Great Teacher Initiative

One of the community's recommendations at the Education Summit was to have a great teacher in every classroom to ensure student learning.  To that end, Education Matters is sponsoring a series of symposiums that is exploring how to achieve this goal. 

Symposium #1:
Exploration of Great Teaching & Great Teachers

April 25 - 26, 2013

The kick-off symposium involved over 55 invited stakeholders representing the community, Anchorage School District, state and local education policy makers, teachers, public and private school leaders, University of Alaska Anchorage faculty and students, and Alaska Pacific University.

The symposium's goals were to:

  • Develop an agenda for learning and action to ensure high quality teaching in every Anchorage classroom;
  • Identify steps to recruit and retain the best teachers and create a situation where teaching is valued, the environment is good, and the community is engaged;
  • Focus on the role of the community in improving the quaity of teaching and with it, student outcomes.

To better understand what success "looks like" elsewhere, we invited speakers from two countries with exceptional student performance--Finland and Singapore--to learn more about their respective models for training teachers:

  • Pasi Sahlberg, Ph.D., Director General of Finland's Ministry of Education and Culture; and
  • Ee-Ling Low, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Programme and Student Development, Singapore's National Institute of Education.

In addition, we invited an education policy researcher to provide insight into what research says about the qualities and characteristics that should define quality teaching and the Anchorage School District's work in this area:

  • Dan Goldhaber, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Education Data & Research; Professor in Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington Bothell;
  • Ed Graff, Anchorage School District Superintendent

The Proceedings: Day One

The following provides links to view videos of the proceedings, download handouts, and access to other background information shared with participants.

  • Opening Remarks 
    • Cheryl Frasca, Executive Director, Education Matters, Inc.
    • Don Winchester, Vice-Chairman, Education Matters, Inc. Board of Directors
    • Ed Graff, Superintendent, Anchorage School District
  • Panel 1:  International Models of Excellence in Teaching: Lessons from Finland and Singapore

    • Ee-Ling Low, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Programme and Student Development, National Institute of Education, Singapore
    • Pasi Sahlberg, Ph.D., Director General, Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland
    • Participant Questions and Answers with Speakers

The Proceedings: Day Two

  • Reflections on day one's discussion, review of agenda for day two (view video)
  • Panel 2: Identifying and Supporting Quality Teaching in the U.S. and Anchorage
  • Identify Qualities and Characteristics that Should Define Quality Teaching in Anchorage Ttable Discussions
  • Identifying Resources Needed to Accomplish Key Steps/Closimg Comments
  • Closing Comments by Participants

Additional Information

Final report from Symposium #1


List of participants

A Model Lesson, by Dr. Pasi Sahlberg

Lessons from Finland, by Dr. Pasi Sahlberg

Bios of Presenters

Data about Anchorage and Alaska Teachers, compiled by Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, ISER, UAA