MetLife Foundation Supports NCTAF Initiative on Teamwork in Schools (December 7, 2006)

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Through Grant, NCTAF Partners with Local PBS Stations to Spotlight Promising Practices

WASHINGTON  December 6, 2006 - The National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (NCTAF) today announced that it received a $450,000 grant from MetLife Foundation to showcase promising practices of teamwork in public schools. By developing a series of forums and video vignettes with local PBS stations, NCTAF will spotlight ways in which collaboration transforms school culture and improves student achievement.

The initiative calls attention to the need to shift teachers from the practice of working in isolation to working collectively to support student learning. NCTAF believes this is important for the advancement of the teaching profession and helping teachers and students meet the academic and workforce demands of the 21st Century.

"It is time to abandon the factory-era model of teaching and make way for the creative spirit and productive power of teamwork in our schools," said NCTAF President Tom Carroll. "It is important that we dismiss the assumption that a stand-alone teacher working in isolation can achieve success for all students."

According to NCTAF, schools in which educators work in collaborative learning teams consistently deliver the greatest gains among students. These schools also typically demonstrate strong leadership, shared responsibility among teachers, ongoing professional development opportunities, and strong parental involvement.

"Supportive relationships are important factors in retaining teachers and ensuring student success," said Sibyl Jacobson, president of MetLife Foundation. "NCTAF is well positioned to promote the importance of collaboration and support in creating teams that enhance teaching and learning in our schools."

NCTAF will convene the forums at local PBS stations around the country to discuss the learning team concept with policymakers, educators and community stakeholders, and address issues including leadership development and teacher retention strategies. The stations involved in the initiative are Albuquerque, N.M. (KNME), Bloomington, Ind. (WTIU), Boston (WGBH) and Nashville, Tenn. (NPT). In addition, NCTAF will work with these stations to develop and broadcast video vignettes of schools that model the learning team approach, showcasing successful programs in some of the nation's most challenged school systems.

"This collaboration with NCTAF presents some very exciting opportunities for both PBS and the local stations taking part in this groundbreaking educational initiative," said Mary Kadera, PBS vice president for education. "PBS and our local stations work to improve education, and NCTAF's initiative will have a profound, long-lasting impact on teachers and their work."

"While the mass media has featured compelling stories celebrating collaborative teamwork in business, sports, medicine, law, and entrepreneurial ventures, there is virtually no portrayal of the new face of teamwork in education," said Carroll. "We want to shine a light on some of the promising practices in schools to have a viral effect on districts around the country."

### The National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (NCTAF) is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. NCTAF is dedicated to providing every child with competent, caring, qualified teaching in schools organized for success. With a network of 23 partner states and links to professional educational organizations across the nation, NCTAF provides leadership on innovation and improvement in teaching and learning in America's schools. For more information, visit NCTAF's website: www.nctaf.org.

MetLife Foundation supports programs that increase opportunities for young people to succeed, give students and teachers a voice in improving education, create connections between schools and communities and develop leadership. The Foundation works with national nonprofit organizations to develop a variety of programs, many of which address issues raised each year in The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher. For more information about the MetLife Foundation, please visit www.metlife.org.


Karen Abercrombie

Director of Communications & Public Policy Outreach, NCTAF

(202) 464-1945


Kevin Dando

Director, Education and Online Communications, PBS

(703) 739-5073