Providence Public Schools Teachers Participate in Teach to Lead Conference

A group of five consulting teachers from the Providence Public School Department’s Teacher Retention and Induction Network (TRAIN) participated in the Teach to Lead Conference in Boston as part of an initiative announced last year by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

In March 2014, Secretary Duncan made a major commitment to elevating the teaching profession by announcing the launch of Teach to Lead, a new initiative to advance student outcomes by expanding opportunities for teacher leadership in partnership with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

The conference was held from February 6-8, 2015, and was the final of three regional Teacher Leadership Summits designed to help spotlight and advance the groundbreaking teacher-led work that is underway in states, districts and schools across the country. Teachers were given the tools to develop promising ideas into real working models they can implement back at their districts as well as an opportunity to expand teacher leadership and share resources to improve education.

Previous conferences were held in Louisville, Kentucky and in Denver, Colorado.

More than 120 organizations applied to attend the conference and only 31 were accepted. This is the first time that the Providence Public School District was successful in sending a team. The five consulting teachers are Christine Brierly, Melissa Palumbo, Kimbery Yeaw, Ana Montalban and Peter Bellisle.

“We spent an amazing weekend at the Teach to Lead Conference,” said Nkoli Onye, executive director of performance management in PPSD’s Office of Human Capital. “We are honored to have been able to represent Providence. During our stay, we were able to collaborate and plan with instructional leaders from around the world. We were given the opportunity to focus and develop our plan, which is designed to provide even more supports to new and beginning teachers that we know can lead to dramatic improvements in PPSD. We are truly excited about the possibilities!”

The Teacher Retention and Induction Network (TRAIN), in which Providence’s consulting teachers serve, currently offers two types of services: teacher induction and peer assistance. Consulting teachers serve as coaches to new, beginning and experienced K-12 teachers who participate in the Teacher Induction Program (TIP) as well as those in Peer Assistance and Review (PAR). Consulting teachers have varied backgrounds and expertise in K-12 education, including English as a Second Language and Special Education. They receive intensive educator evaluator training from the Rhode Island Innovation Consortium and Teachscape as well as three years of coaching training from the New Teacher Center, funded by the Rhode Island Department of Education.

All 16 consulting teachers worked collaboratively on the development of the Teach to Lead submission, however, only five were permitted to attend per team guidelines. The remaining consulting teachers who were not in attendance are: Plinio German, Melissa Cimini, Andrew Benn, Susan Dillon, Erin Werchadlo, Jen Johnson, Laura Almagno, Sharon Nightingale, Lenora Goodwin, Anna Kupperman, Kathleen Mariano-Fleenor and Lillian Turnipseed (retired).