Educate Arkansas: 20 exceptional educators accepted to Teach Plus Arkansas program

As seen on KTHV, The Vine.

With influence across 16 states, Teach Plus is working to empower excellent, experienced and diverse teachers. THV The Vine welcomed Stacey McAdoo, director of Teach Plus Arkansas, and Holly Howard, English teacher, to talk about how their organization is helping empower the next generation of teachers.

All students should be able to achieve their potential and we need talented teachers for that. Tell me, how does Teach Plus makes that happen?

Stacey: As you mentioned, we must have talented teachers to have student success. We believe that we can't take care of students without first taking care of our teachers. When we invest in in the teacher’s professional development and equip them with the skills and resources to do their jobs effectively, we empower them to lead from the classroom. We also encourage them to be at the table when policymakers are having conversations that directly impact teaching, learning and advanced equity. When you all of those pieces come together, you not only improve student success, you improve the entire system.

And our community as well. Holly, you are a Teach Plus Arkansas Policy Fellow. What does that mean exactly?

Holly: It means it's one of the first times I've gotten to put my 16 years of experience into practice, where my voice is heard. I do get some opportunities to lead within my building, but to impact teaching as a profession, and to impact the learning that all students across the state get, this is the first time I feel like someone handed me a microphone - or a megaphone - and said, “Here, talk. What is this like?” I get to bring my experience with students, curriculum and the policies that we follow here in my district or at a state level, and I've been able to give feedback and to do research and see if there are more effective strategies and ways are to do the things that we do in the classroom. For example, my group works in recruitment and retention, and we work to come up with ideas for how to retain great teachers in the state of Arkansas. We know how quickly teachers are leaving, so we’re looking at what we can do in terms of compensation and professional development that will keep good teachers in the classroom.

And that is so important. Stacey, tell us more about the two programs Teach Plus offers.

Stacey: We currently have a Policy Fellowship, which is what Holly is a part of, and in this we have 20 excellent teachers from around the state who learn advocacy skills and how to elevate their voice and advocate for the things that they need in their classroom and for their students. We also have the Teach Plus Arkansas Network, which includes 20 teachers who are interested in being a part of impacting policy and being involved in the improvement of our educational system.

If you're an exceptional educator who would like the opportunity to change the educational landscape for students across Arkansas, be a part of Teach Plus Arkansas. Applications are now being accepted for the Arkansas Policy Fellowship. Learn more here.