It all started with a text....
I really did not fully understand what the Michigan Educator's Voice Fellowship was all about but I sure am glad I followed through and applied! After a mishap with giving my work phone instead of my home phone for an evening interview, things worked out and they selected me as one of the 50 Michigan educators to join the Fellowship. Backed by America Achieves the non-profit based in New York, these groups believe that teachers need to have our voices elevated to share our stories of the awesome things we are doing in our classrooms. After being accepted into the Fellowship we were invited to the 2014 Launch Convening on November 22-23rd. What an incredible opportunity for top notch Professional Development and connecting with top educators from around the state.
During this convening we picked two areas where we could elevate our voices. Public Speaking, Social Media, Parent Engagement or Writing Opportunities were the areas to pick from. I picked Social Media with Facebook, Voxer and Twitter. I also am planning on holding a Parent Technology Night later in the year. After returning to our districts we were given a press release template. The following was published on MLive.
I worked on getting a Voxer group set up for Fellows to talk with each other and was able to get a mini grant for $30 so I could become a Pro-Voxer user and can add up to 500 people. This is way more than needed but how cool! I also helped co-moderate a Thinking Maps twitter chat on special populations in the classroom and hope to do one eventually on Common Core State Standards. I am in the process of setting up an interview for West Michigan Woman eNews where they are planning on doing a profile on me for Teacher Appreciation Week in May.
One of the great things that MiEdVoice does is keep us aware of opportunities that are out there for us to raise our voice. In December's newsletter, I saw that Arne Duncan and the US Department of Education created an initiative called Teach To Lead. If a proposal of a Fellow was accepted, the MiEdVoice Fellowship would cover travel expenses to any Summit. The deadline was January 1st and I submitted an idea on Higher Level Thinking Skills by using the iPad with 6 hours to spare.
Here is the idea I submitted~
After having the internet site get messed up and take me off of the Boston Summit campaign, lots of emailing back and forth to try to fix the mix up and support from the Fellowship, I am thrilled that my idea was accepted and I was invited to the Boston Summit! I will be flying out this Thursday and will document my experience~ See Next Page
Spring Fellows Training~ April 25th, 2015
I can't believe that the school year is almost over and it was time for a Spring Training. This is a very busy time for educators so many fellows could not make it, but for those of us who could make it we had a very worthwhile day of training and collaborating. We met at The James B. Henry Center for Executive Development on Michigan State University grounds. We started the day with breakfast snacks, coffee and a welcome by Donna Rummel the Mi Ed Voice Fellowship Manager. We heard all the incredible things that our Fellowship has accomplished this far~ I cannot remember the specifics but we have already met and exceeded the grant goals.
We listened and responded to the Policy Panel moderated by Sarah Giddings. The Panelists were; Mariah Sheler-Edwards, Trustee/Washtenaw Association of School Boards; Casandra Ulbrich Vice President of the State Board of Education. Lindsay Huddleston II Michigan State Director at Student First & Burton Brown Chief of Staff/Legislative Director to Representative Sherry Gay-Dagnogo Michigan State Representative District 8.
After a delicious lunch, we had two breakout sessions of 80 minutes each. The topics to choose from were Communicating with your legislator, Telling your story through blogging, Boosting attendance of Parents at events and Op-Ed Writing.
The last session was Shelbi Cole, Deputy Director of Content Smarter Balanced SBAC. She discussed the assessment system and we came away with a greater understanding of the assessment and how and why it was created.
The day was wrapped up by the wonderful Concetta Lewis National Lead Fellow- America Achieves Reminding us that we need to continue telling our story, raising our voices and the time to do this is NOW!