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Teaching Ambassador Fellowship

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  1. Can I apply if I applied last year?
  2. Am I eligible if this is my fifth year of teaching?
  3. What if I have taught in different schools, and/or have taught for five inconsecutive years?
  4. Can I apply if I'm not a U.S. Citizen?
  5. Why is this only open to teachers/instructional specialists in preschool-12th grade?
  6. I am a [fill-in-the-blank] teacher. Am I eligible?
  7. Is this only open to teachers in public schools?
  8. Am I eligible if I am an instructional specialist in a public school, but my position is funded by a non-profit entity?
  9. Why is a recommendation from my school or district a required application component?
  10. Will you still be requiring for a letter of support from staff of a professional development or training program with which I’ve been involved?
  11. Is there a similar Fellowship program for administrators?

1. Can I apply if I applied last year?

Yes. Applicants from previous years (including those selected as finalists) may apply for the current positions.

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2. Am I eligible if this is my fifth year of teaching?

Yes; if you will have completed five years of teaching by the Fellowship start date, you are eligible to apply.

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3. What if I have taught in different schools, and/or have taught for five inconsecutive years?

As long as you have taught for at least five years, you are eligible. Your experience need not be five years in the same school, and it need not be five consecutive years.

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4. Can I apply if I'm not a U.S. Citizen?

In order to serve in a position with the U.S. government, you must be a citizen of the United States or a permanent resident.

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5. Why is this only open to teachers/instructional specialists in preschool-12th grade?

We understand that those in different educational positions -- such as school counselors, administrators, or those in higher education -- have important experiences and perspectives to share on education. However, this program is designed to highlight the views and concerns of currently practicing teachers whose working environment is significantly shaped by federal elementary and secondary education policy. If you are a current principal, you may be interested in our Principal Ambassador Fellowship program. If you do not meet the criteria for these positions and are interested in other employment opportunities with the U.S. Department of Education, you may visit EDHIRES to search current job openings.

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6. I am a [fill-in-the-blank] teacher. Am I eligible?

The Department is committed to identifying a final team of selected Fellows that represents the diversity of our student body and settings in which students receive instruction across the country. Therefore we encourage teachers of students from all age levels or grade spans, teaching all-manner of subject areas or specialty areas, in urban, rural and suburban U.S. school environments to apply. If you otherwise meet the Eligibility criteria, and can adequately address the application requirements, please consider submitting an application. Please note that as the hiring authority for the Teaching Ambassador Fellowship is through the Intergovernmental Personnel Agreement Act, you must be employed by a State, local, or Indian tribal government, or another eligible non-profit organization that can demonstrate that educational services are a principal function.

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7. Is this only open to teachers in public schools?

No, the Fellowship is open to teachers in any not-for-profit U.S. school, including not-for-profit private schools or early childhood programs, as well as traditional public, charter, virtual, tribal or Department of Defense-run schools. For the purposes of completing the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) agreement, public schools are already verified as “governmental instrumentalities” with which the Federal government can engage in an IPA. Private schools must be certified as "other organizations" appropriate for this purpose. Charter schools must  be reviewed to determine whether they are outlined as a government instrumentality in their approved charter documents, or if they will need to be certified as another organization with which the Department is allowed to enter into such an agreement.

Therefore, private school employers will be asked to request certification from the Department and provide the following information from their school on behalf of their selected Fellow: 1) Articles of Incorporation; 2) Bylaws; 3) Internal Revenue Service non-profit statements; and 4) any other information, such as evidence of accreditation (by a State government or nationally recognized accreditation authority) which indicates that the organization has educational services as a principal function. If further clarification is required, please contact the Office of Non-Public Education at (202) 401- 1365 or OIINon-PublicEducation@ed.gov.

Similarly, charter school employers will be asked to provide their school’s chartering documents on behalf of the selected Fellow. They may also need to request certification and supply the documents above.

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8. Am I eligible if I am an instructional specialist in a public school, but my position is funded by a non-profit entity?

Yes, if you feel that you can meet the intent of the Fellowship program and adequately address the narrative questions -- including demonstrating support from the administrator in the school in which you work -- you are eligible to apply. As with teachers in private schools, the employer will need to request certification and supply: 1) Articles of Incorporation; 2) Bylaws; 3) Internal Revenue Service non-profit statements; and 4) any other information which indicates that the organization has educational services as a principal function.

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9. Why is a recommendation from my school or district a required application component?

Support from administrators is required in order to enter into an Intergovernmental Personnel Act agreement between your district and the Department of Education, as the purpose of the Act is to share the expertise of the employee in order to provide mutual benefit to the two organizations. All Fellows work for the Department of Education on a temporary basis through the IPA program in order to share their practical expertise. While an IPA does not need to be discussed in detail until a teacher is selected as a Fellow, having the commitment of a school or district leader who will work to secure agreement to an IPA is critical from the outset.

The support of administrators is important to ensure open communication between participating Fellows and their school leadership and to foster collaboration at the school level. A primary goal of administrator support is to ensure that selected Fellows have the ability to share public U.S. Department of Education information and resources with and gain input from colleagues and school and district leadership. Our hope is that school and district administrators will help to facilitate and extend the sharing of information throughout the district and State whenever possible.

For the Classroom Fellows, the IPA ensures that the district and Department are in agreement about the part-time Federal employment of the selected Fellow and open to considering limited release time during the year. While the priority for Classroom Fellows is always meeting student needs and school responsibilities, the more flexible their employer can be, the greater the benefit of the experience for the Fellow and the educators with whom they work.

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10. Will you still be requiring for a letter of support from staff of a professional development or training program with which I’ve been involved?

We may request additional letters of recommendation from outside organizations from the most highly rated candidates at a later stage of the application process. While we have found that successful previous applicants participated in programs and developmental experiences that required a significant amount of speaking and writing about teaching, education leadership, and/or policy, we do require applicants to ask for this support from outside organizations at this is preliminary stage.

In the application, you will be asked to describe your experiences with such programs and how they have prepared you for the type of work Fellows do. In the past, these have included participation in MA or PhD programs in public policy or education policy; involvement in school, district, State or union led teacher leadership development programs; participation in intensive reflection processes such as for the Teacher of the Year program or National Board for Professional Teaching Standards assessments; leadership of professional development or training experiences for others; or other training and development programs. For some examples, you may want to view current and previous Fellows’ biographical information.

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11. Is there a similar Fellowship program for administrators?

Yes. In 2013, the Department initiated a Principal Ambassador Fellowship program. The application timeline, processes, and program goals are identical to the Teaching Ambassador Fellowship, though some of the program design is more tailored to the unique needs of heads of schools.

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Last Modified: 11/16/2015