What is a VIVA Teachers Idea Exchange?

An Idea Exchange is an online platform for getting input on education policy directly from classroom teachers. The first stage involves an open invitation to a group of teachers (for example, all public school classroom professionals in a certain district or all members of a statewide teachers union) to share their ideas and solutions for a specific education policy question. The discussion is open 24/7 so teachers can join in when they have a few minutes to spare. A teacher can post an idea, comment on someone else’s idea, or vote an idea up or down. After this collaborative brainstorming, a small group of teachers, identified based on the intensity of their participation, measured by a formula built into the website, are invited to join a Writing Collaborative tasked with distilling the full group’s ideas into a set of actionable recommendations and workable solutions. During the third and final phase, members of the Writing Collaborative deliver their ideas directly to a public policy official with the power and interest to make change.

How can I participate in a VIVA Teachers Idea Exchange?

Sign up to receive email invitations and we will invite you the next time we operate a VIVA Teachers Idea Exchange in your state, district, or organization We also run national exchanges from time to time. You can also take a look at the VIVA Teacher reports completed by previous VIVA Teacher Idea Exchange members and contact us to find out how to get involved in making their recommendations reality.

What issues have previous VIVA Teachers Idea Exchanges dealt with?

VIVA Teachers have issued recommendations on implementation of the Common Core, principal evaluation, teacher evaluation, the length of the school day, closing the achievement gap, and teacher preparation.

What decision makers have listened to VIVA Teachers’ ideas for change?

As of September 2012, VIVA Teacher Writing Collaborative members have had personal meetings with: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassilus, New York Education Commissioner John Hurt, Arizona Superintendent John Huppenthal, and Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard.

Have VIVA Teachers Idea Exchanges made a difference?

Yes! Every Idea Exchange has had an impact, from altering the school year in Chicago to changing the way Arizona is implementing the Common Core State Standards.

Can I be involved with VIVA Teachers even if I don’t participate in a VIVA Teachers Idea Exchange?

We are always looking to stay in touch with VIVA Teacher Leaders. Here are four options; choose one or all of them:

  1. Connect with us on any of our social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest
  2. Send us a blog post. We want to be the place for classroom teachers to be heard by the wider world. We’ll also help you write an OpEd or Letter to the Editor for your local paper and will promote it in all our networks.
  3. Sign up on our email list, and tell us how you want to stay in touch. Sign up for our weekly email blast.
  4. Contact our CEO, eevans@vivalistens.org




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