The CTA Institute for Teaching is attempting to bring a new approach to school change. Based on its work in California schools, with Foundations and from discussions with hundreds of practitioners and students, the IFT has determined that school change must include two key factors: (1) It needs to be teacher-driven and (2) It should be based on what is working and successful in our schools and classrooms. By focusing on what works in our schools, the IFT believes strength-based models for school change add a new dimension to school improvement.
Read about the IFT Approach
Background on the IFT
Current IFT Program
The $5,000-$20,000 strength-based grants are designed for pre-K-12 teachers and certificated support staff, ESP members and college instructors. Proposals are reviewed through the lens of IFT’s strength-based matrix by an IFT Grant Selection committee composed of outstanding teachers. In the program’s first six years, IFT awarded 167 grants totaling over $1.7 million.
IFT has organized a diverse set of CTA members to be part of IFT’s Regional Teacher Think Tanks. These eight regional Teacher Think Tanks give a voice to dozens of CTA members who are excellent classroom practitioners and passionate about sharing innovative ideas and building upon what works.
The Expo, presented as part of the pre-Good Teaching Conferences, is designed as a showcase for exemplary IFT Grant recipients and members of CTA’s Teacher Leadership Cohorts to present highlights of their strength-based projects to an audience of fellow teachers. It demonstrates that teachers have the capacity to innovate their practice and profession to connect communities with their classrooms in engaging ways.
Positive Deviance Project
IFT is seeking volunteers to work on a project designed to increase the high school graduation rate by focusing on those students who are successfully staying in school and thriving despite such social factors as poverty, family problems, crime and gangs. These outliers are known as “positive deviants.”
Parent-Teacher Home Visit Project
IFT supports home visits because they work and teachers have always done them. That practice has been enhanced with a strategic focus and collaboration dedicated to this proven strategy with positive outcomes for families, staff, and most importantly, students of all grade levels.
California School Garden Network
IFT supports CSGN’s mission to promote school gardens as a means “to enhance academic achievement, a healthy lifestyle, environmental stewardship, and community/social development.”
Strength-Based School Transformation Projects
IFT is looking to engage with members in school wide appreciative inquiry projects based on the identified strengths of the local school community. These field-based projects are locally designed and their successful outcomes are critical in demonstrating the efficacy of strength-based teacher driven change.
For more information check the IFT website: www.teacherdrivenchange.org.