We know from research that investing in the development of teacher leadership results in gains in student learning, increases in their own capacity, and bolsters the culture of their school systems. We also know that teachers have unique insights on what is most effective in their classrooms, schools, and districts but this expertise isn’t always tapped as policies and regulations are made. That’s why we are supporting Teach Plus to launch the Rhode Island Teaching Policy Fellowship, a highly selective leadership opportunity for outstanding middle and high school teachers in Rhode Island looking to share and deepen their knowledge around student-centered learning and gain a voice in decisions that affect their students and the teaching profession. By connecting with peers from across the state, educators will be empowered to become part of a larger movement of teacher leaders mobilizing around top issues impacting the teaching profession nationwide. We have seen examples of teachers influencing local, state, and federal policymaking across the country and believe that Rhode Island based teachers can have that same impact in leading the state towards providing a student-centered, rigorous, high-quality education that prepares all students, regardless of income or background, for success in the 21st century.
“Rhode Island has already taken many steps to transform education throughout the state; but at this critical moment an infusion of teacher advocates will amplify progress already made…”
Throughout the program, Fellows will receive extensive training on policy, advocacy, and storytelling to build their understanding about how education policy can act as a lever for student success and develop their skills in community organizing, writing op-eds and speaking to the media, providing public testimony, and more. They will dive in and explore key topics that impact their work and their students such as student-centered learning, assessment of learning, and teacher preparation. They will then have the opportunity to lead in real ways at the policy level by engaging directly with key education stakeholders and policy makers to shape and advocate for policies that meet the needs of their students. Rhode Island has already taken many steps to transform education throughout the state; but at this critical moment an infusion of teacher advocates will amplify progress already made and deepen the spread of student-centered approaches so that all Rhode Island students are graduating ready for success in college and career.
While opportunities like this are incredibly valuable, it can often be challenging to balance them with the demands of being a teacher.
Teach Plus fully recognizes this and works to make sure teachers can stay focused on their classroom by using a blended learning approach, with monthly sessions held virtually, after school, or during the weekend. If this opportunity to step up as a leader interests you, I strongly encourage you to apply! Also, please pass along this information to any outstanding teachers you may know.
Teach Plus is looking for Rhode Island middle or high school teachers with at least two full years of teaching experience who have demonstrated interest in student-centered learning and are ready to dedicate their time and passion to learning about policy and advocating on behalf of changes that impact their students (though no prior policy experience is required). We at Nellie Mae are extremely excited to watch the participating teachers develop their skills and step forward as advocates for student-centered learning.
Learn more about the application process here.