Capstone Portfolios

TLI participants develop field-based Capstone Portfolios  focusing on the following frames of teacher leadership:

Instructional Leadership – placing teachers at the center of supporting and improving teaching and learning in their schools and districts;

Policy Leadership – ensuring that experienced and accomplished teachers inform and influence policy making decisions at the local, state and national levels;

Association Leadership – preparing current and future association leaders to include advancing the profession of teaching and the professional interests of members into the union advocacy agenda.

Participants designed and/or implemented a capstone that gave them meaningful and practical exposure to leadership opportunities in which to apply leadership competencies and reflect upon and learn from these experiences.

 

TLI 2019-2020

Capstone Projects from TLI 2018-2019 Fellows

Contact Participant to view completed Capstone Portfolio.

Name Local Association Capstone Project
Theresa Bryant Springfield

The Need for Culturally Proficient Educators for a Culturally Diverse Student Body

Creating Culturally Competent Educators, Re-writing the Narrative - US History that includes the truth about our shared history, African American Studies/Black History

Shelley Cook Mendon-Upton

Supporting and Organizing Administrative Assistants and Custodians Through Contract Negotiations

I am our local's co-president and last year was our negotiations year, which ran over and we have been working on a 1 year contract due to COVID and are about to sign our MOA for the return this year and our 1 year contract.  I have worked this year to include administrative assistants and custodians in our MOAs and we are stronger together for this.

 
Christopher Dancy Needham

Forging a Path Towards DEI Leadership

This Capstone project reflects a year of intentional professional movements into the DEI space. Within the past year with TLI, I have furthered my formal education in the DEI space, co/lead affinity groups for students, co/developed curriculum, established professional development opportunities, and formed/joined committees in the areas of public programming and policy, professional development for teachers, racial and cultural bias in standardized testing, and educational programming offered by regional museums. My capstone project charts my own professional path, from classroom teacher into DEI leadership. In these capacities, I have served as collaborator, leader, sounding board, consultant, mentor, author, and friend.

Stacy Doyon Fairhaven

Policy Change for Virtual Pathways to Graduation with Hybrid Classroom Model.

Policy change for virtual pathways to graduation with hybrid classroom model. 

Emma Gardiner Newton

Promoting Access to State of the Art Facilities for the Greater Boston League Studemts

My TLI Capstone ultimately is utilizing Athletics as differentiated instruction.  We have seen the tremendous impact professional and collegiate have in being influencers and agents of change. Every child has an intelligence and academics isn’t the only measure to be used. Athletics opens doors for many students to go to college. Athletics Instill discipline and life long skills and coping strategies that can’t be taught through traditional academics. Athletic Coaches have powerful impact and are teacher leaders too. My investigation involved inequities in the Greater Boston League. Our students don’t have access to state of the arts facilities such as Boston University or the Reggie Lewis Center for their dual meet competition. They hare required to compete on inconsistently measured and timed tracks. They compete in events at the state and championship level such as the long jump where none of the facilities have the long jump pit or have access to equitable training in the event. The Reggie Lewis Center makes it impossible for new leagues to utilize as other leagues have been essentially grandfathered in. There is no equitable access or criteria to be a league that has access other than longevity. More affluent districts are afforded the luxury of its weekly use for competition and training. Our Greater Boston league is basically shortchanged and are literally not competing on equal playing field. It’s as if the Patriots would train and compete on Boston English High football field as opposed to the state of the art Gillette Stadium. The Reggie Lewis Center was and is one the most elite facilities in the nation. Our students deserve access as other leagues. Some gains were made to utilize Tufts University but I don’t believe this is still the case. 

James Gorman Mendon-Upton

Developing a High School Global STEM: Engineering for Sustainability Class

I have found that our high school science curriculum only allows students to take engineering in Junior and Senior year and has no follow-up course. Engineering applies scientific knowledge to solve a problem in doing so students must work together to understand the problem fully and bring various expertise to bear. This requires diversity and in the real world would involve working with people in different locations and countries. I developed a Global STEM: Engineering for Sustainability class that would engage students in how engineering is carried out in the real world. The project also resulted in inspiring two other science teachers to develop engineering courses and resequencing the science curriculum.

