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Building Educator Led Community Schools

Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA) is the largest teachers union local in the state of Wisconsin. MTEA’s campaign to promote and expand community schools and improve our professional practice in those schools is a key component of the union’s efforts to promote public schools and oppose privatization.

Currently, MTEA’s Center for Teaching, Learning and Public Education leads the work around Community Schools and is proud to host the Community Schools Institute. This Institute is a three and a half day training that will provide participants with an opportunity to engage in an interactive adult learning environment focused on developing campaigns to grow and sustain high quality community schools and developing the organizing and social justice frames to build membership and union strength.

Participants will work through numerous skills and theories in an interactive classroom setting while also having a chance to practice these skills with colleagues from affiliates throughout the country.
Participants will leave the training with a demonstrated understanding and action plan around:

  • The narrative of community schools, how to win them and how to implement them;
  • Building the fight against privatization by owning the school transformation space;
  • Organizing for the Six Pillars and Four Mechanisms;
  • A concrete strategy for their worksite, including building a stakeholder board/organizing committee with members, community groups, parents, admin, and students that moves the campaign forward.

Affiliate members, leaders, staff, community members, and school administration are encouraged to attend as teams with three to five members. Each participant should come with a commitment to advance a project in their organization. Participants will be expected to share their progress and success after the training.

As a condition of being accepted to participate in the Institute, participants agree to share their organizing plan, dedicate resources to implement the plan, and provide reports on the team's progress. One of the Institute’s signature supports is to continue a relationship post-training to ensure the success of local organizing programs.

Cost: NEA will cover the cost of hotel for four nights (Oct. 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th, checking out on Oct. 8th), breakfast and lunch during the training, and program materials. All additional costs are the responsibility of the participant.

This training is limited to 30 participants.

All potential participants must fill out an interest assessment using the following link:

The process also requires a letter of support. Details are explained in the online form.

The deadline for submitting interest assessments is 5:00 PM ET on Aug. 21st. Selected participants will be notified by Aug 28th.

Please do not make travel arrangements until you receive a letter of acceptance.

Teams of Community School activists from member locals are eligible to attend. Teams may include union members, affiliate staff, community members, and administration. A local affiliate may send a team of no more than five. We encourage careful, intentional consideration of the make-up of teams and attention should be given to establishing a team that reflects diversity in ethnicity, gender, age, and roles and responsibilities.

NEA will fund individual participants and local teams of up to five. If space is available and the affiliate assumes the expense, additional team members may be welcomed.

The training will take place Thursday, Oct. 5th through Sunday, Oct. 8th at the MTEA/Center Office in Milwaukee, WI.

NEA will provide funding for individuals and affiliate teams consisting of up to five. The funding will cover the hotel costs, breakfast, lunch and snacks on days the Institute is in session, program materials, and transportation from the hotel to the MTEA/Center Office.

All additional travel costs are the responsibility of the affiliate and are not covered by NEA.
Participants are expected to cover their own flight and transportation costs.

Participants will be expected to arrive on Wednesday, Oct. 4th. The training concludes on Sunday, Oct. 8th at approximately 12:00pm CT. Participants should plan travel home on Oct. 8th after 2 PM.

Again, please do not make travel arrangements until you receive an acceptance letter.


  • October 5th, 6th, and 7th – 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
  • October 8th – 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
    Participants should plan their departure no earlier than 2:00 PM.



Foundations of Organizing for Local Strength
Host – East Baton Rouge Parish Association of Educators
Offered: October 4–7, 2017
Future Trainings:
November 15–18, 2017
February 28–March 3, 2018

Hihglights from the campaign victory that the Feb and March 2015 Organizing Campaign Launch Training teams worked on with the Loudoun Education Association (LEA). Both helped LEA achieve their first fully funded county-wide school budget since 2001.


"Thanks for including team participants from across several NEA Regions. The briefing and use of the MiniVan, as an organizing tool, was extremely helpful. Also, the Reception with the EBRAE local leaders the night before the school site visits was very helpful for volunteers as we prepared to enter buildings."

" This was one of the best Institutes that I have attended in the last year. I am grateful that my team was selected and even more grateful for the information and strategies that I can share with current leaders and with leaders yet to be identified."

"I have worked in UniServ for more than 20 years and I was energized and engaged. The trainers were knowledgeable and entertaining--important qualities in training adults! Thanks for the experience."

"This was a wonderful opportunity for me to learn and to train with a member from my district. I greatly enjoyed learning about education and educator issues in LA. This knowledge will help me forming ways to approach issues in my own state."

"Very interesting experience. The Presenters were well prepared and this made the experience very helpful. LET'S DO IT AGAIN!"

"This experience was wonderfully organized and everyone did a great job presenting."

"My hope is that we remember the collective energy that we felt from this experience and project it to inspire our states and locals to create positive and necessary change."

"My hope is that we can draw on this experience for energy as we move forward to build power and create change in our communities back home. I imagine a world in which teachers are respected, trusted, and empowered to educate the whole child."

"My hope is for us for everyone who has attended the training to keep the fight. Don't lose your momentum. Even if you encounter hick ups. Know that what you are doing is worth the fight."