By Susan Carter Morgan

Nancy Flanagan will soon have U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s ear. Nancy, who will be leading a PLP Global Cohort next fall, has been invited to share her views with Duncan this Tuesday.

A group of educators, including Nancy, has been engaged in discussion on Facebook’s Teachers’ Letters to Obama. The Facebook project has enabled them to offer insights from the classroom teacher’s perspective. And he is listening.

“We did enough media sharing (blogging, etc) to get the US Dept of Ed to notice us and offer a call with Duncan,” she said. “Our thrust is ‘we have better solutions than yours.’ ”

Their initial request was for an Elluminate webinar, but that was turned down in favor of the phone discussion. Still, she said, “Our number one goal is getting them to open channels of communication. ”

Nancy, a retired teacher, also spent two years as a Teacher in Residence with the National Board. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and was on the national team that developed NBCT’s music certificate. As a leader for PLP’s Global Cohort for NBCT teachers, she will work to have people see NBCT as “more than an award.” The tools, standards, and lenses of the program, she said, can be used by all educators.

“I see PLP as a way for isolated teachers in Montana as well as teachers who can’t do face to face meetings to get a sense of the idea of using clear, standards-based evidence to improve practice, ” she said.

Although she won’t be necessarily talking about PLP with Duncan, she does see the two connected. The open networking PLP embraces is also the way her group gets policy-makers’ attention. Brave new policy-making world, she calls it.

“Teachers tend to be ignored, except in their own little communities. This opens up the door for smart, skilled teachers to share what they know from experience,” Nancy said.

The cohort she will lead will give teachers a chance to do a “deep dive into standards for professional teaching and to learn how to evaluate effective teaching,” she said.  Open to administrators and teachers, all are encouraged to join and learn how the tools and materials can be used for job-embedded professional development.

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Susan Carter Morgan

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