woman pointing to poster for two viewers

Teacher Leadership Academy

By Fargo Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Dr. Rachael Agre

Fargo Public Schools (FPS) partnered with the NDSU Educational Leadership faculty in a collaborative leadership effort to deliver an 18-month, high-caliber, field-based leadership academy for interested teachers, entitled the Fargo Public Schools Teacher Leadership Academy (FPS-TLA). The participants will receive a Masters of Education degree upon their successful conclusion of the academy later this month, and may choose to take an additional six credits beyond the FPS-TLA to pursue their North Dakota principal’s credential.

Teacher leadership is defined as the process by which teachers influence their colleagues, principals, and other members of the school community to improve teaching and learning practices with the aim of increased student learning and achievement.

FPS-TLA began work with the District Strategic Goals and cross-walked them with the Teacher Leader Model Standards. The five semesters of coursework were a combination of theory and practice (issues, problems, and opportunities for leadership from a teaching position), a spiraling curriculum, and highly relevant to the work of the Fargo Public School District. The team developed activities that aligned with the Leadership Domains, but were also part of District initiatives. For example, participants received training in Strengths Based Leadership, professional learning communities, district and state policy, technology integration, informal and formal speaking and writing, and coaching conversations.

man presents to three onlookers in crowded hallwayIn addition, participants conducted an action research project, which included an academic research poster. On the evening of April 25, the Fargo Public Schools Teacher Leadership Academy participants engaged school board members, building and District-level staff, and invited guests and family members to view formal poster presentations to share their research.

woman points to poster for onlookerThe poster presentations were modeled after the actual process that university faculty go through when they prepare for and present a poster at an academic conference. To help the students visualize and practice the poster presentation process, the students created a poster based on their action research proposal, and the April 25 presentation was a mock academic conference held upstairs at the Fargo Public Schools District Office.

3 women present in front of a conference room to 3 seated individualsThere were 13 separate FPS-TLA poster presentations spread out across the second floor space, with more than 75 guests, including Fargo Public Schools administrators and teachers, Fargo School Board members, NDSU administrators and educators, and even interested teachers from West Fargo Public Schools, who will begin their own Teacher Leadership Academy next fall.

The 2017 FPS-TLA poster presentations included:

Name Action Research Study Title
Amber Diemert
Lewis & Clark Elementary
The Effect of Moderate Physical Activity on Academic Achievement in Third Grade Students
Jackie Donner
Ed Clapp Elementary
Effects of School-Wide Implementation of the Add+VantageMR® Program on 4th Grade
Jon Dondoneau
South High School
The Effects of Applying a Restorative Practices Approach to a High School Special Education Population
Cheryl Bombenger
Clara Barton Elementary
Using Short Academic Songs to Improve Learning
Hunter Reinke
Davies High School
Effects of Standing Desks on Behavior and Physical Movement
in the ILC Classroom
Ryan Pierce
Davies High School
Effects of the use of Communication Tools for Non-Traditional PLCs in Technology and Engineering
Sarah Gress-Winter
Horace Mann/Roosevelt Elem
The Effect of Number Sense Mini Lessons in the Classroom
Kyle Christofferson
Carl Ben Eielson Middle School
Communicating and Collaborating in a Global Environment
Anna Senn
Centennial Elementary
Opening Our Doors: Introducing Learning Walks at the Elementary Level
Angie Larson
South High School
Effects of Interactive Science Notebooks on Student Organization, Achievement and Self-Efficacy
Lindsay Seelig, Jenna Johnson, and Heather Sinkler
Davies High School
Improving School Culture Through a Faculty Book Club
Beth Olson and Shawn Nelson
Kennedy Elementary
Behavioral Effects on Non-Traditional Classroom Furniture


Erin Kaluza and Sarah George
Ed Clapp Elementary
The Effects of the Growth Mindset on Student Math Achievement

The Fargo Public Schools Teacher Leadership Academy students will be officially graduating alongside other NDSU scholars on May 13. If you see any of these new graduates, please be certain to congratulate them on this accomplishment and a job well done!