Stephen Guerriero Needham

Implementing a District LGBTQ Staff Affinity Group

I have been working to implement a district LGBTQ Staff Affinity Group. I have had to plan the structure and functioning of the group’s membership, mission, processes, and evaluation. Because I am welcoming a diverse array of voices and experiences into the Affinity Group, it has meant that I have to manage a variety of styles and personalities to align all members to work towards our mission — Full equality and a welcoming environment for all LGBTQ staff and students across all grades, schools, and departments.

Michele Irland Hanover

Advocating for Quality Health Education in Schools

My Capstone focused on advocating for quality health education in schools by educating school staff, administrators, and legislators on the importance of health education for all students and what those programs can offer.  This capstone project included analysis of state-wide data, advocacy training and meetings with legislators, sharing letters with staff and administrators detailing the importance of and connections with health education in everyday life, and building collaboration among Massachusetts health educators to continue advocacy work.

James Kottmeier Taunton

Creating Better Mentoring Pairing

My goal is to evaluate mentoring paring. Instead of looking at it as we have traditionally, with content or grade level pairing, looking at it as more of a relationship and pairing personalities and teachers who will mentor the younger teachers as they adjust to living the life of a teacher. Hopefully, if the personalities are better paired, better teachers are created, and the younger teacher not only can learn how to be their best version of a teacher, but continue on in the field, and not suffer from new teacher burn out. By creating a mentoring pairing as well, the mentor, can also learn from the mentee, as this allows for conversations and reflections, versus what mentoring has become in some places of handing units or lesson to the mentee, and a simple ‘You ok?’, without allowing for the time for an honest answer. This relationship will also help strengthen the school, as the culture becomes more of us and we, as opposed to mine and yours. If we agree that obtaining the best performance and effort from a student is in larger part based on the relationship we form with them, why wouldn’t we expect the same from our mentor/mentee relationships?

Cynthia Lanzendorf-Carney Gloucester

The All-In BluePrint Workgroup and the Reimagining of the MTA

The All-In initiative, put forth by the MTA, was in response to the possible ramifications imposed on unions across the country by the Janus Decision. It was a movement to meet members’ needs and avoid attrition during a time when union membership is more important than ever. When I was asked to sit on the All-In BluePrint Workgroup, I was honored to be a part of the diverse group of educators and stakeholders who were dedicated to helping the MTA evolve in the face of adversity. We knew our important work would be integral to the existence and continuity of our union. Our work centered on engaging members in conversations, in person and through surveys, about what our union needs to look like to ensure our members receive all the necessary benefits, services and advocacy to keep Education in Massachusetts the top in the nation. My hope is that the recommendations that the BluePrint Group put forth will help to strengthen and unify our members to form a ‘More Perfect Union’ from which the educators of Massachusetts will draw inspiration for years to come.

Jeanne Lemmond Pittsfield

Preparing for Positive Contract Negtiations

Researching, learning, planning, implementing and reflecting on the development of new policies, forms and by-laws, for the best interests of my union membership, prior to formal contract negotiations.

Zena Link Newton

Creating Community Collaborations

The capstone was designed to support educators with building community collaborations in order to improve relationships with parents and critically review the educational practices that are at the foundation of Public Educations' institutional policies which perpetually permeate structural and systemic inequitites.  The concept of "Populace Education" through the creation of community collaborations provides an avenue to address some of the structural and systemic inequities in the union and introduce new policies that will disrupts exclusive practices that are embedded and normalized within public education.

