Now that you can see why teacher led schools are essential, we want you to know about resources to support you in developing your own schools.
But be aware that in the movement to destroy public education, every initiative that looks like a promising alternative is not teacher-friendly or teacher-powered.
One example is the Community Based School Movement of the Institute for Educational Leadership out of Washington, D.C. With massive and official backing, this organization for the most still creates an administrative approach to creating and operating the school that is not necessarily committed to teacher power.
Their website(http://www.communityschools.org/resources/how_to_start_a_community_school1.aspx ) shows the process of creating a community based school, which can look like a throw back to smaller communities and times but promoted on the national level. They have much useful information, however, on finding funding and the creation cycle. In their schools, 69% comes from the school district, federal, state, county and city resources. The rest comes from individual, community-based, private and inkind sources.
Their 6-step process has been developed from an alliance of national, state and local organizations in education K–16, youth development, community planning and development, higher education, family support, health and human services, government, and philanthropy as well as national, state, and local community school networks. You can read about 13 of their more successful schools on their website.
I recommend another network that is truly teacher-centered, Teacher Powered organization (https://www.teacherpowered.org/). They have provided not only a blueprint but an ongoing process of development and support for teachers wishing to operate their own schools.
They have a 5 part process that works:
- Engage in Discovery process
- Develop why
- Take inventory and build your team
- Create a plan
- Engage stakeholders
The good news is that they have money to help you get started, called Ignition Grants.
The purpose of these Ignition Grants is to help committed groups of teachers in the planning process of designing and implementing a teacher-powered school.
Monies can be used for
- Travel expenses for members of the team to visit a current teacher-powered school or conference
- Release time (i.e. paying for substitute teachers) to plan as a group,
- Child care for evening or weekend design sessions,
- Space rental and food expenses for meetings,
- Miscellaneous supplies and materials.
Teachers will need to have formed a design team and have completed the Forming Stage of the Steps Guide. The Ignition Grant is used in the Storming Stage. While, these grants are not designed to be all encompassing or enough funding to complete the whole start-up process, they will jump start the process and empower teachers to create schools that better serve the students in their communities.
The deadline for application for the third round will be Fall, 2017. Date TBA soon.