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Teacher Fellowship Opportunities

”At the end of the year, 100 percent of the teachers wanted to continue. We were overwhelmed with the response.” (Kristen Watkins)

Overview

Challenge: How to provide peer-supported opportunities for teachers to engage in personalized learning practice.

Context: In Dallas ISD, TX, the team leading personalization in the district created an Innovation in Teaching Fellowship for teachers who are looking for a more formal and supported way to boost their instructional practice.

Action Steps: The 10-month fellowship contains the following components:

  • The “Reimagining the Classroom” design sprint in June where fellows use design thinking to make a personal plan of action for the year.
  • Access to books, playlists and webinars in design thinking, blended, and project-based learning.
  • An online discussion forum for peer-to-peer communication.
  • Ongoing professional development sessions throughout the year.
  • Learning excursions to innovative schools, both in Dallas and in other parts of the country.
  • A “Fellowship Showcase” in March to share insights, trade practices, and celebrate as a community.

Kristen Watkins, Director of Personalized Learning, explained that one of the most important parts of the fellowship is protecting their experience so that they are able to practice new strategies before sharing their learning with others. “We wanted to make sure that their principals weren’t asking them to lead professional development on new practices before they were truly ready.” Instead, fellows who were eager to lead professional development after the fellowship received continued support through a community of practice.

For examples of other teacher fellowship programs focused on blended and personalized learning, see the Fulton County Vanguard and the Highlander Institute’s Fuse Fellow programs, both created to develop teacher-leader pipelines.

Additional Examples: