New Teacher Leader Model Standards Released

May 05, 2011, 10:00 ET from Learning Forward

National Consortium Focuses on Creating Stronger Career Pathway for Teachers

DALLAS, May 5, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Teacher Leadership Exploratory Consortium today released the Teacher Leader Model Standards — created to stimulate dialogue among stakeholders of the teaching profession about what constitutes the knowledge, skills and competencies that teachers need to assume teacher leadership roles in their schools, districts and the profession.

The Consortium was formed over two years ago to explore opportunities to provide meaningful positions for teacher leaders in the nation's schools. The Consortium is particularly focused on teachers who seek leadership roles, but do not want to leave the classroom.

The diverse group of 10 national organizations, eight institutions of higher education, 10 practitioners, and 11 state education agencies, examined research, conducted surveys, debated and shared experiences to produce a set of standards modeled on the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) State Standards for School Leaders.

The standards consist of seven domains describing the various attributes of teacher leadership:

  • Domain I: Fostering a collaborative culture to support educator development and student learning
  • Domain II: Accessing and using research to improve practice and student learning
  • Domain III: Promoting professional learning for continuous improvement
  • Domain IV: Facilitating improvements in instruction and student learning
  • Domain V: Promoting the use of assessments and data for school and district improvement
  • Domain VI: Improving outreach and collaboration with families and community
  • Domain VII:  Advocating for student learning and the profession

"We started down this pathway out of a concern about retention," Katherine Bassett, Director, ETS Educator Relations Group explained. "Good teachers are leaving the profession at an alarming rate and new teachers are leaving within five years. Many teachers, particularly high-performing educators, believe that they are lacking a voice in decision-making and room for career advancement unless they leave the classroom for administration."  ETS funded the consortium meetings.

"These standards will guide the development of future teacher leaders and provide current teacher leaders with a benchmark for assessing their leadership expertise. The standards provide a framework for the professional development teacher leaders need to be effective in their roles and to prepare them to facilitate professional learning among their colleagues," says Stephanie Hirsh, Executive Director of Learning Forward.

The Consortium examined research on teacher leadership which indicated that teacher leaders have found fulfillment in terms of leadership roles.

"Teachers have the skills and knowledge that are critical to school improvement efforts, and we should be encouraging them to take on leadership roles so they can have greater influence on key decisions that impact teaching and learning," said National Education Association (NEA) President Dennis Van Roekel. "Talented individuals who are given opportunities to expand their influence are more likely to enter and remain in the profession. These new Teacher Leader Model Standards serve to reinforce teaching as a profession where the best and brightest can have long and fulfilling careers in education." 

Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers said, "We applaud the Consortium for identifying the knowledge, skills and competencies teachers need to assume leadership roles in their schools and our profession. This is very important work because it demonstrates how schools can succeed by enabling teachers to lead in various ways while still serving their students, rather than limiting them to roles that are simply administrative."

The effort cultivates a largely untapped resource for change and improvement in schools. The intent is to keep good teachers in the classroom, provide support for beginning teachers, provide principals with much-needed assistance, and share accountability for student achievement.

Teacher leaders understand the principles of adult learning and know how to develop a collaborative culture of collective responsibility in the school. They use this knowledge to promote an environment of collegiality, trust, and respect that focuses on continuous improvement in instruction and student learning.

For the complete list of the Teacher Leader Model Standards and the Teacher Leadership Exploratory Consortium members, visit The full website, being built by the Center for Teaching Quality, will launch in September with many resources for educators, including webinars, blogs, and text and video examples that will bring the standards to life. The website partners are University of Phoenix, Education Commission of the States (ECS), Education Testing Service (ETS), and National Education Association (NEA).

The standards are already being used for curriculum for higher education coursework, establishing roles in schools, drafting legislation and state-specific standards, and for professional development for both teachers and school leaders.

SOURCE Learning Forward