By Maria Cook
Westfield teacher Alyssa McCool was recently named a fellow of the Indiana Teaching Policy Fellowship. During the fellowship, McCool, along with 19 others, will take part in a course focused on policy and advocacy. The course helps educators develop skills to influence change in educational policy for Hoosier students.
McCool has taught for more than 25 years at Westfield Washington Schools. She teaches first grade at Washington Woods Elementary. She said she was encouraged to apply for the Indiana Teaching Policy Fellowship by Washington Woods Principal Tom Hakim and that it will help her have a greater impact on Indiana educational policy.
“I became a teacher because I can’t imagine anything better than spending the day with kids and helping them reach their full potential as leaders and as people,” McCool said. “The fellowship gives teachers a voice in helping to shape educational policy and an opportunity to dive deeply into how educational policy is made. I have always been interested in policy-making, but the fellowship is a structured way to become knowledgeable of and involved in the process.”
McCool said fellows have influenced policy changes in areas of social emotional learning, teacher compensation and career ladders, among others.
“Our fellowship cohort will be defining our specific direction in terms of areas of concentration and working groups next month,” she said. “Our work will benefit students and teachers state wide, but my students will experience direct benefits from my continued growth as an individual, an educator and as a teacher leader. When I get better, they get better.”