Partners in Action – The Spokane Future Teachers of Color Consortium

By Maria Esther Zamora, English Language Development teacher at Spokane Virtual Academy
Guest Blogger

 

How can we reduce the disparity between the number of students of color in our community versus the educators of color across the K-12 and higher education systems? This has been the question that I have posted to colleagues, administrators, and community leaders when having courageous conversations.

I have been a proud educator of color in Spokane for 26 years. I am a first-generation immigrant from Mexico, who has worked in various educational systems, from being a professor at Graduate School and University level to now being in the K-12 public education system. I had to reinvent myself when I moved to this area, learn English, and go back to graduate school to get my Teaching Certification credential while raising my family and working full time. It was a difficult endeavor, but not as challenging as to survive in a predominantly white professional field. I have persevered through all kinds of barriers to achieve my most important professional goal, which has been to inspire my students to believe in the power of education to achieve freedom.

I have always felt that there is no better way to transcend than to teach what you know, which is how to maintain your cultural values and contribute to building a multicultural community that embraces minorities in this noble professional field. As a mother of bicultural children and an advocate for immigrants and refuge students and families, I have believed that it is imperative to have more role models and educators that look like us. Furthermore, I have seen the greatness that comes from demonstrating our excellent standards and work ethics to collaborate hand in hand to educate our community. Read More

Recap: Washington state Teachers of the Year on Reimagining Education after COVID

By Lizzeth Mancilla
Engagement and Policy Intern

 

As we enter the final quarter of this historic and challenging school year, students, families, and educators across Washington are navigating remote, hybrid, and modified in-person learning environments. But what should education look like when all schools reopen?

In this webinar, Washington state Teachers of the Year Brooke Brown (2021), Amy Campbell (2020), Robert Hand (2019), Mandy Manning (2018, and the 2018 National Teacher of the Year), Camille Jones (2017), Nate Bowling (2016), and Lyon Terry (2015) shared what they are hearing from students, families, and colleagues in their community on how the 2020-21 school year is going, how they recommend reimagining education based on what they have learned from teaching during the COVID pandemic, and answered your questions.
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Podcast – The Educators of Color Leadership Community

From Top Left: Brooke Brown, Stephanie Gallardo, Tamasha Emedi, Denise Daniels, Brad Brown, Eileen Yoshina

In our Putting Students First podcast, we interview policymakers, partners, and thought leaders to spotlight education policies, research, and practices so that together we can create a brighter future for every Washington student.

In this episode, League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman hosts a panel discussion about the Puget Sound Educational Service District’s successful Educators of Color Leadership Community (ECLC), in which panelists address why educator diversity is so important, what the barriers are to recruitment and retention of teachers of color, how the Educators of Color Leadership Community supports teachers of color, and how we can scale the ECLC’s work to support teachers of color across Washington state.

We were honored to interview:

Brooke Brown, 2021 Washington state Teacher of the Year and Regional Teacher of the Year from Puget Sound Educational Service District 121, who teaches English and Ethnic Studies at Washington High School in the Franklin Pierce School District

Stephanie Gallardo, who teaches social studies at Foster High School in the Tukwila School District

Tamasha Emedi, Assistant Principal at Hazel Valley Elementary School in Highline Public Schools

Denise Daniels, Director of Recruitment, Retention and Workforce Development in the Auburn School District and President of the Kent School District Board of Directors

Brad Brown, Executive Director of Kindergarten through Post-Secondary at the Puget Sound Educational Service District

Eileen Yoshina, Director of Equity in Education at the Puget Sound Educational Service District, who facilitates the Educators of Color Leadership Community

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Recap: Advancing Educator Diversity in Washington state

By Lizzeth Mancilla
Engagement and Policy Intern

 

In this webinar co-presented with the College Spark Foundation, we have assembled a statewide panel including student activist Charlie Fisher of the Washington state Legislative Youth Advisory Council, founder of Unite Ridgefield, and advocate for legislation to diversify school curriculum, Alexandra Manuel, Executive Director of the Washington State Professional Education Standards Board, Dr. Mia Tuan, Dean of the University of Washington College of Education, Dr. Margarita Magana, Director of Outreach & Recruitment of the Heritage University Education Department, Dr. Goldy Brown III, Director of the Principal Certification Program at Whitworth University, and Dr. Gisela Ernst-Slavit, Professor of English Language Learners at Washington State University Vancouver Campus College of Education. Panelists discuss how educator and principal prep programs work to undo the injustices that have led to the current disparities between the diversity of students and educators, what more is needed, and how we can work together to support and sustain a diverse education workforce in Washington state. They also answered your questions.

There’s a significant disparity between the diversity of Washington students and educators. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) youth make up nearly half of our student population, while more than 90% of our teachers and education leaders are white. Studies show that BIPOC students who are exposed to teachers who reflect their race and ethnicity have higher graduation rates, and when more of the adults in schools reflect the communities they serve, deeper, more authentic school/community partnerships become well-positioned to transform schools in ways that dismantle racism and benefit from the wisdom and vision of families. In this moment of racial reckoning for our country, it is more important than ever to grow, sustain, and advance the priorities of BIPOC educators.

