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DC Education Innovation Fellowship: Teachers as Innovators

Together with the CityBridge Foundation in Washington, DC, NewSchools launched the Education Innovation Fellowship program in 2013.  This yearlong program introduces teacher leaders to the most promising innovations in personalized learning and offers them opportunities to pilot personalized learning models in their schools.  The Fellowship program includes local and national school visits, workshops, seminars, guest speakers, and technology demonstrations.  Fellows design and lead personalized learning pilot programs during the summer and expand them in their classrooms and schools over the following school year. 

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The first 3 cohorts have included 54 Fellows who are current teachers in DCPS and DC public charter schools.  Fellows in these cohorts cut across all subjects and grade levels – including ninth grade Physics, fifth grade Latin and middle school special education – proving that personalized learning is possible in every classroom. These teachers reflect on their learning in real-time through the Education Innovation D.C. blog

The Fellowship program has become a launching point for many DC teachers to drive innovation in their schools, and a proof point that teacher leaders are critical change agents in creating student-centered classrooms. Many of the current and former Fellows teach at schools that have won grants through Breakthrough Schools: DC, and are playing leadership roles in designing transformative whole-school models. Former Fellows have also become thought leaders in the space and continue to share what they learn through speaking engagements, including Shane Donovan and Tanesha Dixon, who recreated model classrooms at our 2014 Summit. We are inspired by the pioneering spirit of all Fellows, as they seek new ways to reinvent their classrooms in order to help each of their students achieve success.

In February, the 2015 Fellows kicked off their school visits with a week in California, visiting innovative schools in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. I was lucky enough to attend and learn alongside them as a program adviser.  I will join the Fellows on their second study trip this week, to Chicago.  You can track our journey on the blog or by following @CityBridgeFdn on Twitter. For more about the Fellowship itself, visit the CityBridge Foundation website.

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