Teaching Ambassador Fellowship
The Application Process for the 2016-2017 U.S. Department of Education’s Teaching Ambassador Fellowship is now open and will close on December 14, 2015 at 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time. Only complete applications received by this time and date will be considered for review.
To submit your application: please email the required components (a current resume, five short-essays, and a letter of recommendation from your employer) to TeacherFellowship@ed.gov. Please put the title, “2016 Application” and your last name in your subject line, and indicate whether you are applying for the full-time Washington-based or the part-time Classroom Fellowship. For Example – RE: 2016 Application – Morelle – Washington Fellowship.
Applicants are encouraged to apply for either the full-time Washington-based or the part-time Classroom Fellowship, not both, but are not limited to one or the other. Please note that only currently practicing Preschool-12th grade teachers and instructional coaches/specialists with at least five years of experience are eligible to apply for this program (if the current school year is your fifth year teaching, you are eligible).
A complete application package includes 1) five short essay responses to the question prompts, 2) a current resume, and 3) a letter of recommendation from your employer for this program.
All required materials reflect and will be assessed against the key qualities we seek in selected Teaching Ambassador Fellows, which are:
- Demonstrable Contributions to Student Learning– the extent to which the candidate has had demonstrable and meaningful impact on student achievement and school success;
- Effective Leadership Skills– the extent to which the candidate brings a record of effective leadership and team work amongst peers and other key stakeholders;
- Strong Communication Skills – the extent to which the candidate demonstrates the written and oral communication skills required to serve as a Fellow;
- Other Applicable Skills and Experience – the extent to which the candidate demonstrates experience with the type of roles Fellows are asked to play;
- Relevant Interests and Expertise – the extent to which the candidate can provide applicable insights from school and district experiences to the Department’s education policy, programs, and initiatives; and,
- School System Support – the extent to which the candidate has demonstrable support from their school and district for program participation.
More specifically, a complete application includes:
A. Five Narrative Responses
The applicant must respond to the following five questions with short narrative responses (no more than 500 words or 3500 characters with spaces):
1) Contributions to Student Learning– Describe your effectiveness as an instructor as measured by improved student learning and achievement. Include quantitative and qualitative evidence. Discuss how your unique school context, setting and demographics inform your instruction and your role with in the school community.
2) Leadership Experience– Describe your leadership experience. You may include relevant experience from your personal, educational or professional background. Please provide examples of your approach and style in working with other adults or peers and in teams or settings that may include, for example, other teachers, educational leaders at a variety of school levels, or other key education stakeholders. Discuss how you measure your effectiveness as a leader and factors that have enabled your success.
3) Communication Skills - Describe your experience writing and orally presenting on education issues. Provide examples of the different forums in which you have made presentations or led discourse, and describe the professional networks in which you participate which could serve as potential vehicles for outreach to other teachers. Discuss strategies you have employed to effectively communicate complex or difficult information or to resolve challenges you faced.
4) Other Applicable Skills and Experience – Ambassador Fellows work in a fast-paced and ambiguous environment in which they must quickly focus, digest complex information, and network with a wide variety of education stakeholders. Describe how specific training, academic or other experiences have prepared you for this role. Include specific strategies, tools or resources that have enabled you to be successful in these environments and would serve you in this unique role.
5) Interests and Expertise – Discuss how your experience can help inform the Department’s work and what you hope to gain from the Fellowship. Include relevant experience with Federally-funded or other key initiatives addressing: the transition to college and career ready standards and instruction; support for great teachers and leaders; turning around chronically low- performing schools; or providing access and opportunity for all students from cradle to career.
Highly rated candidates provide succinct but thorough responses addressing each of the sub-components of the question and provide examples demonstrating how the applicant meets the above criteria. Applications are peer-reviewed as a whole package. While information found in any part of the application will be considered in the review, applicants are encouraged to clearly demonstrate how they meet the criteria outlined in each question and may repeat information as is necessary to do so.
B. An Employer Letter of Recommendation
Teaching Ambassador Fellows learn a great deal about Federal policy and programs during their year. In turn, they are asked to share this information with other teachers and stakeholders, including those in their own school communities, as well as to provide feedback to the Department of Education (ED) based on their own experience and what they hear from colleagues in the field. As the Fellowship is designed to be of mutual benefit to the Department and the participant’s school community, the program is conducted through the Federal Government’s Intergovernmental Personnel Act Authority (IPA). School and district support for Teaching Ambassador Fellowship participation is thus an essential component for program participation.
The required employer letter should indicate an understanding of the requirements of participation in the Fellowship program and specifically recommend you for the program. The letter must be on letterhead and signed in order to be considered. Letters may be written by a principal or a district leader, but must indicate the writer’s willingness to support the candidate in ascertaining a signed IPA Agreement if selected for the program.
Please note: Recommenders do not need to submit any paperwork at this point or guarantee IPA approval. Rather, the employer letter should demonstrate a willingness by the candidate’s supervisor to assist in ultimately gaining district approval for the IPA should they be selected.
Information in the letter that supports or bolsters your narrative responses on any of the topics above will be taken into account in the review process. Highly rated submissions speak to specific ways in which the applicant is a valued member of the school’s community and ways in which the writer or larger school community will enable the candidate’s program participation.
C. A Current Resume
A resume is required for all Federal candidates. It should at a minimum provide current and best contact information, clearly indicate the current school and district in which you serve, and verify that you have taught for at least five years (including the current school year). Resumes are required to verify eligibility; however, information within one’s resume is used to validate and enhance reviewers’ understanding of information contained within your narrative responses. Note: All personably identifiable information shared through this process will be secured and used for application review and follow-up communication alone.
How Applications Are Evaluated
All applications are screened for eligibility and reviewed by teams of current and alumni Fellows and Department staff members who have been or work closely on issues of concern to educators.
Applications are rated and scored on a 100point scale according the criteria listed above. The most highly rated applicants may be asked to participate in telephone and potentially in-person interview processes.
All applicants will be notified throughout the process about their progress in the Fellowship application and selection process.