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A shift in strategy: CTQ rings in the new year with roundtable discussions

Since 2003, teachers (and now growing numbers of principals) have connected and shared their thought leadership in the evolving CTQ Collaboratory (initially our Teacher Leaders Network). For well over a decade we have cultivated individual teachers as thought leaders, helped practitioners incubate ideas and solutions on a range of problems of practice, and supported scaling their impact at the local and systems level. Our work has been decidedly grass-roots as the system of public education was not quite ready for our bold brand of leadership from the classroom.

We know the impact that one teacher leader can have in their school and on the system as a whole. And we believe unleashing the collective capacity of educators (teachers and administrators) is the key to creating an equitable public school system that serves all students and their communities. In 2017, we anticipate more philanthropies as well as state agencies, school districts, and other non-profits (and even a few for-profits) will turn to building the capacity of teachers and administrators to lead next generation school reforms.

To amplify this belief, the Center for Teaching Quality is shifting its blogging strategy.

By transitioning from a community of individual bloggers to a roundtable discussion approach, we will engage a range of thought leaders in the education community to problem-solve public education issues through focusing deeply on a topic or theme over a two-month time period. Unlike one-off blog posts, roundtables offer thought leaders the opportunity to examine the most interesting questions, issues, and work in the field from multiple angles as a collective. By focusing on one topic or theme at a time, writers are able to deeply examine the implications and nuances of an issue, and build upon each other’s thinking publicly. This strategy also allows bloggers to flexibly and creatively bring their experiences and voice to a subject while simultaneously amplifying the bigger picture work happening both within CTQ and in the broader field of public education.

In practice, this strategy will support the public education community by:

  • Examining a topic or theme from multiple angles and lenses of experience and contexts, including historically underrepresented voices from the field

  • Providing multiple entry points for engagement (blogging, commenting, social media sharing, Twitter chats, asynchronous dialogue, etc.)

  • Amplifying ideas, messaging and educator expertise on social media through streamlining and discussing common themes and topics

  • Distributing thought leadership throughout the organization, beginning by charging the committee of roundtable leads, a group of seven practicing teacher leaders, with ownership and organization of the work for each roundtable

  • Providing possible partnership opportunities with relevant organizations, projects, conferences, and research in the field

We hope you will engage in each roundtable conversation with us, by contributing a blog post, commenting on others’ posts throughout each discussion, and sharing the work via social media channels using #CTQCollab. We will kick off the year with a roundtable focused on how the teacher-powered schools movement is transforming student learning and public education in January and February.

In the next post, we’ll introduce you to the 2017 community of roundtable leads, a group of boundary-spanning and highly networked educators and thought leaders, who will share their time, talent, and expertise with the CTQ community throughout the year.



Renee Moore commented on December 29, 2016 at 12:21pm:

Where is the LIKE button?

Looking forward to this shift and to in-depth, thoughtful discussions on these important issues facing us. Much as I love to use Twitter, chats and tweets are no substitute for thorough conversation and hard thinking. Thanks to CTQ for listening to teachers and giving us a place to have these necessary conversations.

Marcia Powell commented on January 2, 2017 at 12:47pm:

Meets my #2017 challenge: #unify

I am so glad to hear this, Barnett, as this is one of the best experiences I had last summer around social justice (thanks, JoZI).  Whenever people get together and unify around a topic, the voice is magnified.  Cannot wait to get started on such a great approach again.  

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Sherrill Knezel commented on January 3, 2017 at 9:33pm:

Great idea!

Barnett,  I second Marcia's sentiments.  I think this shift will be more welcoming to a greater range of educators who might want to contribute to the rich conversations here but may not be ready to write a full blog post. I know that I've been so inspired by the colleagues I met at the Storytelling Retreat and our shared conversations then and since have been supportive and growth-minded!


Brian Curtin commented on January 4, 2017 at 3:01pm:


Loved being a part of the Collaboratory, and really looking forward to contributing to this collaborative conversation!  So much to learn, so many ways to grow as an educator, and this unique roundtable format will offer an invaluable way to grow as an educator and advance our profession.  There's a lot at stake in the upcoming years, so conversations around equity and leadership have never been more important than now.  Hats off to Barnett and CTQ for the vision and leadership education needs!

Carl Draeger commented on January 4, 2017 at 10:09pm:

The one doing the talking...

... is the one doing the learning. Just like in our classrooms, the conversation drives the learning. I am SO looking forward to this learning opportunity...especially the #TeacherPowered one. Thanks for being ahead of the curve. Again.

Doyle Nicholson commented on January 6, 2017 at 1:00pm:

Always adapting

As always, CTQ continues to look for ways to adapt to the needs and desires of educators. I look forward to the new approach and appreciate Barnett's of utilizing the collective capacity of all educators. I am proud to have been a part of CTQ for so many years and the growth I have seen on myself through my work with you.

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