Miller-Driscoll teacher selected for Connecticut Dream Team

Miller-Driscoll science resource and second grade teacher Jane Giresi has been named one of 97 Connecticut teachers selected for the Connecticut Dream Team.

The  State Department of Education (SDE) announced the selected teachers, who hail from 86 different elementary, middle and high schools, in a press release on Wednesday, April 16.

According to the SDE's April 16 press release, the teachers were chosen based on their "content knowledge, grit, and understanding of the Common Core State Standards" and "commitment and ability to 'scale their impact' beyond their classroom."

As part of the Dream Team, Ms. Giresi that will take part in TeachFest Connecticut, an intensive professional learning session on the Common Core State Standards.

“TeachFest will provide teachers with the opportunity to collaborate and innovate as they develop high-quality Common Core resources to be shared with their colleagues," said SDE Commissioner Stefan Pryor. "Participants will also serve as teacher leaders in future Common Core-related events and activities."

According to the SDE press release, the selected participants teach "a wide spectrum of different grade levels, with 60 specializing in English language arts and 37 in mathematics."

The Connecticut Dream Team will meet in Hartford, April 25-27 for TeachFest Connecticut to celebrate teaching and participate in an intensive, structured working session facilitated by LearnZillion, provider of digital curriculum and professional development for the Common Core.

Eric Westendorf, CEO of LearnZillion, said Connecticut teachers' response to TeachFest "has been wonderful."

"We're excited to support the SDE's commitment to teachers by sharing our high-energy, rigorous and practical approach to developing exceptional instructional practice with the Connecticut Dream Team," aid Mr. Westendorf.

Following TeachFest, the Connecticut Dream Team members will return to their schools and continue working with peers and content coaches in facilitated online professional learning communities, during which they will "translate their proven teaching methods and classroom expertise into high-quality Common Core resources for use by teachers in Connecticut," according to the SDE press release.

These Common Core resources will also be available on and made available through a free Common Core resource library available to teachers nationwide.

The Connecticut Dream Team will later serve as teacher leaders for the Common Core Fest on July 29, which will be held for hundreds of teachers statewide.

"We applaud all of the teachers who stepped up and volunteered to serve in this important role. Their firsthand classroom experience will be invaluable in helping their colleagues effectively implement Common Core — an effort that has been a significant challenge for so many of our state's schools," said AFT Connecticut President Melodie Peters.

"Classroom educators were among the first to speak out and urge that their voices be heard in making new teaching standards work when they were adopted four years ago. This effort reflects a major step forward for implementing the core set of standards because it empowers teachers to train teachers."

The full list of the Connecticut Dream Team teachers can be viewed here.