Applications for the 2020-2021 cohort of the School Ambassador Fellowship are now being accepted until 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time December 31,2019. Please sign-up for updates to stay in contact with the program.
In order to be considered for the 2020-2021 School Ambassador Fellowship cohort, you must use this online system to submit a complete application. Any materials submitted by U.S. mail or email will not be reviewed.
A complete application includes: 1) indication of your program eligibility, 2) responses to five short essay responses, 3) a letter of recommendation and support from your employer, and 4) a current resume.
All required materials reflect and will be assessed against the key qualities we seek in selected School Ambassador Fellows, which are:
- Demonstrable Contributions to Student Learning—the extent to which the candidate has had demonstrable and meaningful impact on student achievement and school success;
- Effective Leadership Skills—the extent to which the candidate brings a record of effective leadership and team work amongst peers and other key stakeholders;
- Strong Communication Skills—the extent to which the candidate demonstrates the written and oral communication skills required to serve as a Fellow;
- Other Applicable Skills and Experience —the extent to which the candidate demonstrates experience with the type of roles Fellows are asked to play, including project management skills;
- Relevant Interests and Expertise—the extent to which the candidate can provide applicable insights from school and district experiences to the Department’s education policy, programs, and initiatives; and
- School System Support—the extent to which the candidate has demonstrable support from their school and district leaders for program participation.
More specifically, a complete application includes:
A. Narrative Responses
Applicants will first be asked to provide a brief overarching statement of purpose in applying for the Fellowship (approximately three to four sentences) and then to provide short narrative responses (approximately 500 words per question) to five essay topics:
- Contributions to Student Learning—Describe your effectiveness as an educator as measured by improved student outcomes and other measures of student and school success. Include quantitative and qualitative evidence. Discuss how your unique school context, setting, and demographics inform your approach and efforts as an educator. [For this question only, you will be able to attach one document supporting your quantitative data].
- Leadership Experience—Describe your leadership experience. You may include relevant experience from your personal, educational or professional background. Please provide examples of your approach and style in working with other adults or peers and in teams or settings that may include, for example, teachers, educational leaders at a variety of school levels, or other key education stakeholders. Discuss how your leadership promotes equitable and excellent educational experiences within your school and how you measure your effectiveness as a leader.
- Communication Skills—Describe your experience writing and orally presenting on education issues. Provide examples of the different forums in which you have made presentations or led discourse, and describe the professional networks in which you participate which could serve as potential vehicles for outreach to other educators. Discuss strategies you have employed to effectively communicate complex or difficult information or to resolve challenges you faced.
- Other Applicable Skills and Experience—The Department is fast-paced and Fellows often work in an ambiguous environment. Fellows must quickly digest and respond to complex information and comfortably network with a wide variety of stakeholders. Describe how specific training, academic or other experiences, including those in project management, have prepared you for this role of an Ambassador Fellow. Include specific strategies, tools or resources that have enabled you to be successful in these environments and would serve you in this unique role.
- Interests and Expertise—Discuss how your experience can help inform the Department’s work and what you hope to gain from the Fellowship. Include relevant experience with U.S. Department of Education efforts or other Federally-funded initiatives or programs addressing areas such as: ensuring equitable access for students to high quality college- and career-ready standards and instruction; supports for diverse and well-prepared school faculty members; and promotion of quality instruction from preschool to postsecondary completion.
Highly rated candidates provide succinct but thorough responses addressing each of the sub-components of the question and provide examples demonstrating how the applicant meets the above criteria. Applications are peer-reviewed as a whole package. While information found in any part of the application will be considered in the review, applicants are encouraged to clearly demonstrate how they meet the criteria outlined in each question and may repeat information as is necessary to do so.
B. An Employer Letter of Recommendation
The School Ambassador Fellowship is designed to be of mutual benefit to the Department and the participant’s school community, as the program is conducted through the Federal Government’s Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) authority. If selected, the Fellow’s employer is required to sign an IPA to enable the Fellow’s participation. Thus, demonstration of support from a representative of the district—a principal or superintendent – is a required component of the application process.
For Washington Fellows, districts must agree to a leave of absence; for Campus Fellows, it includes agreeing to some flexibility in the Fellows’ ability to travel. In return in both cases, Fellows are encouraged to share relevant information from the Federal level with the employer and to create opportunities for school and district leaders and other educators to provide their perspectives on these topics.
