the Rose Community Foundation (Denver), the Joyce Foundation (Illinois) and the Stuart Foundation (California and Washington). We begin with a small, select group of young teachers leaders who have the interest and prowess to begin advancing teaching effectiveness reforms and the level of commitment necessary to expand their network over time. Working both virtually and face-to-face, these teacher cadres will systematically deepen their knowledge of the research evidence on teaching and learning and partner with administrators and union leaders to transform policies and practices in their communities. The New Millennium Initiative will start with a network of approximately 70 teachers and grow to 2000 in eight communities.
As the New Millennium Initiative grows in the future, we plan to:
- Target one to two communities where New Millennium teachers will lead deep-down efforts to advance teaching effectiveness reforms;
- Promote a variety of hybrid roles in these target communities so that New Millennium teachers have the time and administrative support to advocate for policy reforms on behalf of students;
- Work closely with local education funds (and other community-based organizations) as community anchors to mobilize New Millennium teachers and connect their ideas to administrators and colleagues as well as community leaders, parents, and families;
- Create and implement a strategic communications plan that promotes the “big ideas” of New Millennium teacher leaders in multimedia “TeacherSolutions toolkits” — which will include an interactive website, policy briefs, blogs, podcasts, and mini-documentaries that engage educators, policymakers, and the public with the work and progress of the teacher cadres; and
- Advance our efforts to help New Millennium teachers develop the skills and policy savvy to serve in a wide variety of leadership roles, including efforts to advance union efforts to focus more intently on teaching effectiveness and student learning reforms.
The teachers of the New Millennium offer a fresh vision for education reform, driven by their classroom knowledge and insights and their commitment to engage stakeholders to create a student-centered profession. Our initiative will equip emerging teacher leaders with the tools they need to be effective both in the classroom and as voices for change.