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Teaching Policy Fellows

The Teaching Policy Fellowship is a highly selective program for teachers interested in having a voice in decisions that affect their profession.  During a cohort experience that spans one and a half academic years, Fellows meet in monthly sessions that offer:

  • Personal interaction with key education leaders;

  • A challenging course of study in education policy, research, and best practices from across the nation; and

  • The opportunity to advocate for policies that will better serve students and retain excellent teachers. 

Fellows are demonstrably effective classroom teachers who are in the “second stage” (teachers who have completed 2-10 years of teaching) of their teaching careers. Currently, about 150 Teaching Policy Fellows nationwide are engaging in “big picture” education reform in Boston, Chicago, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, MemphisWashington, D.C, and Nashville.  In each of our cities, Fellows bring a wide array of experience to their cohort.  Teaching Policy Fellows are all current classroom teachers who teach a variety of subjects and grades, spanning from kindergarten through twelfth grade, in urban district, pilot, or charter schools.  They have entered the teaching profession through varied routes, including alternative teacher training programs such as Teach for America.  Many Fellows are actively involved in their local teachers unions as building reps and leadership committee members, and many are equally involved in school- or district-based leadership.  Amongst our Fellows are National Board Certified teachers and Citywide Teachers of the Year.  Across the nation, Teaching Policy Fellows are united by their passion for teaching and their aspiration to modernize the teaching profession so that more top-performing teachers will want stay in the classroom.   

Check out this infographic to learn more about the Fellowship.

"Before Teach Plus, I'd never encountered such a unique and impressive group of colleagues with strong but varied perspectives on education.  Even after long days in the classroom, I looked forward to our monthly meetings, knowing that I would leave feeling newly inspired and optimistic about influencing positive reforms in education policy."

-Caitlin Hollister, Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellow, Boston


The Teaching Policy Fellowship has seen tangible, teacher-driven policy impact since its inception in 2007.  Through the Fellowship, Teach Plus has demonstrated that teachers can influence education policy on a local and national scale. 

Fellows from the 2007-2009 Boston cohort developed a proposal to turn around chronically low-performing schools by staffing them with high-performing teachers. Together, they drafted a model that is described in a publication called “Ready for the Next Challenge.”  In the winter of 2009, Teach Plus partnered with Boston Public Schools to implement their model, now called the T3: Turnaround Teacher Teams Initiative in three chronically underperforming Boston schools. In its first year, the program attracted thirty-seven highly effective, experienced teachers to teach and lead turnaround efforts in these schools.  Today, the rapidly expanding T3 Initiative operates in six Boston schools and receives six teacher-leader applications for each open position.  Results from the most recent Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System exams show that T3 schools are outperforming all possible comparison groups in terms of student growth, and outperformed 89% of Massachusetts schools in elementary mathematics. 

In Indianapolis, Fellows were instrumental in the redesign of their district’s “Reduction in Force” policy.  Fellows spurred the creation of a district-wide committee to reassess the solely seniority-based layoff policy. Two Fellows then participated in the committee, which ultimately decided to diminish the role of seniority and factor teacher performance evaluations (classroom management and instructional competence) into layoff decisions.  In April 2011, Fellows supported the enactment of SB1, the teacher quality reform package requiring the use of performance, rather than seniority, as the basis of teacher layoff decisions, became law in the entire state of Indiana.

In Memphis, Fellows collaborated with Memphis City Schools to ensure that results-oriented teachers had a voice in the development of the Teacher Effectiveness Measurement (TEM), Memphis’ new measure of teacher performance.  For example, teachers chose the observation rubric and the weight of the components of the teacher evaluation system.

Teaching Policy Fellows have indirectly influenced policy by providing input into education policy, participating in high-stakes national conferences and panels, and publishing papers and articles.   For example, Teaching Policy Fellows have been invited to participate in NBC’s nationally-televised "Education Nation," to work with National Teacher Quality Advisor Brad Jupp on the redesign of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and to participate in the Gates Foundation’s Measures of Effective Teaching Panel for two consecutive years.  Teaching Policy Fellows have published memos and briefs on topics ranging from evaluation reform to the effects of inequitable teacher pay.  Additionally, they have been guest bloggers for Education Week and on the widely-read blog Eduwonk, and have been featured in publications such as the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Indianapolis Star, and the Washington Post.  


Fellows Curriculum

The Teaching Policy Fellows curriculum is geared towards developing teachers’ skills and knowledge that will enable them to become effective advocates. 

Through interactive and content-rich sessions, Fellows are exposed to the latest research and innovations from across the country in areas such as:

  • The Challenge of Retention

  • Teacher Effectiveness & Evaluation

  • Career Growth, Teacher Leadership, and Sustainability

  • Compensation

  • Distribution & Staffing Patterns


For the Teaching Policy Fellowship, Teach Plus seeks classroom teachers who have completed 2-10 years of teaching (by the start of the Fellowship) who have:

  • Ideas of policy change they would like to enact on a local and/or national level;

  • A desire and the strong communication skills necessary to actively advocate for these changes; and

  • A track record of success teaching students in urban schools.

The application includes written responses to a series of questions and, for applicants who progress past the first round, personal interviews.  Finalists are chosen with input from education leaders from partner organizations in our respective cities. 

Visit the Apply page to find out which cities are currently accepting applications.