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Quality in the Classroom Convening
Lessons Learned: Overview of Convening

Teams from six states met March 7-8 in Atlanta to learn from experts in teaching quality, get to know one another, sharpen plans for their state projects, and strengthen the work of their teams. View a list of attendees.

Teams from Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee shared overviews of their projects at dinner at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens on Sunday evening, March 7.

On Monday, March 8, teams got down to business with an overview of the state of teaching quality, delivered by Barnett Berry, executive director of the Southeast Center for Teaching Quality in Chapel Hill, NC.

What If…

  • All elementary teachers had the P.D. & resources so 8-10 year olds can grasp algebraic concepts
  • All teachers have 10 hours a week to work with colleagues and “study lessons”
  • All administrators teach students regularly & know how to develop teacher leadership
  • The most highly paid anybody in a school district was a teacher…

View these thoughts and more from Barnett Berry, Southeast Center for Teaching Quality.


“How many of you have encouraged your own kids to teach in public schools? Why not?’ Berry asked the group, and then proceeded to show how teaching quality and retention is directly impacted by working conditions, induction practices and professional development opportunities. (download presentation).

Participants spent most of the morning engaged in working group discussions according to their project focuses. To view notes from the working groups, click below.

[Induction] [Professional Development] [Working Conditions]

Mike Watson, BellSouth’s Director – Community Relations and Foundation Vice Chair, shared results of a volunteer survey conducted by the Southeast Center for Teaching Quality and the Teacher Leaders Network. The result gave insight into how teachers and volunteers can work successfully together. download survey results

Watson also moderated a discussion among BellSouth Volunteer leaders from three states, who shared their experiences and plans for incorporating the volunteer component into their state projects. These volunteer leaders included Debbie Reeves (KY), Pat Fabian (SC) and Felicia Burse (MS).

Keith Pounds, consultant to BellSouth on volunteer management, unveiled a new, company-wide, online volunteer management tool that will be launched during National Volunteer Week in April.

Mary Boehm, BellSouth Foundation Executive Director, and Kim Mulkey, Associate Director, discussed proposed frameworks for evaluation and the kinds of data the Foundation wishes to collect throughout the life of the Quality in the Classroom Initiative. The primary goals BellSouth has expressed for the overall initiative will be measured through both state and regional evaluation efforts, the goals include:

  • Improving new teacher induction efforts;
  • Providing quality professional development (especially math, science and technology);
  • Enhancing teacher working conditions;
  • Developing effective models for meaningful volunteer engagement in schools; and
  • Addressing teaching quality issues throughout the region in a systemic manner, ensuring the potential for sustained impact on student learning and achievement?

Regional Surveys

View Introductory Presentation Materials

Sample Teacher Survey - for review only

Sample Administrator Survey - for review only

Sample Volunteer Survey - for review only

The convening ended with an opportunity for grantees to share overall thoughts on what they had learned during the last two days, and what they needed moving forward with their projects:

  • Multiple grantees expressed a desire for more assistance in addressing the policy context in which their projects operated. Background information of related policy developments and policy outreach materials in each of the three main issue areas were requested.
  • Grantees expressed appreciation for the opportunity to work together as a state project team along with the time to learn from the activities and strategies of other grantees.
  • Grantees wanted more information about the potential opportunity for a few project participants to attend the ECS 2004 National Forum on Education Policy as part of this initiative.

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