U. S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan has been busy celebrating teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week, scheduled for the week of May 7 this year.
“Whatever we do to strengthen and elevate the teaching profession, we should bear in mind that reforms that fail to heed the voice of teachers are doomed,” Secretary Duncan said in a Huffington Post article to kick off Teacher Appreciation Week.
On Monday morning, Duncan welcomed more than 80 faculty and teaching fellows from the South Carolina Universities participating in the South Carolina Teaching Fellows program for a RESPECT conversation. The convening is one of 100 RESPECT conversations with more than 1,500 educators held by the Teaching Ambassador Fellows, a group of 16 active classroom teachers working temporarily for the U.S. Department of Education.
On Tuesday, Duncan joined National Education Association (NEA) President Dennis Van Roekel for a Teacher Hall of Fame reception at the NEA headquarters.
This morning, Duncan surprised teachers and staff of Washington, DC’s Luke C. Moore High School with an unexpected visit during their Teacher Appreciation Week breakfast celebration. Luke C. Moore High School is a local School Improvement Grant recipient that serves over 300 students, ages 17 to 21, who have dropped out or who have had difficulties in traditional school settings. Nearly 80 percent of the students served qualify for free or reduced price lunch.
Also, over 30 U.S. Department of Education staff went “back to school” to shadow teachers in the DC area and across the country today. Duncan will also invite teachers being shadowed and their shadowers to a discussion later that day so the group can debrief and reflect on the experience.
This evening, Duncan attends Teach for America's 2nd Annual Gala, which will highlight stories of inspiration and work underway to support students in low-income communities.
Parents, students, principals, teachers, and the general public are invited to join the national conversation around Teacher Appreciation Week via the Twitter hashtag #thankateacher.
Throughout the week, the Department of Education highlights videos of people from around the country thanking teachers for making a difference in their lives. Bill Nye the Science Guy, Mayim Bialik, a PhD and actor on The Big Bang Theory, Jamie Hyneman from TV’s MythBusters, LeVar Burton, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and astronaut Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger have recorded teacher appreciation videos.
As part of Teacher Appreciation Week, a vision document for reforming the teaching profession has been posted for public comment on the Department’s website, and will be available for comment until June 19.
As part of its work to better support teachers, the administration has held two international conferences with labor leaders and education ministers from high-performing countries around the world. And, later this month, the administration, national teacher unions, school superintendents, school boards and labor mediators are convening for two days in Cincinnati to focus on reforming the teaching profession.
“Teacher Appreciation Week is an opportunity to share the praise and appreciation that teachers deserve every day,” Duncan said. “But it is even more important to go one step further and use this week as a chance to learn more from teachers about how we can make teaching not only one of America’s most important professions but also one of America's most valued professions.”
ReadWriteThink.org, a project of the International Reading Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, and Verizon Thinkfinity, offers a list of Teacher Appreciation Week activities and resources.
Together for Tomorrow Initiative
Advocacy at the International Reading Association
Awards and Grants for Teachers and Literacy Researchers