8 Reasons You Should Apply for the Rodel Teacher Council

April 30th, 2015

Category: News, Policy and Practice, Student-Centered Learning


The deadline apply to the 2015-16 Rodel Teacher Council is May 8. If you are a Delaware teacher with at least three years of classroom experience and an interest in contributing to the education policy conversation in Delaware, submit an online application by May 8.

But don’t take it our word for it. Here are RTC members Melissa Tracy’s and Michele Johnson’s top eight reasons to apply for the Rodel Teacher Council.

1. Teachers Talk, Rodel Listens
Teachers may sometimes feel as if we have a limited voice in the policies that directly impact our classrooms and students. The Council investigates and proposes policies to improve Delaware schools.

2. Access and Advocacy
We meet with local policymakers such as legislators, the governor, the State Board of Education, DSEA leaders, PTA leaders, and Delaware Department of Education staff to advocate for our students and the teaching profession.

3. Develop Cross-District Conversations
Members represent a range of districts from all three counties, district and charter schools, all grade bands, and vo-tech and magnet schools. We teach subjects from pre-kindergarten to AP Chemistry. Every perspective is essential to the work of the Council.

4. Peer Learning
Learn from other teachers and share your expertise. We learned from other teachers on a visit to the NYC iZone. We shared our own practices through “classroom spotlights.” We hosted a Teacher Workshop on Personalized Learning with over 100 attendees.

5. Self-Directed Professional Development
Did you ever want to write your own personal PD plan? Become a local expert in a topic that is meaningful and relevant to you and your students? I (Melissa) engaged policymakers on my own policy project. I (Michele) and other RTC members joined working groups and committees to shape the future of Delaware education. Several of our RTC colleagues have written op-eds and blog posts for local and national audiences.

6. Learn from national experts
Have you ever wondered what other states or organizations are doing to address policy challenges in education? We met with Rick Hess, the author of The Cage-Busting Teacher. We met with Bryan Hassel of Public Impact, an organization known for innovative work in building “Opportunity Culture.” They spurred conversations about the future of learning.

7. Collaborate in a solution-oriented environment
We identify key policy issues and together develop an action plan and deliverables. We wrote and published the Blueprint for Personalized Learning in Delaware, one of the first examples of teachers developing policy recommendations for personalized learning. So far, the Blueprint has garnered over 3,500 page views from all over Delaware and the country, and as far away as Russia and Australia.

8. Your time, expertise, and leadership are valued
There is a lot to be said for the fact that as members of the RTC we receive a stipend. As teachers, we are frequently “honored” to be on a committee without compensation for our time and energy. It’s not about the money itself; rather it’s meaningful to be acknowledged as professionals earning compensation for our expertise and leadership.

Melissa Tracy is a National Board Certified social studies teacher at Conrad Schools of Science in Red Clay Consolidated School District. Michele Johnson is a National Board Certified library media specialist and teacher of gifted and talented students at Towne Point Elementary School in Capital School District. Melissa and Michele were members of the inaugural class of the Rodel Teacher Council.

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Rodel Foundation of Delaware




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