This past March, A+ Schools of North Carolina—a program of the North Carolina Arts Council—selected 10 new A+ Schools Apprentice Fellows. Following a revised recruitment process, which focused on identifying and inviting a more diverse group of applicants, the program welcomes its most diverse Apprentice Fellows cohort ever: 60 percent are artists and/or educators of color. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility are ongoing commitments of A+ Schools, and this new class of Apprentice Fellows reflects those priorities.
Every other year, A+ Schools provides a series of information sessions across the state for those who want to learn more about becoming an A+ Apprentice Fellow and about the program’s unique process of training schools in arts integration. Following these sessions are two full days of training for potential Fellows. After an evaluation process, A+ Schools staff members select the people whose credentials best match the program’s needs at that time. Once selected, the A+ Apprentice Fellows observe and shadow veteran A+ Fellows during A+ Schools summer conferences and school-year professional development.
The apprenticeship is typically a 12-month process, but this year it has been extended to 18 months because of the shift from in-person to online conferences during the pandemic. A+ Schools hopes to return to in-person conferences in the summer of 2022, which will provide additional opportunities for Apprentice Fellows to observe and learn about the full A+ Schools training experience.
The new group of Apprentice Fellows spans the state from Clinton to Banner Elk, and they bring expertise in dance, theater, and music, as well as K-12 education. Their skills are expected to make those of the current group of A+ Fellows even stronger and more diverse. Meet the 2021 A+ Apprentice Fellows: