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Discussion: Lead Teachers and Teacher Leadership

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posted by: Ethan Allen on November 5, 1998 at 4:18PM
subject: my 2 cents
In our elementary LSC here in Seattle, we have 6 designated Resource
Teachers, each specializing in a grade level (K-5). These RT's were chosen
from exemplary classroom teachers and have participated in extensive
professional development during the past several years; e.g., all have taken
a cognitive coaching class and have participated in a year-long Phyuics By
Inquiry course. The RT's are freed from classroom teaching and serve
full-time as porfessional developers for their colleagues. They provide
both on-site (i.e., classroom-based) assistance and co-teach summer
institutes and classes with scientists from the UW and other organizations.
This teaching is centered around helping teachers discover and understand
the underlying scientific principles of the kit-based science curriculum
units that the district adopted. Three years into the LSC experience, this
RT model has proven quite effective. It is, of course, higly dependent on
the individual selected to fill the RT roles, and on providing those
individuals with high qulaity, ongoing professional development.

Our middle school LSC, just underway, will use the same basic RT model.
Instead of grade level specialization, however, each RT will work with 4-6
schools' science departments. Even more than in the elementary LSC (hey, we
can learn from our past mistakes!) the RT candidates will participate in
extensive prof. devel. *before* the start of the project. In this case
they'll learn and help out in the pilot project. Another difference is that,
while in the elementary LSC each school is actively involved for 2 years, in
the middle school LSC all schools will be engaged (albeit at a lower level
of intensity) for the full five years of the project. This will make the
relatisnships of the RT's and the classroom teachers of even larger
importance. Middle school RT's will each team with some life, pysical, and
earth/space scientists (gain from UW et al.) as a scientific resource team
for the schools.

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