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Teaching Ambassador Fellowship

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Eligibility and Requirements

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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. Why are you 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, and if not, are administrators eligible for this program?

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; therefore you must be a citizen by the application receipt deadline to be eligible for the program.

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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 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 qualify as governmental instrumentalities, whereas private schools must be certified as "other organizations" appropriate for this purpose. Therefore, selected Fellows from private schools will be asked to provide the following information from their school: 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, selected teachers from charter or public virtual schools will be asked to provide verification that their school is an instrumentality of a State or local government.

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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 (see Question 8) -- you are eligible to apply. As with teachers in private schools, the selected teacher will be asked to provide the following information from their employer in order to certify the organization for the purposes of completing the IPA agreement: 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?

The support of administrators is important to ensure open communication between participating teachers 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.

Support from administrators is also important to facilitating negotiation with the district to enter into an Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) agreement between your district and the Department of Education. All fellows will work under an IPA agreement. As a condition of participating in the Fellowship program, the district must guarantee a selected Washington Fellow a position of like seniority, pay, etc. on the termination of this assignment, and work to retain benefits with the school during the period of employment with the U.S. Department of Education.

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. Why are you requiring for a letter of support from staff of a professional development or training program with which I’ve been involved?

We have determined that the most successful previous applicants had participated in programs and developmental experiences that required a lot of speaking and writing about teaching, education leadership, and/or policy. This can include a wide range of activities. In the past, this has included participation in masters 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; professional experiences in which you have provided training to others; or other training and development programs. For some examples, you may want to view previous Fellows’ biographical information .. In the application,you will be asked to describe your experiences with such a program and how this has prepared you for the type of work Fellows are asked to do, and to provide a letter from someone knowledgeable about your experience that can support your credentials.

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11. Is there a similar Fellowship program for administrators, and if not, are administrators eligible for this program?

The existing Teaching Ambassador Fellowship program is aimed at currently practicing teachers and instructional specialists (see Question 5). The Department understands and valuesthe key role of administrators in school reform and is working to develop a similar program for school principals.. Please email us at TeacherFellowship@ed.gov to express your interest or continue to check back for information.

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Last Modified: 01/07/2013