NEA’s Priority Schools Campaign is pleased to announce the debut of three virtual learning communities (VLCs) open to teachers and ESPs in any of NEA’s priority schools:
- Supporting Students of Poverty
- Technology in the classroom
- Home-School Connections
One community—home-school connections—is open to a wider audience including teachers, ESPs, administrators, community partners, parents, etc. who are working in our priority schools.
Forty-one accomplished teachers–many of them National Board Certified Teachers and/or mentors in their own high-needs schools–are serving in pairs as virtual facilitators of the VLCs. The communities are flexible and will take shape according to member interests, needs, and availability.
Additional communities may form depending on what themes teachers and ESPs would like to explore about their practice, but some possibilities include: classroom management, differentiated instruction, National Board or Take One!, family-school-community partnership, technology in the classroom, ELL, etc.
For any particular themed VLC to launch, a minimum of twenty participants is required. Participants can sign up alone or in cohorts. The service is free. See the FAQs for more information. All one needs to do is fill out the online form linked below, and we will take it from there.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Why should I participate in a Virtual Learning Community (VLC)?
Learn from and with colleagues who share a common vision about teaching and learning. Online discussions offer the opportunity to make personal connections, explore areas of interest, and grow in your professional practice. Learning will be embedded in the daily teaching and learning that takes place in your classroom. The community will model effective 21st century tools and strategies. By design, VLCs are flexible, save time, improve your efficiency, and give you quick access to resources and solutions.
2. When would I participate?
The benefit of a VLC is that it provides just-in-time support. The community will be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You will be able to access the discussion platform whenever is most convenient. Live webinars will also be offered on a monthly basis at a set date and time. Participate as you are able and interested. Archived recordings will be available for those who cannot participate live.
3. Who else will be part of the community?
Teachers from other Priority Schools will comprise your community. You will be joined by trained, virtual coaches whose job is to support your learning. At all times, you will be able to review the backgrounds of your community’s members.
4. Will my principal or parents be able to read what I share online?
The VLC is a private, online space. Only other members of the community will be able to access your posts. At no time will administrators from your school or district (or parents or anyone else) be allowed access—unless access has been previously arranged and agreed upon by all VLC members (that includes you). Only the Family-Home Connections community is open to a wider audience of those engaged in our priority schools.
5. What will be discussed in the VLC?
You will help select the topics of focus for your online community. We will offer options for overall content, but your interests and needs—along with those of your colleagues—will drive the day-to-day discussions.
6. Who are the virtual facilitators?
Accomplished teachers from across the country participated in a series of training webinars over the summer to become better acquainted with facilitating VLCs. They bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience from a range of schools settings—from small rural to large urban schools. Many have achieved National Board Certification or served as coaches and mentors in their districts. Most important, they bring an excitement and eagerness to guide you in your professional growth.
7. How will I learn to use the technology?
The virtual facilitators and NEA/CTQ staff will be available to support you every step of the way. We will ensure you understand fully what’s needed to participate. With more and more technological tools entering our classrooms, participating in a VLC will give you a competitive, experiential edge in a changing world.
Contact Jennifer Locke, NBCT at firstname.lastname@example.org with additional questions.
*The service is a pilot open only to invited sites.