CityBridge Foundation and NewSchools Venture Fund
launched the Education Innovation Fellowship program in 2013 with an inaugural cohort of 12 Fellows. This year-long program introduces teacher leaders to the most promising innovations in blended learning and offers them opportunities to pilot blended models in their schools. With the support of a $1 million grant from the Microsoft Corporation, the Fellowship has expanded to 20 Fellows in 2014 and will continue in 2015, launching classroom and school-wide innovation in dozens of Washington, D.C. schools. The Fellowship is a strategic investment in great teachers—the classroom leaders who can become natural change agents for their schools using digital content and tools to drive instructional innovation.
In November of 2013, we selected 20 new Fellows from a pool of qualified applicants currently teaching in District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and D.C. public charter schools. The Fellowship program will run from January through December 2014. It will include local and national school visits, workshops, seminars, guest speakers, and technology demonstrations. Fellows will design and lead their blended learning pilot programs in summer school and expand them in their classrooms and schools in the 2014-2015 school year.
A Teacher Fellowship in Blended Learning
Educators across the country are exploring a variety of blended learning models to help realize the vision of redesigned classrooms and schools that use personalized learning environments to accelerate achievement for all students. Effective blended learning models combine the best of face-to-face instruction with the best of online instruction. Early evidence indicates that teaching in a blended classroom offers educators new opportunities to differentiate instruction for individual students, to motivate students to take ownership over their own learning, and to extend teacher capacity to reach additional students. Teachers have tremendous—and often untapped—potential to incubate innovation in their classrooms. Through direct exposure to the most promising best practices in blended learning, the Education Innovation Fellowship program will provide a cohort of teacher leaders with the opportunity to advance the field through their own leadership and instructional innovation. In this way, the Fellowship will encourage teachers to become market drivers for the uptake of tools and techniques that work. The Education Innovation Fellows will be ambassadors for the implementation of effective blended learning models in D.C.
The Fellowship in the District of Columbia
With the introduction of personalized, mastery-based learning models into public school classrooms, the District has the potential to accelerate the pace of academic improvement and to demonstrate national leadership in education innovation.
Educators in D.C. have demonstrated a strong interest in blended learning models:
- In 2012, DCPS brought New Classrooms’ innovative Teach to One model to Hart Middle School.
- Ingenuity Prep, a new public charter school operating on a blended model, opened in Ward 8 in Fall 2013.
- DCPS is investing in the blended redesign of a four-school feeder pattern in Ward 8 for Fall 2013.
- Rocketship Education, a charter management organization recognized nationally for its high-performing blended schools in California, received approval from the D.C. Public Charter School Board to open as many as eight schools beginning in 2015.
The 2013 Education Innovation Fellows are a part of this movement toward personalized learning, piloting blended models in their schools and working closely with their principals to carry this work forward.
By the end of 2014, our second cohort of Fellows will lead their colleagues and schools in reimagining what is possible in a transformed D.C. public school. In doing so, the 2014 Fellows build on the growing momentum around blended learning in D.C., moving the city closer to a vision in which personalization through blended learning is a standard component of all high-performing schools.
To download the Program Overview document, please click here