Help Us Build a Network of Educators Driving Change

TrueSchool Fellows collaborate with their peers to transform education

“The most valuable aspect of the TrueSchool Fellowship was meeting different school teams. It was very enlightening to collaborate with other schools about the same issues and concerns our school deals with. It was also helpful to exchange suggestions, ideas, and feedback.”

—Gwenevere Peebles, First Grade Teacher, Coker-Wimberly Elementary, Edgecombe, North Carolina

At TrueSchool, we believe on-the-ground educators are the best equipped to lead the charge to improve student learning in their districts. Because teachers and principals work with students on a daily basis, they know what has worked in their classrooms and have ideas for new approaches. Our TrueSchool Fellowship celebrates this expertise and gives educators more opportunities to connect with their peers and develop innovative plans for change in their schools.

During the TrueSchool Fellowship, we foster networks of like-minded individuals—across schools and across districts—who are working to impact student learning. That’s why, in addition to individualized sessions with our TrueSchool Coaches, we organize convenings that allow educators to collaborate with each other, exchange ideas, and hear what’s going on in other parts of their states. We give TrueSchool Fellows platforms to amplify their voices and learn from others. 

In a survey of TrueSchool Fellows at the end of their year-long experience, we found that 98% of participating educators felt encouraged and supported to share what works in their classrooms and schools with other educators.

Our focus on building networks and sharing ideas is backed up by evidence that shows that collaboration between educators across geography is an important factor in systems-change at the district level. Education researcher Michael Fullan notes in his case studies of successful efforts at district-level change that one common feature is “geographically organized learning networks” focused on “specific practices, student results, cross-school sharing, learning to do better, and mutual commitment.”

Over the year-long Fellowship, our school teams form an intentional network of colleagues in the field who want to see each other—and see each other’s students—succeed.

These cross-district conversations are continued through our micro-investment program, where our TrueSchool Fellows create capstone presentations about the work they’ve done at their schools and in their communities. Each school team evaluates all of the other Blueprints and awards funds for other teams to continue their work after the Fellowship. These Blueprint presentations are opportunities for TrueSchool Fellows to share what they’ve learned—and even implement other teams’ ideas in their own schools. 

One Nebraska TrueSchool Fellow reflected on the process of learning from others during the Fellowship: “Several schools, including the North Carolina schools, had amazing ideas that we can utilize when working towards our reading vision.”

At the end of the Fellowship, 23% more educators reported that they were learning from the work of other schools, compared to the beginning of the Fellowship. And 96% of TrueSchool Fellows said they will use or adapt an idea developed by another team in their own school.

By emphasizing each team’s learnings, we put our Fellows and their work front and center, as they will be the ones continuing to present, speak on panels, facilitate discussions, and shape conversations about the future of education at the national level. TrueSchool alumni from last year’s cohort have already presented their Blueprints to their local school boards, at back-to-school professional development sessions, and at statewide conferences.  

We want teachers and school leaders to finish the TrueSchool Fellowship feeling inspired and part of a team that’s ready to transform education in their districts and across the country.

And if you’re ready to impact student learning at your school, apply for the 2020 TrueSchool Fellowship by October 15.