Author: A+ Schools of North Carolina
Are you interested in becoming a learning and contributing member of a diverse network of professionals? Do you have a collaborative spirit and the ability to facilitate large and small groups of adult learners?
A+ Fellows conduct high-quality professional development for A+ schools and partner organizations. Because A+ professional development is based on a strong practitioner model, the Fellows are leaders in the arts and education. Our current cadre of Fellows consists of practicing classroom teachers, arts and special-area teachers, administrators, and teaching artists. “A+ Fellows are the driving force of our exemplary professional development,” according to Jennifer Huggins, A+ Schools program coordinator. “The training our Fellows provide to our network of A+ educators impacts hundreds of students each year and strengthens the creativity of school communities.”
A+ Fellows enter the network as apprentices with a wide range of expertise and experience and are asked to serve in this “cognitive apprenticeship” role for one year, observing and assisting veteran Fellows as they conduct professional development. During this first year, Apprentice Fellows consider how their strengths might be used and what areas they need to develop. A+ Fellows are then assigned to work on teams that allow them to use their expertise. “I've been an A+ Fellow since 2007. My longest professional relationships and now personal relationships are because of A+,” says A+ Fellow, Josh Batenhorst. “The benefit of being an A+ Fellow is getting to know people and appreciating the opportunity to learn from them,” he added. Peter Shanahan, an A+ fellow for the past 12 years shared a similar sentiment, "I love that through A+ we get a lot of opportunities to engage creatively. We also get to work with and learn from other Fellows who have amazing ideas, and then we share those ideas with dedicated teachers."
To thrive as an A+ Fellow, experience in integrating one or more art forms in a specific subject area or grade level is valuable, so knowledge of North Carolina state standards or experience in curriculum design is important. “I really love the fact that what we're teaching works for all kids,” says Glenda Mackie, a veteran A+ Fellow. “I think about myself as a student. If I had been taught under the A+ model, I would have thrived even more, and I just see so many kids who could benefit from the A+ philosophy. As an educator, I'm just excited that the A+ model gets kids excited about learning.” Mackie has been a Fellow since 2008.
Earlier this year Victoria Lightfoot, a newly inducted A+ Fellow, was awarded the Milken Educator Award. "As an A+ Fellow, I get excited about working with teachers and facilitating professional development through the arts. I really enjoy showing other educators strategies, tips, and techniques that can assist in providing meaningful, rigorous, relevant instruction," Lightfoot said.
A+ Schools is striving to diversify the A+ Fellows cohort. We are specifically seeking applicants who reflect the people of our state, as well as professionals who can work during the school day. To learn more about the essential characteristics of A+ Fellows and the experience required, head over to the A+ Schools website—bit.ly/become-an-aplus-fellow—and register for an upcoming information session. Registration closes on January 31, 2023.