Local Stories Empowering Effective Teachers

Submitted by Dave Wallace, United Way of Broward County

Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Because research has shown that the single most powerful determinant for student achievement is an effective teacher, United Way of Broward County began a project to promote and empower effective teachers. The purpose of the Empowering Effective Teachers Initiative is to engage the public will to promote policies and reforms that ensure effective teachers are in every classroom in Broward County.

United Way of Broward County convened a community-wide task force of a diverse group of educators, community and corporate leaders to develop strategies on three issues: measurement, preparing and recruiting effective teachers, and retaining effective teachers.

The Task Force will conclude its work in May with a Report to the Community, which will be presented to the Broward State Legislative delegation, and to the Florida Department of Education as part of its effort to implement Florida's Race to the Top grant.

In conjunction with the work of the Task Group, we began a public awareness campaign to mobilize public support for empowering effective teachers. We're taking advantage of our relationships with local media to highlight interviews with Task Force members, and in partnership with our local Fox affiliate, we are developing 2 community interest stories. We're also beginning a public campaign asking our donors and volunteers to pledge their support for public education. Participants will be provided with ways to become engaged and involved in local education issues as volunteers and advocates; from becoming a mentor, to getting involved with their local PTA, to emailing their State legislator asking them to support education funding and reforms.

We hope that by engaging all of the different groups in our community, and by providing teachers the support and tools they need to grow in their jobs, we'll be able to see real outcomes in the educational achievements of Broward County's children.