The US Department of Education is now accepting applications for its Teacher Ambassador Fellowship program.
Through a belief that teachers should have the opportunity to contribute to the policies that operate around them concerning their students and school communities, the program offers a better understanding of the policies and a chance to become a part of the outcomes. The main goal of the program is to “improve education for students by involving teachers in the development and implementation of national education policy.”
According to the DOE’s website, the mission of the fellowship is to create a community of teacher leaders who offer their knowledge and work with policymakers on education issues; get teachers involved in policies that effect their classrooms; and offer teachers more leadership pertaining to policies at the national, state and local levels.
The program employs a number of teachers who will use their own experiences within the classroom to develop a national dialogue with other educators across the country. Fellows will gain a greater knowledge of educational policy and leadership that will allow them to aid in creating solutions for all educational challenges.
Those chosen will participate in the program for a year, gaining knowledge pertaining to federal programs and policies. The fellows will share any knowledge they have with federal staff members, and communicate their knowledge pertaining to federal policies with other educators on behalf of the DOE.
Since the program began in 2008, 87 teachers have become fellows, 25 of whom served as full-time Washington Fellows and 62 as part-time Classroom Fellows, continuing to work as teachers while they also work with the DOE.
The Washington Fellowship is a full-time position where teachers serve as federal employees in Washington, DC for one school year. Fellows work on education programs and policies within offices in the DOE, offering their classroom knowledge and expertise, collaborating to offer outreach for other teachers, while increasing their knowledge of education policies to share with other teachers.
The Classroom Fellowship allows teachers to keep teaching as they work part-time for the DOE for one school year. These fellows mainly share information with other teachers and create dialogues with educators across the district, state and region. They offer their classroom knowledge to the DOE while working with other fellows to offer outreach for teachers, while learning about educational policies and programs in order to share this knowledge with other teachers.
All fellows work together on common goals. Secretary Arne Duncan praised the program:
“I am grateful to the outstanding teachers who have worked with us as Teaching Ambassador Fellows. Teachers and principals working with students are the stars of the show in education. Our Fellows push us to better reflect and support educators as they work to help students succeed.”