Tracy Little-Sasanecki Springfield

Creating Space for School Counselors at the Collective Bargaining Table

My TLI project was to create a space fo school counselors to be part of a conversation that increases our presence and to be a part of collective bargaining

Rosa Lopez-Whitehill Pembroke

Minority Educator Representation in Massachusetts 

A Proposal for Increasing Minority Educator Representation in Massachusetts Public Schools and Colleges

Kevin Lynch Framingham

Collaboration, Communication, and Technology in Education

This portfolio addresses learning and application through effective communication, collaboration, planning, and technology. Initially, school was in brick and mortar, but with COVID-19, this project took a major turn and was mostly through remote collaboration. Sample lessons in brick and mortar, collaboration notes/protocols, and technology-based instruction through remote learning plans to highlight differentiation and provide multiple language formats are included (diversity and supporting all learners). School council documents are included to highlight collaboration, communication, and action plans (parent survey developed - plan to release as soon as normalcy returns). Sample professional development presentations are included to instruct colleagues on assessments, behavior, and supporting all learners.

Donna Mendonca Chicopee

Coaching and Mentoring for PD

I created a district professional development workshop working with children of poverty and using theories of personality type to enhance social emotional learning in the classroom.

Michael Murphy Hampden Wilbraham

Gratitude-Based Cultural Campaign

A Community-wide series of interrelated events designed to increase cultural cohesion and based on the central theme of gratitude.

Mary Ott-Dahill Pittsfield

Providing Adequate Materials and Educational resources to the Special Education Classes

My capstone is about bringing materials and educational resources to the special education classes in my school building.  Being able to not have to always wonder and hope I was doing enough to meet the standards and common core requirements for my students and those in the building. Having a curiculum in the classes that meet the standards students need and will make a big difference to everyone.

Vidula Plante Manchester Essex

Developing a Sustainable School Schedule that Supports Educator and Student Wellness 

My chosen project is a sustainable school schedule that supports teacher and student wellness. I sought to innovate with stakeholders to create a student-centered school schedule that would be responsive to teacher working conditions and would provide systemic support for student and teacher growth. It is a work in progress!

Tyler Ramsay Pittsfield

Redefining Curriculum Through Equity and Decolonization

What started out as a series of complaints against a packaged (and expensive) curriculum by both staff and students, I explored options for creating a more equitable curriulum and ELA class structure that reaches all students and, in the process, learned about the values of decolonizing our curriculum and schools.

Kerry Zagarella Ipswich

Community Awareness: This School is Your School 

This Capstone focused on developing a group of teacher leaders pursuing a wider awareness of social justice and equity issues in our school, as well as the world around. We shared in professional development, book groups, and weekly discussions. We developed lessons plans, updated our school world map, provided mini-workshops at staff meetings and created a teacher friendly website to house resources pertaining to social justice and equity. We currently are working with a district wide team to incorporate the Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards into our Social Studies curriculum. 

 


TLI 2018-2019

Capstone Projects from TLI 2018-2019 Fellows

Contact Participant to view completed Capstone Portfolio.

Name Local Association Capstone Project
Ruth Allen Dracut

Social Emotional Learning in Early Childhood Classrooms

In just the six years I have specifically taught preschool students, I have noticed an increase in social emotional issues that just breaks my heart. Three and four-year old children should not have to deal with so much trauma! I was lucky enough to be part of a team that went to Yale University for RULER training. RULER is a wonderful social emotion al program that we will be introducing in Dracut this year.

Ginger Armstrong Lee

Many Roles of Teacher Leaders

Our personal effectiveness in our many roles (e.g. Local president, teacher, community member) is dependent on gaining trust of stakeholders, making strong decisions that explore and challenge inequity. Getting outside my comfort zone was difficult. Increasing my competency in the area of community awareness, engagement and advocacy by running a night class for adults.

Becky Csizmesia   Fall River

Moving Toward a Culturally Responsive Music Curriculum

Portfolio Description: When I first started teaching in Fall River, I was told that there was no curriculum, just meet the standards. Over the past couple of years, I led our elementary music team to create a curriculum map but it became obvious that we were not meeting our students' diverse needs. Due to a lack of a curriculum most teachers had gotten in the habit of simply having students sing from our outdated textbooks as they had themselves been taught music. These textbooks don't represent the musical culture of our students. When there was multicultural repertoire, there was often cultural misappropriation as well. It was not authentic. Lack of relevance and student engagement led to many classroom management issues across the district in music. I proposed to my fine arts director to lead a pilot team for a potential new curriculum. As she agreed, I led a pilot team of four elementary music educators using the Quaver music curriculum. We regularly reflected and discussed the impact of this curriculum on our students. As we found that this was ideal for our students, we began to lead professional development for the entire elementary music team to introduce both the curriculum and culturally responsive music education. This project was successful with the curriculum being adopted and used by all elementary music teachers in the Fall River Public Schools. Discussions continue for meeting our students' diverse needs and leading a culturally responsive music program.