In the online application, applicants will be asked the name and e-mail address of a representative from the employer – a school principal or superintendent—who can affirm support for your application and provide a letter recommending you for program participation.
Please Note: Employer contacts do NOT need to submit the IPA paperwork or guarantee approval. Rather the employer contact is agreeing to assist the candidate in ultimately gaining district approval for the IPA should s/he be selected.
After entering the employer name and email address, an e-mail will be sent to this person stating that you have applied for the School Ambassador Fellowship Program. The email will direct the employer to an online form at which to affirm his/her support for your application and where they can scan and upload a signed letter of recommendation, on letterhead, elaborating on ways in which you demonstrate the key desired qualities we seek in selected Fellows.
Information in the letter that supports or bolsters your narrative responses on any of the topics above will be taken into account in the review process. Highly-rated submissions speak to specific ways in which the applicant is a valued member of the school’s community and ways in which the writer or larger school community will enable the candidate’s program participation.
Submission of the Employer’s Letter of Recommendation is required by the time the School Ambassador Fellowship application officially closes at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on December 31, 2019 in order for you to be considered for the program.
C. A Current Resume
A resume is required for all Federal candidates. It should at a minimum provide current and best contact information, clearly indicate the current school and district in which you serve, and verify that you have been in your role for at least five years (including the current school year).
Resumes are required to verify eligibility; however, information within one’s resume is used to validate and enhance reviewers’ understanding of information contained within your narrative responses.
Note: All personably identifiable information shared through this process will be secured and used for application review and follow-up communication alone.
D. Voluntary Demographic Data.
The U.S. Department of Education seeks to select a final team of Fellows which can represent the diversity of our student body and contexts in which students receive instruction across the country. Though none of the voluntary information will be used in the assessment of candidates’ applications, it will help us to review the diversity of our candidate pool and to balance final selections across a range of characteristics.
To submit an application for the School Ambassador Fellowship, please take the following steps:
- Access the Application at https://app.wizehive.com/appform/login/SAFApplicationForm
- Create an Account in the box on the right of the screen that says “Sign Up.” Enter your email, then enter and confirm a password. Click sign up.
- Select New Application and verify that you meet all of the Eligibility requirements for program.
- Complete the Applicant Information section with your name, email, street address, and school information.
- Select the Role for which you wish to be considered. You may apply to be Washington Fellow, Campus Fellow, or both.
- Complete the Five (5) Required Narrative Responses by writing in the corresponding text boxes. The word limit for each narrative response is 3,500 characters. Please note that you may attach one document in response to question one (1) with evidence supporting your quantitative measures of student and/or school success.
- Generate an Email to Your Employer Contact to complete the Employer Recommendation section. Once you enter and verify your employer contact’s name and email address, select “Save Draft.” An e-mail will automatically be sent to this person stating that you have applied for the School Ambassador Fellowship Program. If the email does not come through to the recommender in a timely manner, encourage your contact to review his or her spam or junk mail filters.
- The email will direct your employer contact to an online form at which to verify support you in obtaining a signed IPA should you be selected. (Employers do NOT need to submit the IPA paperwork or guarantee approval. Rather the employer is agreeing to assist the candidate in ultimately gaining district approval for the IPA should the applicant be selected.)
- The email will also request that the employer contact scan and upload a signed letter of recommendation, on letterhead, elaborating on ways in which you demonstrate the key desired qualities we seek in selected Fellows.
- Provide Voluntary Demographic Data if you wish to assist our team in reviewing the diversity of our candidate pool and final selections across a variety of factors. This section will request information about the type of school in which you work and the school’s setting (rural, urban, suburban, etc.) and some of your personal characteristics. This information will not be used in the review of any candidate’s material and will only be used to assist in assessing the process by which we recruit and select a diverse group of Fellows across a wide range of characteristics.
- Submit Your Final Application to be considered for the 2020 Cohort of School Ambassador Fellows. You may login in at any point up until the application closing date of December 31, 2019, to modify your final submission. Please note that choosing to save a draft after submission will over-write your original application. We recommend printing a copy of your final application for your files.
All applications are screened and reviewed by teams of current and alumni Fellows and Department staff members. The most highly-rated applicants may be asked to participate in telephone and potentially in-person interview processes. All applicants will be notified throughout the process about their progress in the Fellowship application and selection process.
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