In the wake of COVID-19 challenges and our collective refocusing on deep-rooted racism in reaction to the brutal murders of George Floyd and too many other Black people, many fellow educators are looking for resources and support. If there is a silver lining amidst all the tragedy that surrounds us, it is that we are spurred to action. Educators see a renewed commitment to creating just environments where all students can live and learn without fear of racism, discrimination, harassment and violence. It’s time to provide more support for teachers as they navigate these important times.

This moment has brought into sharp focus the inequities in support for teachers and students that were already pervasive in our schools, as well as the need to help teachers through this time and beyond. That’s why the Better Together: California Teachers Initiative is sharing five years of insights in a newly released retrospective learning brief to inspire policymakers, professional learning providers and teachers to consider new approaches to professional learning.

The brief is based on a study from the Center for Research on Educational Access and Leadership (C-REAL) at CSU Fullerton and included a survey of 179 Better Together participants and teachers, as well as participant interviews to examine the short and long-term outcomes and best practices for teacher professional learning and leadership development. Click here to read the full research report by C-REAL.

The Better Together: California Teachers Initiative connected 37,000 teachers from across the state for peer-to-peer learning, culminating in a statewide day of learning led by teachers, for teachers. The Initiative consisted of two parts. First, the Summit: Better Together’s statewide day of learning offered a unique opportunity for California’s Pre-K–12 teachers, teacher candidates, school administrators and other educators to come together on college and university campuses to collaborate, re-energize ahead of the new school year and become part of an ongoing teacher network. The Summit enabled teachers to share the latest strategies and resources with colleagues across their region to improve teaching and learning in their classrooms. All Better Together activities were open to all educators in the state and free of charge.

Thank you to all the teachers who participated as well as the partnering college and universities, outreach partners, teacher advisory and sponsors, who made this possible.