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Seattle TAC Recommendations 2011-12 Bar Below
Collaboration and Evaluation Structuresto Improve Teaching and Learning
Recommendations from the 2011-12 Seattle Teacher Advisory Council
How Do We Improve Teaching and Learning in Seattle?
That question was the one that opened the work of the Seattle Teacher Advisory Council (TAC) in fall2011. In September, leadership of the Seattle Public Schools (SPS) and Seattle Education Association(SEA) jointly convened the TAC to explore this open-ended charge. It may go without saying, but groupslike ours are rare in the education world, and in Seattle especially. Typically, conversations betweendistrict and union leadership happen primarily at the bargaining table, where there is little room for opendialogue that helps each party better understand the other’s perspectives and priorities. What’s more,unless they’re on the bargaining team for their local union, most teachers don’t have the opportunity toenter into direct dialogue of any kind with these leaders.Our district and union decided they wanted something different. Seattle schools are going through majorchange now, particularly in the way that teachers and principals are evaluated. The Seattle TAC wascreated to be a safe space in which classroom experts could explore ideas that
thought would have themost impact district wide. Freed from the politics of elections and contracts, we have been able to explorethe
that matter most to teaching and learning. We met over eight months as a diverse group of 21teachers, teacher librarians and coaches from every school level, serving every type of student populationin every region of SPS. We have radically different personal backgrounds, ideologies, and analyses of whatthe “real problem” in education is. But we all share pride in our work as professionals, commitment to ourstudents, and willingness to set aside our preferred silver bullets to enter into conversation about whatmight really work, practically and sustainably.
Here’s where we agree: reforms are just another set of passing changes unless we find ways to transform the
cu l t u r e
of teaching and learning in our schools.
Our conversations haverevolved around three key issues:
Ensuring that implementation of our new ProfessionalGrowth & Evaluation (PG&E) system represents a real shiftfrom focusing on compliance with human resources policiesto focusing on improving the practice of
Building trust throughout the district to enable learning andgrowth to thrive among teachers, other staff, and ultimately students and the wider community that supports our schools;and
Rethinking the way that teachers spend their time, to meet both these needs.This report captures our deliberations, and our solutions, from thepast year. We offer these to SPS, SEA, and the Seattle community as starting points for conversations that we look forward to having in 2012-13 and beyond.
The 2011-12 TAC members meet in April 2012 with facilitators from the CTQ staff and membersof the district administration