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Eight Santa Barbara County Teachers Named TNLI Fellows

Appointed educators from across the country will conduct research projects and subsequent reports

Eight teachers from Santa Barbara County, recently named Teachers Network Fellows for the 2011-12 school year, met to collaborate on important educational issues and plan for individual action research papers.

Senior Fellows Luke Laurie from El Camino Junior High School in the Santa Maria-Bonita School District, Linda Edwards from Cold Spring School in the Cold Spring School District, Kristin Anderson from Maple High School in the Lompoc Unified School District and Kristen Burke-Lohr from Taylor School in the Santa Maria-Bonita School District are returning for their fifth and sixth years in this educational policy research fellowship.

In her third year as a TNLI Fellow, Sonya Morris is from Arellanes Junior High School in the Santa Maria-Bonita School District, and starting her second year is Gail Meehan, a retired teacher from the Lompoc Unified School District. New this year is Tina Watkins from Pioneer Valley High School in the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.

The Teachers Network Leadership Institute was established to improve student achievement by bringing the teachers’ voices to educational policy-making, locally and nationally. TNLI Fellows from sites across the country conduct action research projects and prepare reports documenting their findings. They also read and discuss shared journal articles, research educational policy issues, and prepare policy action papers.

In August, the 2011-12 Fellows met with Petti Pfau, director of teacher programs for the Santa Barbara County Education Office, for a daylong kickoff and planning meeting. Kristen Lewis was introduced as the group’s research adviser.

The day was spent collaborating on important educational issues, planning for individual action research papers and on an education policy report on the latest educational policy push by President Barack Obama and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

In addition to writing action research papers from information collected in their classroom, the TNLI fellows narrowed their educational concerns to three teacher “hot topics”:

» Instructional time, namely, the limitations on instructional minutes due to excessive assessment and scripted lessons or restricted schedules

» Funding issues, including class size, where money is being spent, K-12 vs. higher education, etc.

» Teacher/student ratios, including class size, combo classes, educator workload and instructional aides

— Wendy Shelton is the director of communications for the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

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