Dr. Warren Brown from the College Spark Foundation emphasized that advancing educator diversity in Washington state isn’t a new effort, rather a renewed one. It will lead to better student outcomes, close opportunity gaps, and prepare students to succeed in an increasingly diverse society. With much work needed ahead, “it takes change… community… and collaboration,” he stated. 

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Podcast – The 2021 Washington state Teachers of the Year

From Top Left: Brooke Brown, Ben Ballew, Megan Anderson Reilly, Devin Bauer, Chenoa Meagher, David Buitenveld, Erin Lark, Jackie Hentges, David Tracewell

In our podcast, we interview policymakers, partners, and thought leaders to spotlight education policies, research, and practices so that together we can create a brighter future for every Washington student.

In this episode, League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman asks the 2021 Washington state Teachers of the Year about their teaching philosophy, their greatest accomplishment in the classroom, how they would make teaching better in Washington state, what advice they would give a new teacher, what motivation they still carry with them from their first day in the classroom, how the COVID pandemic has impacted their work, what school districts can do to better support teachers, and what advice they would give to parents and educators during this time. We were honored to interview:

Brooke Brown, 2021 Washington state Teacher of the Year and Regional Teacher of the Year from Puget Sound Educational Service District 121, who teaches English and Ethnic Studies at Washington High School in the Franklin Pierce School District

Ben Ballew, 2021 Regional Teacher of the Year from Northwest Educational Service District 189, who teaches English at Arlington High School in the Arlington School District

Megan Anderson Reilly, 2021 Regional Teacher of the Year from Educational Service District 105, who teaches Spanish at AC Davis High School in the Yakima School District

Devin Bauer, 2021 Regional Teacher of the Year from Northeast Educational Service District 101, who is a Special Education Department Head and Learning Center teacher at Lakeside High School in the Nine Mile Falls School District

Chenoa Meagher, 2021 Regional Teacher of the Year from Educational Service District 123, who teaches kindergarten at Sagecrest Elementary School in the Kennewick School District

David Buitenveld, 2021 Regional Teacher of the Year from Capital Region Educational Service District 113, who teaches mathematics and is a remote learning coach at Nisqually Middle School in the North Thurston School District

Erin Lark, 2021 Regional teacher of the Year from Educational Service District 112, who science and STEM at iTech Preparatory School in the Vancouver School District

Jackie Hentges, 2021 Regional teacher of the Year from North Central Educational Service District 171, who teaches science at Brewster Middle School in the Brewster School District

David Tracewell, 2021 Regional Teacher of the Year from Olympic Region Educational Service District 114, who teaches English and Media Communications at Klahowya Secondary School in the Central Kitsap School District

 

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Podcast – The 2020 Washington state Teachers of the Year

In our podcast, we interview policymakers, partners, and thought leaders to spotlight education policies, research, and practices so that together we can create a brighter future for every Washington student.

In this episode, League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman asks the 2020 Washington state Teachers of the Year about their teaching philosophy, their greatest accomplishment in the classroom, how they would make teaching better in Washington state, what advice they would give a new teacher, and what motivation they still carry with them from their first day in the classroom. We were honored to interview:

Amy Campbell, 2020 Washington state Teacher of the Year and Educational Service District 112 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Camas School District

Analisa McCann, 2020 Northeast Educational Service District 101 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Central Valley School District

Lisa Summers, 2020 Capital Region Educational Service District 113 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Tumwater School District

Kathryn Lebuis Hartman, 2020 Olympic Region Educational Service District 114 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Port Angeles School District

Reid Sundblad, 2020 Puget Sound Educational Service District 121 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Highline School District

Rebecca Estock, 2020 Educational Service District 123 Regional Teacher of the Year from the North Franklin School District

Malia Renner-Singer, 2020 North Central Educational Service District 171 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Cascade School District

 

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Podcast – The 2019 Washington Teachers of the Year

2019 Washington state Teacher of the Year Robert Hand - League of Education Voters
Robert Hand, 2019 Washington state Teacher of the Year

In our podcast, we interview policymakers, partners, and thought leaders to spotlight education policies, research, and practices so that together we can create a brighter future for every Washington student.

In this episode, League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman asks the 2019 Teachers of the Year about their teaching philosophy, their greatest accomplishment in the classroom, how they would make teaching better in Washington state, what advice they would give a new teacher, what motivation they still carry with them from their first day in the classroom, and what they would ask the Washington state Legislature to prioritize in the upcoming 2019 session. LEV was honored to interview:

Robert Hand, 2019 Washington state Teacher of the Year and Northwest ESD 189 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Mount Vernon School District

Tracy Castro-Gill, 2019 Puget Sound ESD 121 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Seattle School District

Ryan Healy, 2019 Capital Region ESD 113 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Yelm School District

Kristine Mars, 2019 ESD 123 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Kennewick School District

Mathew Brown, 2019 North Central ESD 171 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Manson School District

Susan Douglas, 2019 Northeast ESD 101 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Almira School District

Karen Doran, 2019 Olympic ESD 114 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Port Angeles School District

Kimberly Miller, 2019 ESD 112 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Woodland School District

Michael Clinton, 2019 ESD 105 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Mt. Adams School District

 

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Tukwila GLAD Trains Teachers on English Language Learning

English Language Learners are engaged in an innovative way using methods developed by Project GLAD

Tukwila StudentThe Tukwila School District, one of the most diverse in the country, is in its third year of training elementary school teachers to engage English Language Learner (ELL) students in an innovative way. Project GLAD (Guided Language Acquisition Design) was field tested for nine years by the United States Department of Education and has been deployed across the country for more than 20. It is a professional development model in the area of academic language acquisition and literacy, designed to specifically target and promote language skills, academic achievement, and cross-cultural skills with groundbreaking efficiency.

