What is the Fellowship Impact Project?

By Mary Rakes, Director of Fellowship and EL Strategy

What is an Impact Project?

Welcome back to our series on the DLC Teacher Leader Fellowship! For an overview of the DLC Teacher Leader Fellowship, see here.

One thing that has been important for us to define in regards to the Fellowship is the Impact Project. As a teacher, I might read those words and think, “No time for that!” We hope this post clarifies the vision of this integral work.

In order to improve the quality of educational opportunities for students of diverse abilities and backgrounds, Fellows have the opportunity to design and implement a solution to better serve diverse learners in their setting. Fellows conduct a needs assessment to identify a barrier to learner success, research possible solutions, design a plan for addressing this barrier, and implement this plan. This process necessarily includes collaboration with their school leaders and other team members. Fellows present their projects, findings, and reflections at an End of Year Expo.

How does it work?

Throughout the year, Fellows are guided in naming their impact focus, writing a rationale, defining the scope, and tracking data on their project before, during, and after implementation. The summer session sparks ideas in Fellows on how they can make these critical impacts at their own school. By September, Fellows are able to write their focus, rationale and initial data findings. Throughout the Fellowship, Fellows attend quarterly sessions that are designed to develop their leadership skills and support their efforts of impact in their schools. Fellows also receive quarterly, on-site coaching from a DLC coach to support and offer personalized, relevant feedback. In May, the Fellowship will conclude with an expo, where Fellows present the results of their Impact Projects to attendees.

Is this something to add on top of all the things teacher-leaders are already doing?

No-not really! During the 20-21 summer session, Fellows will begin to design a solution they hope will make an impact on tier 1 access for diverse learners in their schools. The idea is that this is not an additional project on top of already-packed school-based responsibilities, but instead a lens for Fellows to use when making decisions within their responsibilities. Ultimately, the leadership skills Fellows learn through the DLC during the year will enable them to leverage the work they are already doing to yield even greater results than before the Fellowship. At the end of the Fellowship year, Fellows walk away with clear data and findings on how their work impacted diverse learners’ access to tier 1 instruction.

What are some examples of potential Impact Projects?

In 2020-2021, the Fellowship focus is on “equitable access to instruction for diverse learners”. Fellows will tailor their Impact Projects to support this goal. Some examples of project goals might include:

  • Implementing or improving co-teaching model in content area or grade level
  • Use of UDL as planning framework
  • Ownership + consistent use of aligned accommodations across settings
  • In-the-moment behavior support strategies that decrease discipline referrals
  • Implementation of daily math + reading fluency routines
  • Increased writing opportunities with strategic supports for EL students across content areas

We hope to see all your applications in by the priority deadline of January 17! For more information, visit http://www.diverselearnerscoop.com/fellowship to learn more and apply. Or share with a colleague who you think would be a good fit.

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