The Arkansas Leadership Academy’s (ALA) Teacher Leader Program is for those individuals who are currently serving as classroom teachers in Arkansas public schools and are either currently in or aspire to take on leadership roles, where they can lead while remaining in the classroom. (Please note, this program is not designed for those individuals who anticipate leaving the classroom to become administrators in the next few years.)
Purpose and Design
Teacher leadership – defined as “the set of skills demonstrated by teachers who continue to teach students but also have an influence that extends beyond their own classrooms to others within their own school and elsewhere” (Danielson, 2006, p.1) – has been touted as key to retaining excellent teachers, improving the access of high-need students to excellent educators, improving school and student outcomes, and enhancing the professionalization of teaching (Coggins & McGovern, 2014; Cosenza, 2015).
The ALA’s Teacher Leader Program (TLP) will prepare participants for formal and informal teacher leadership roles in their schools, districts, regions, state, and nation that allow them to lead from the classroom.
The TLP will provide 6 days of face-to-face professional learning with assignments to be completed between sessions. These assignments are designed to be job- or role-embedded and will be used by those participants who choose to submit a final portfolio for Lead Professional designation.
Content and Focus
The TLP is organized around seven themes aligned with the Arkansas Teacher Leader Model Standards for Lead Designation:
Core learning focuses on three evidence-based areas of study: (1) Collaborative Leadership, (2) Collective Efficacy, and (3) Cultural Competence, each with emphasis on (a) data-driven decision-making, (b) effective instructional practices, and (c) social-emotional learning.
Lead Professional Designation
The ALA’s TLP has been approved by the Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) as a pathway to Lead Teacher Designation for those participants who choose to pursue this Career Continuum licensure option. Those participants who successfully complete the TLP, have at least three years of experience, have reached the performance level of an Effective Teacher on their most recent summative evaluation in TESS (Teacher Excellence and Support System, 2017, Arkansas Act 295), and can demonstrate proficiency of the Teacher Leader Model Standards through a portfolio assessment, can seek the designation of Lead Professional Educator on their teaching license through the Arkansas Career Continuum offered by DESE.