Teacher Led Schools

     Schools across the country are giving authority back to the teachers by throwing out the administrative grips. At these schools, teachers are solely making all the administrative decisions and teaching.

            Palmer Park Predatory Academy (P3A) will open in Detroit in the fall of 2010 with no principal or other administrators. This school will replace the Barbara Jordan Elementary school, which was recently labeled as a low-performing school, according to an article in The District Administration.

The Detroit public school system realized that a dramatic turnaround was necessary to enhance its public schools. The conclusion was to create teacher-led schools, allowing teacher – and not principals or other administrators – to decide how the school should operate.

This is a growing trend, and schools in Boston, Milwaukee, Denver and Los Angeles have already made their schools teacher-led.

            Many teachers are welcoming the new tasks, and they fully believe they can handle all the responsibilities of teaching and administrating schools. Some teachers were so sure that this new program would be successful that they were willing to bet their tenure on it, Ann Crowley, DPS teacher and co-founder of the group Detroit Children First, an organization that had been vying for an all-teacher school for several years told The District Administration.

            “Many excellent teachers felt they could get more for their children if they had a greater voice in the decisions that are made in their schools,” Crowley told The District Administration.

            The set up of the Detroit school is not complete yet; however, the basic structure is that certain teachers will be working and researching specific issues that are important to the school. Then, those teachers will make recommendations with a shared-decision making process. This process is similar to that in other already existing teacher-led schools.

          Also, there will be an executive director for most of these schools who organizes the teacher’s focus and lesson plans to some extent.

          Officials who helped other cities set up teacher-led schools said they believe that a clear system of autonomy needs to be in place for these schools succeed. They also said that they believe this system will be more efficient and enhance students’ learning.