Barbara Kallin Millbury

Pineapple Chart Take 2: Growing How We Learn from Our Colleagues

I examined options for jumpstarting a Pineapple Chart initiative I'd started the year before I discovered TLI. In my Jr./Sr. high school, I'd encouraged and witnessed my colleagues putting their names and classes up, in a small way, on either one of the two charts I'd created for our two teachers' rooms, but the truth was that nobody was actually visiting the classrooms that teachers put up on the chart/s, and those teachers, in turn, weren't visiting their colleagues' classrooms either (the entire point of a Pineapple Chart!) I began wondering what I could do to jumpstart folks' intrinsic motivation to visit each other's classrooms to learn from each other, and, in turn, to improve their own teaching. I finished with two upgraded Pineapple Charts; an improved understanding about the relevant factors at play; and renewed motivation, myself, to continue my journey as a teacher leader.

 Stephanie N. Marcotte  Holyoke Community College

Supporting New Union Leaders and Preventing Union Leader Burnout in Higher Education Locals

We are the union! However, when we find ourselves in union leadership roles for the first time, it can be easy to burnout. With an increase in responsibilities and pressure, leaders (especially new leaders) need to have scaffolds in place so that they feel supported. This capstone focuses on the need and creation of leadership scaffolds within higher education locals to support all incoming union leaders.

Deb McCarthy Hull

Open Bargaining and the Fund Our Future Campaign

My project highlighted how Hull used the process of Open Bargaining to connect with the Fund Our Future Campaign here in Massachusetts. We were able to connect many of our collective bargaining issues to the “Schools our Communities Deserve” and we were able to create a collective investment around Funding All Schools.

 Kristen McGonagle   Kingston

Early Literacy Development and Instruction in the Classroom

For my capstone I focused on the Early Literacy Development and Instruction in the Classroom. I worked to create professional development, resources, and ideas for teachers that work to increase conversation and vocabulary through interactive read alouds that focus on Social Emotional Learning themes and vocabulary. I also worked hard to implement a change in the amount of meaningful discourse that students have in the cafeteria. I implemented "Table Talks" and "Conversation Cues" on the cafeteria tables and I also provide PD and instructions for the teachers and the purpose behind it.

Nicholas Ristaino Hamilton

Building the Union Through Conversations and Action

My capstone project was to build my Association through regular meetings, to discuss issues and solutions with my colleagues, and then pursue the actions necessary to enact those solutions. One example was a significant concern over license renewal which lead to setting up a license renewal training for my membership.

Gregory Shea  East Bridgewater

Leading from Behind: Increasing Membership Engagement through Rank-and-File Action\

This portfolio outlines and reflects on the process of using rank-and-file collective action to address a workplace challenge in a 7-12 high school. It charts the steps taken to identify the problem, communicate with membership to identify the core issues, and use an escalating campaign of collective action to address those issues.

 

Jocelyn Tallis Southbridge

Capstone 2019

The subject of my Capstone Portfolio was beginning my journey to transform from a Union board member into a Union President. I really enjoyed learning about the Union and what it did for its members. I wanted to be a bigger part, so I did.

Kimberly Durley Dennis Yarmouth

Bringing Quality PD to Cape Cod

This project is aimed at bringing inexpensive, quality PD to all teachers on Cape Cod. Too many times PD is not quality, expensive and too far to travel to, therefore I wanted to bring PD to educators. I also wanted to grow the capacity of educators, especially those of marginalized communities, as leaders, working collaboratively to create and give sessions that are important to the educators here through a social justice lens. This PD will create a sense of community and have lasting effects on educators, students, parents and the community.


