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Montgomery County educators head to Denver to share lessons of success

Collaboration model to be highlighted at national labor-management conference


WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Education is asking local union leaders and school district officials from Montgomery County, Md., to share the secrets of their success at a national conference focused on improving student achievement through labor-management collaboration.

While collaboration between teachers’ unions and school districts is getting some long-overdue recognition these days, members of the Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA) and Montgomery County Public Schools have been working together to boost student achievement for more than a decade.

One of the biggest school transformations has occurred at Broad Acres Elementary School in Silver Spring, Md., which went from being one of the county’s lowest performing schools to one of its top schools in just three years.

Innovative Union-District Approach
Thanks to the collaborative efforts of a union-district partnership at Broad Acres, 93 percent of its fourth-grade African American students achieved math proficiency. Math score improvement was better than any other school in Montgomery County.

“When something works to transform a low-performing public school into a place of academic success, we need to share what we have learned,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.  “It’s been happening successfully at schools across the country, and it’s time for these small victories to ignite a movement that spreads like wildfire.”

It’s those victories—like Broad Acres, which even resulted in one of its own staff members being named as a National Teacher of the Year—that education officials are hoping will spread when the conference convenes February 15-16 in Denver.

MCEA President Doug Prouty says that collaboration between the local union and the school system led to a concrete focus on professional growth and development for all staff.

“We take the quality of teaching and learning seriously, so we jointly created and implemented a thorough, meaningful and transparent evaluation system that ensures intensive support for all new and underperforming teachers,” said Prouty.  “These elements of our professional growth system have increased both accountability and outcomes.”

Historic National Conference
MCEA is one of more than 70 NEA affiliates participating in the Conference on Advancing Student Achievement through Labor-Management Collaboration. Forty-seven of the attending affiliates are represented jointly by NEA and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). The event is sponsored by the Department of Education in partnership with NEA, AFT and other education organizations.

“We thank the Department of Education for hosting a conference that will showcase union-district collaboration and success,” added Van Roekel.  “When unions and school districts share with others how they worked together for better solutions that help students succeed, we’re onto something.”

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2  million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.


CONTACT: Staci Maiers, NEA Public Relations (202) 822-7823,


Collaboration Results in Transformation

(click below for video)