New teacher fellowship program announced in Tennessee

The Tennessee Department of Education is partnering with the state’s largest teachers union and two advocacy groups to launch a new teacher fellowship program, the organizations announced Monday.The Hope Street Group Tennessee State Teacher Fellowship will commence this summer to advance professional development opportunities for select teachers. The deadline to apply is April 3.The 12-month program targets classroom teachers and instructional coaches who are leaders among their peers and who want to contribute their ideas and expertise to help shape national, state and local policy.The fellowship is being coordinated through a partnership among the state Education Department and Hope Street Group, a nonprofit advocacy group focused on economic opportunity, along with the Tennessee Education Association (TEA) and the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE).The teachers, who will receive a $3,500 stipend, will learn about state education reform efforts and meet directly with state policymakers to share the views of educators and to present educator-generated solutions.“Teachers are the biggest factor in the success of our students, and it is critical that we listen to and learn from our teachers to improve educational opportunities for all students,” state Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said in a news release.Tennessee will become the fourth site of the program, which launched in Kentucky in 2013, included Hawaii in 2014, and now is expanding to Tennessee and North Carolina.Teaching fellowships are becoming more common in Tennessee, and TEA president Barbara Gray said such opportunities are important. “Tennessee educators are the real experts on what our students need to succeed, and their involvement in important policy decisions is crucial,” she said.Tennessee teachers interested in applying can learn more here.