Our Mission is to grow, sustain, and retain a vibrant group of professional teachers in Baltimore who: mutually support each other's teaching practice; influence local school reform policy through public debates and publications; and jointly create work environments that encourage true teacher leadership and on-going innovation.
Our Longstanding History
The Baltimore Teachers Network was founded in 1998 by a group of teachers and administrators associated with the Resident Teacher Program. They recognized the political nature of their work and the need for teacher support that was based on the experience of teachers and their classrooms.
During the summer of 1998, founding members created an office, applied for 501c3 status, and started hosting professional development sessions for teachers. We have since hosted trainings and workshops on everything from grading software to networking school designers and teachers. One group that met around "small schools" gave birth to the design of ConneXions charter school in West Baltimore. Other founding members have since asked BTN to sponsor a second charter school called Independence School, Local 1.
At BTN our issues and discussion topics emerge organically from our members' contributions within our online community.
We operate under the following conceptual frame:
We are committed to public schools as a critical element of democratic society and believe that one of the solutions to inequity in education lies in making clear the ways in which the fates of all children in Baltimore City and surrounding counties are intertwined, crossing segregated residential and cultural boundaries, and engaging in explicit conversation around power, race, and class.
Students who are educated both holistically and within the context of their own history and community (both geographic and cultural) gain a healthier, long-term, critical approach to future life choices and possibilities. The learning experiences in the school should acknowledge this in building inductive, challenging, socially based, authentic, and relevant activities.
Empowered, trusted teachers help to grow empowered, trusted students. Empowered (teachers have a voice in decision-making not only in their own classroom but also across the school as a whole regarding a wide range of issues including discipline, curriculum, assessment, budget, hiring, and scheduling. They are expected to engage in their own continuous learning both individually and as a community.
Valuable student outcomes cannot be effectively measured using only numeric, test- based metrics. Assessment of student success and educational quality must include measures of qualitative characteristics such as social awareness, civic responsibility, artistic awareness, and the ability to learn through reflection and collaboration.