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Teaching Ambassador Fellowship

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Administrative Issues for Selected Fellows

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  1. How does the payment and compensation structure for the program work?
  2. What is an Intergovernmental Personnel Act Agreement?
  3. Can I see an example IPA Agreement?
  4. When in the application and selection process is the IPA negotiated?
  5. What does a background investigation and credit check include?
  6. Where do Washington Fellows live during the Fellowship year?
  7. When do Classroom Fellows complete their part-time work? Is it in addition to their full-time teaching positions?
  8. Do Classroom Fellows take personal days for travel or is there a substitute subsidy?
  9. Is there a loss of service time for Washington Fellows?

1. How does the payment and compensation structure for the program work?

Washington and Classroom Fellows receive compensation for Fellowship work at approximately the GS-13 level. Exact levels of compensation may vary somewhat based on locality and previous experience. Washington Fellows work a 40-hour weekly schedule as temporary employees. Washington Fellows may also receive a subsistence allowance during their assignment in Washington, D.C. During negotiation for the Intergovernmental Personnel Act agreement, the Department will seek to minimize disruption to participants' benefits.

Classroom Fellows work approximately 20-40  hours per month on Fellowship activities outside of their regular teaching contracts. They are paid at an hourly wage as Special Government Employees under the Intergovernmental Personnel Agreement. During negotiation of the Interagency Personnel Agreement (see Question 2), the Department will seek district support for limited release time to participate in Fellowship activities.

In order to ensure equity across Fellows and to enable a range of teachers’ participation in this temporary program, the Teaching Ambassador Fellows are compensated with a total package at a level that is at least commensurate to or above their current compensation. The Department will work with selected Fellows and sending schools/districts to maintain as much continuity as possible for the Fellow in benefits while also ensuring health benefit coverage.

Further information about the federal payment scale is available on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management website at: http://www.opm.gov/oca/10tables/indexGS.asp.

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2. What is an Intergovernmental Personnel Act Agreement?

Teaching Ambassador Fellows are hired under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) authority. This program provides for the temporary assignment of skilled personnel to or from state and local governments and certain other organizations to facilitate cooperation between the Federal government and the non-Federal entity and provide mutual benefits, for limited periods without loss of employee rights and benefits. ED will work with the proposed Fellows and his/her employer to negotiate the specific components of the Interagency Personnel Agreement, after selection. Please note that as these are legal contracts, negotiation of the specific components requires approval from a number of parties and therefore may take some time to finalize.

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3. Can I see an example IPA Agreement?

Each IPA is negotiated individually and is private information. Please review the generic examples of the Classroom [PDF, 84KB] and Washington Fellowship [PDF, 86KB] IPAs. Further information about the IPA program is available on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management website at: http://www.opm.gov/programs/ipa/assignF.asp and http://www.opm.gov/programs/ipa/Mobility.asp

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4. When in the application and selection process is the IPA negotiated?

After a candidate is selected to serve as a Fellow and before the program can begin, the IPA agreement must be negotiated between the teacher's current employer and the Department of Education. During the application process, we ask that the school/district acknowledge their support to pursue the IPA agreement and understanding of the program requirements for the teacher in their letter of recommendation (see Eligibility and Requirements Question 9), but the specific IPA agreement itself will not be developed or signed until after selections have been made.

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5. What does a background investigation and credit check include?

Both the Washington Fellows and the Classroom Fellows will be subject to a background investigation once they have received federal appointments. The investigation will require the Fellows to complete a security form and be fingerprinted. Background investigations verifies past employment, education and identity. A credit check will identify any outstanding federal debts.

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6. Where do Washington Fellows live during the Fellowship year?

The Washington, D.C. region provides a variety of types of living environments and past Washington Fellows have chosen to live in all manners of setting based on their particular needs and interests. Washington Fellows are responsible for securing living arrangements in Washington, D.C. for their Fellowship year, though Department of Education employees and current Fellows can provide general guidance.

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7. When do Classroom Fellows complete their part-time work? Is it in addition to their full-time teaching positions?

Classroom Fellows' work happens predominantly outside of regular hours--after school or on weekends -- though some travel may be required during regular hours. We will work with school districts to support limited release time to Classroom Fellows. The Department requests that Districts support up to 10 days of unpaid leave to the Fellows, though the actual amount may vary. Please note that Classroom Fellows work an average of 15 hours per month on Fellowship activities over the year, but the specific hours in a month may vary.

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8. Do Classroom Fellows take personal days for travel or is there a substitute subsidy?

There are two components to this response. The first and most important is that while a Classroom Fellow is on official travel for us and on leave from school, we pay the Classroom Fellow for their time. This means that the school cannot pay you (ie. it cannot be a paid personal leave day), because one cannot earn funds from two sources for the same time period. Ostensibly, this means that the funds that are not being used to pay for your salary could be directed towards substitutes, though we understand from an administrative standpoint that this may be more complicated than it sounds. Ultimately, this program does not cover the cost of a substitute teacher; however, as described above, travel is always at the discretion of the Fellow and his/her employer and it is understood that the teachers’ primary responsibilities in their schools and classrooms are more important and always take precedence.

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9. Is there a loss of service time for Washington Fellows?

Each intergovernmental personnel agreement is negotiated independently between the selected Fellow and their sending district/school/organization. It is our hope that Districts are willing to maintain Fellows in their current roles with their current benefit plans, with at least health care reimbursement from the Fellowship, in order to minimize disruption to the Fellow. However, every sending employer has differing capacities to do this and there are Fellows who have experienced a loss of service time. It is ultimately up to the selected Fellow as to whether or not to pursue the opportunity regardless.

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Last Modified: 01/07/2013