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A group of six teachers, two men and four women, posing outside the California Department of Education

Teach Plus Helps Teachers Advocate for Educational Change

Project Overview

For students to learn at their best, they need access to educators who share in their lived experiences and are equipped to connect with and advocate for their needs. Yet today, Black and Latino students and those from low-income backgrounds are the furthest from these types of development and mentorship opportunities needed to accelerate learning.

Teach Plus helps improve student success by empowering teachers to make change by becoming leaders in educational policy and instruction. The organization prepares teachers to engage directly with local, state, and federal policymakers to address educational challenges and shape their school communities to meet students’ unique needs. Through its Phoenix Project, which was a response to inequities that deepened during the COVID-19 pandemic, Teach Plus has reimagined teaching and learning to create environments that allow all children to learn at their best.

Two years ago, we adopted an equity policy. However, we recognized the need to bring the policy and action to the classroom… and that is what Teach Plus has brought to RISD.

Tabitha Branum, Richardson (TX) ISD deputy superintendent

How it Helps

Teach Plus believes that teachers are best equipped to address and advocate for the needs of their students because they are natural problem solvers and know what their students need for success. That’s precisely why the Phoenix Project recommendations are founded on input from 175 educators across 30 states.

Participating educators used design thinking — a process of empathetically observing how people experience systems and environments — to reimagine a more equitable education system for their students. To make their vision a reality, they created recommendations that will guide policymakers to make teaching and learning improvements at the school, state, and national levels. Teach Plus launched the project to address urgent student and teacher needs that arose during the pandemic, but the resulting vision and recommendations are designed to create an impact that reaches well beyond the pandemic.

The recently published report includes recommendations in four key areas:

  • Thriving students: Build an education system that addresses students’ social, emotional, and physical needs and supports them in pursuing unique learning paths.
  • Thriving teachers: Reimagine a system in which the teaching profession attracts, retains, supports, and grows excellent and resilient educators. Teachers should reflect the diversity of their students and have opportunities to advance to leadership positions.
  • Engaged families and communities: Develop an education system that honors communities and families as partners in student learning and reflects their ideas, cultures, and visions.
  • Teaching and learning for the 2020s: Engage educators to shape curriculum, and use innovative design, instructional materials, and standards to respond to students’ unique backgrounds, experiences, and learning styles. Prepare students to thrive after high school in any post-secondary path.

By engaging more teachers in advocacy and leadership, Teach Plus is helping to ensure educational policy reflects the needs of Black and Latino students, students from low-income backgrounds, and the schools they attend.

Foundation Project Lead