RCS Teachers Expand Their Educational Voice

Lisa Mele

Lisa Mele

Kelley Cusmano

Kelley Cusmano

Information Literacy Specialist Lisa Mele and English teacher Kelly Cusmano have been selected to join 50 other educators from across the state to participate in the 2015-16 Michigan Educator Voice Fellowship (MEVF) program.

According to www.miedvoice.org, the MEVF empowers teachers and principals to assume leadership roles and engage in public conversations about teaching and learning so as to guide education policies at the local, state, and national levels and influence the implementation of college- and career-ready standards.

“This program contains a valuable combination of professional ingredients for teachers and principals who want to help affect policy in a collaborative manner,” said MEVF State Manager Donna Rummel. “Participants in the Fellowship interact with colleagues and community leaders in ways that will serve everybody, most importantly students, for years to come. We are thrilled to welcome Lisa and Kelly as 2015-2016 fellows in this prestigious program.”

To launch their work, Cusmano and Mele recently traveled to Grand Rapids to meet and collaborate with other colleagues, develop action plans, and engage in discussions with policymakers and thought leaders.

“It’s exciting to be able to collaborate with educators from across the state who share in a dedication to providing a quality education for our students,” said Mele. “I look forward to communicating innovative opportunities in our schools to enhance our students’ growth.”

As part of their work, each fellow participates in educator voice activities. By sharing their classroom stories and experiences, the fellows will expand their reach beyond the walls of their school building and help parents and other community members better understand the shift to higher standards.

“Some of the activities used to extend my voice include using social media to present at the district’s professional development day, organizing a Twitter chat to help moderate a session on Teacher Leadership for the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals, and writing a blog on bonding for the Michigan Association of Student Councils,” said Cusmano.

Mele’s highlighted initiatives include presenting two sessions at the RCS district conference about digital storytelling and Makerspaces, participating in a question and answer session with State Superintendent Brian Whiston, and writing a blog highlighting her practices as an educator.

“It’s been a great experience, and I look forward to finding new opportunities to engage my fellow educators,” said Cusmano. “We truly have an ownership in the education decision-making process.”

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