TLI 2017-2018

Capstone Projects from TLI 2017-2018 Fellows

Contact Participant to view completed Capstone Portfolio.

Name Local Association Capstone Project
Ann Davis-Allan Marblehead

Facilitation of Teacher Mindfulness Book/Study Group

My Capstone Project was the facilitation of a book/study group for teachers in my district. The group included eight to ten teachers from various schools in the Marblehead School District. The book we read was “Mindfulness for Teachers: Simple Skills for Peace and Productivity in the Classroom” by Patricia A. Jennings.  I used various protocols from the School Reform Initiative website to facilitate our meaningful and relevant text-based discussions. We met monthly throughout the school year.  I am now a certified Mindfulness Teacher through Inward Bound Mindfulness Education and my commitment to help public schools embrace mindfulness practices for our students - continues to deepen.  My Capstone experience was very worthwhile and my hope is that schools will realize and embrace the value of Mindfulness. I am now teaching a health elective at Marblehead High School entitled Mindfulness 101 and getting great feedback from my students.

William Candler Middleboro

Going 'All In' in Middleboro

Elizabeth Correia Fall River

Establishing Joint Labor-Management Committees for Change

Using the collective bargaining agreement as a vehicle to increase member engagement and teacher voice in district decision-making, through the creation of joint labor management committees.

Michael DiClemente Medford

Engaging New Members

I chose to focus on engaging new members for my TLI capstone project. This project allowed me to move from my classroom and transition into a teacher-leader. During the project, I helped establish a New Teacher Liaison position and New Member Committee. We worked on better communication and connection with new members. We held events for new members to allow them the opportunity to grow and ask questions. I believe my project set a great foundation in my district and I look forward to continuing to grow our opportunities for new members.

Rebecca Harvey Nashoba

Local MTA Association Website Development”

The Nashoba Regional School District union president was concerned about the fact that the only means of communication with the membership was through the district email. There were no social media accounts, no website. They didn’t even have a database with information on the members, where they worked or how to reach them. I was able to do a member survey to collect information, create a database and build methods of communication that included a website, space for a presidential blog, social media accounts and more. My work with the Teacher Leadership Institute gave the leaders and members of the NRSD union the ability to communicate without feeling the pressure of being on school-owned emails and platforms.

Christine Mulroney Framingham

Supporting Our Families through Parent Teacher Home Visits

Building member voice through advocating for parent teacher home visits. This fosters positive parent/school relationships and improves understanding of the relationship between the school and the community.

Audrey Murph-Brown Springfield

Increasing the Engagement of Members of Color (ALANA) in the Springfield Educators Association

Manes Pierre Holyoke

Advocating for Culturally-Relevant Schools

Elizabeth Pruett Marblehead

Breakfast and Book

Jessica Smith-Rohrberg MBCC

Increasing Inquiry-Driven and Student-Centered Introductory Biology Labs

Andrea Stavrakas Wellesley

The Training, Evaluating and Utilizing Support Staff


Pilot Year Three

Capstone Projects from Pilot Year Three Fellows

Contact Participant to view completed Capstone Portfolio.

