Wake Ed has expanded its professional learning programs to beginning teachers thanks to a new collaboration with the Public School Forum of North Carolina.

Public School Forum of NC Beginning Teacher NetworkThe Beginning Teacher Leadership Network (BTLN) was started by the Public School Forum to develop the leadership skills of teachers early in their careers. By empowering teachers to effectively advocate for themselves, their profession, and their students from the start of their teaching journey, educators are more likely to stay in the profession longer.

Beginning Teachers (BTs), receive a lot of training and “onboarding” throughout their three year program through designated teacher mentors within their school buildings. The program is robust, and it is faithfully implemented in all Wake County Public School System schools. BTLN is an extension of that program. Its goal is to work with a wider lens and give BTs the ability to know how to navigate the education policy world outside their classrooms.

What’s unique about this program is its emphasis on being a teacher-led program. The participants choose their professional development topics with the guidance of a steering committee of teachers on the Leadership Council. The purpose is to empower teachers to lead in every facet and to teach them that they have a voice outside of their classrooms.

Based on the feedback from the teachers at the first session on Oct. 20, the program is already off to an enthusiastic start.

“To be frank, as a [first-year Beginning Teacher] who has a never ending to-do list, the last thing I wanted to do was leave school at 4:30 to go to a 2 hour meeting, but I’m really glad that I went!” wrote America Moreno Jimenez of Garner High School. “I left the meeting feeling surprisingly re-energized and looking forward to the next sessions. I’m excited to join this group that will continue preparing me to make a difference in and beyond my classroom.”

When the Public School Forum invited WakeEd to collaborate on the WCPSS cohort, WakeEd staff enthusiastically agreed to join forces. Pairing WakeEd’s strong professional development and local K-12 policy programs with the Forum’s effective statewide policy advocacy, it was a perfect match.

The program has signed up more than 70 teachers for this year-long cohort of teachers in the first three years of their careers. Each session will feature professional development on high-level best practices in the classroom, school building, or advocating with decision-makers and stakeholders.

The BTLN started at the Forum in 2015 as the Beginning Teachers Network, and the word Leadership was added this year to emphasize the program’s focus on teacher leadership.

WakeEd coordinated with the WCPSS Professional Learning Office and Human Resources to procure continuing education credits and an online course presence within the WCPSS Canvas courseware.

WakeEd is grateful for this opportunity to work with Public School Forum to develop the leadership skills of the beginning teachers in the Wake County Public School System.

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