At Tukwila Elementary School, trainer Jennica Kantak taught 20 fourth-grade students with support from Vice Principal Carla Carrizosa in front of an audience of about 20 elementary teachers from across the district. So far, 72 of Tukwila’s 90 elementary school teachers have taken part in GLAD trainings, which are funded by the state’s Transitional Bilingual Instructional Program (TBIP) and federal Title III money.

GLAD student Tukwila GLAD training

In this particular English Language Arts summer school remedial class, Jennica stressed to her students, whom she addressed as scholars, the importance of 21st-century collaboration skills. The morning began with the mantra of “Show respect, make good decisions, and solve problems.” On a colorful chart, she listed how cooperation looks, highlighting actions such as using a positive tone of voice, keeping voices off, focusing on the speaker, sharing resources, and being brave, patient, kind, flexible and organized.

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Back to School: Teacher Resources

Back to school time is almost here!

As temperatures rise in Washington and August begins, it’s one month until students will be back at their desks ready to learn. Teachers are preparing for the upcoming academic year, and we want to highlight some of our favorite teacher resources that can enhance their classrooms and (hopefully) make their lives easier.

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Ask a Teacher on the WA Teacher Advisory Council

2015 Washington state Teacher of the Year Lyon Terry - League of Education VotersBy Lyon Terry, 2015 Teacher of the Year
Guest Blogger

As the 2015 Washington state Teacher of the Year, I am often called to be a speaker, panelist, story-teller, spokesperson and more. But I am far from the only teacher who understands what works in education. To improve our schools, we must involve the people doing the work—the teachers.

I remember speaking in front of six hundred education advocates in a windowless room at the Seatac DoubleTree. The people there wanted to support kids and improve education, and I was glad to be called. But I was the only teacher in the room. How was this audience going to make change to schools without talking to the people who teach the kids?

Education is at a crossroads in our state right now. We must ask teachers for solutions. Teachers should be in every education conversation. Yet, we are often not consulted.

Washington state must increase funding for education by billions over the next two years to satisfy the McCleary Decision. What is needed? Why is it needed? Ask teachers. They will tell you.

Sure, we must increase salaries, particularly for beginning teachers, but teachers are not in the profession for the money. Teachers know there are many other needs. The following teachers are all award-winning educators in the WA Teacher Advisory Council Network. You can search for any education issue there and even use it to gain access to classrooms. We want you to see what is needed. Here are some of the issues that match our teachers’ expertise:

Michael Werner in Granite Falls or Spencer Martin in Sunnyside can tell about the funding needed for their amazing Career and Technical Education Programs.

Ask Katie Brown in Bellingham, Alisa Louie in Kent, or Jose Corona in Yakima about the needs of students who are learning English for the first time.

Have questions about special education? Ask Elizabeth Loftus in Oak Harbor or Theodore Mack in Moses Lake.

Do you want to know solutions for funding our massive teacher shortage? Ask Bethany Rivard in Vancouver, Dave Gammon in Spokane, or Nathan Bowling in Tacoma.

What about the importance of social and emotional learning? Ask Theresa Holland-Schmid on the Kitsap Peninsula or Lynne Olmos in Mossyrock. They can also bend your ear about the importance of arts integration.

Teachers Kendra Yamamoto in Vancouver and Tim Larson in Odessa can articulate the incredible importance of early learning.

Many teachers know what is needed to support science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM).  Ask Barney Peterson in Everett, Jeff Wehr in Odessa, Jeff Charboneau in Zillah, John Gallagher in Port Angeles, or Camille Jones in Quincy if you are interested.

How can we improve parent engagement? Ask Kimberly Witte in Bremerton or Brian Sites in Richland.

Do you care about dual credit, advanced placement, and access for all? Ask Nathan Bowling in Tacoma or Shari Conditt in Woodland.

I could go on and on. I love knowing these teachers. They are all Teachers of the Year, recognized by their districts, ESDs, and the state as experts in the field; they know what our students and schools need to be successful, to thrive. They are members of the WA Teacher Advisory Council with the mission to inform education decisions and influence policy, promoting equity and excellence for all.

Let them rise to their mission. If you have an education question, then please, talk to an accomplished educator. And listen. #askateacher

 

Lyon Terry teaches 4th grade at Lawton Elementary School in the Seattle Public Schools. He is a National Board Certified teacher with 20 years of experience. Every day he plays guitar and sings with his students. You can find him on Twitter @lyonterry or email: wastoy15@outlook.com.