Name Local Association Capstone Project
Karen Albano Agawam Using Student Portfolios in Teacher Evaluation Systems
Jeffrey Bartlett Danvers EdCamp Danvers
Christina Brayfield Arlington Physical Education and the School Enrollment Crisis in Arlington, MA
Maureen Devlin Wayland Shared Teaching and Learning: Building a Collaborative Culture
Lynn Howard Weymouth Developing Mathematical Mindsets
Sarah Kempesty Agawam Young Author’s Portfolio Project
Meghan Michaud Andover A+ Peers
David Moore Arlington STEAM/Maker-Space Initiative, Arts Advocacy and School Redesign/Rebuild
Debra Rainha Andover A+ Peers
Maria Skiffington Medford Teaching the Way Kindergarteners Learn
Shannon White West Springfield Improving Inclusion through Communication and Understanding
Alice Yabe Haverhill Empty Bowls Benefit
Ivelisse Lescano Springfield High-Stakes Testing and ELL Students
Claudia Palframan Chicopee Creating a Strategic or Long Range Plan for the School Libraries in Chicopee
Lisa Sarno Springfield Testing and Shadow Bargaining
Giuseppina Stellato Springfield High-Stakes Testing and English Language Learners
Marco Basiliere Tewksbury Streamlining Initiatives
Lisa Begley Haverhill Strength in Solidarity
Chandler Creedon Franklin Insights from Horace Mann
Kara Dougherty Berkshire The Road to Leadership
Julie Minahan Rockland Increased Communication Through Technology
Lauren Smith Holyoke Organizing the Association to get the Schools Our Students Deserve

Pilot Year Two

Capstone Projects from Pilot Year Two Fellows 

Contact Participant to view completed Capstone Portfolio.

Name Local Association Capstone Project
Karla Anderson Cambridge

Math in Focus Curriculum Support

I designed, built, implemented and provided training for the new K-Lo Math Academy. There is now a link on the school website for students, families and the district community at large to access. On the site there are videos explaining the common core standards for each grade (although we are starting with Grade Four). These videos were student created (see Attachment J). The goal was, student to student learning, along with increased family support through a route they stated they are most comfortable with at this time. Students filmed videos using Explain Everything (http://explaineverything.com/) showing their thinking and giving a tutorial on grade level math skills based on the CCSS and the Math in Focus curriculum. The school community and eventually the district at large have access to this online academy (Grade Four only) by the fall of 2015.

Susan Barry Norwood

Collaborative Technology Integration

Kimberly Bothwell Randolph

School Time for Intervention Strategies

Wendi Cantoreggi Millis

More and Better Learning Time Schedule

Sara Colum Revere

Building Repertoires of Lessons and Collaborative Support

Rebecca Correa Greater Lowell

Summer Reading Program

Brenda Dunn Springfield

EdCAMP/Unconference

My capstone project was to bring an Edcamp/Unconference to Western MA educators. I identified the need for teacher-directed and teacher-led professional development in my district, experienced an Edcamp, and knew it was the answer! Interestingly, my “plan” did not materialize exactly as I had outlined, but instead has taken a life of its own! Individual buildings in Springfield, as well as several of our middle schools are utilizing the model, and teachers are raving about how empowering it feels.

Sarah Floyd Barnstable

Creating Intervention Blocks

Tracy Higgins Fairhaven

Increasing District’s Frequency & Building Rigor of Writing

Michele Lippens Cambridge

Expanding Next Generation Learning, Social Media & Tech

Jennifer Maio Groton Dunstable

Expanding a Culture of Literacy

Dawn Martens Randolph

District Determined Measures

Laura Mullen Hudson

Family Reading Night

Blythe Purdin Nahant

Create a Teacher-Led Professional Learning Community

Robert Erlandsen Cohasset

Holding a local community forum to identify the characteristics parents and teachers want in their schools

Following the model of "Schools our Community Deserves," I organized a local forum for parents on Kingston, MA to help identify the qualities they wanted to see in their local schools. Parents attending were split into small groups with a teacher facilitator to record their ideas. Various topics of safety, academics, etc... were used as prompts. Administrators were present as well as local elected officials to take part and hear the needs of the community. A report summarizing the results was shared with school staff and administration.

Julie Ferreira Taunton

District Determined Measures

Mary Foyle Lunenburg

Policy that will Better Benefit Students

Lorie Banks Holyoke

Fostering Collaboration between Staff and Administration

Elizabeth Hegarty Dedham

Bridging Communication Gap between Board & Members

Kelsey Holbrook Rockland

Create an Atmosphere that Fosters & Empowers Creativity

James Kobialka Worcester

Engaging Members

Lamikco Magee Springfield

Cultural Proficiency Challenge

Nikki Murphy Georgetown

Joining the Negotiation Team

Pilot Year One