Overview

 We offer fellowships in the fall, spring and summer for teachers, paras, administrators, parents and community members. Our teams are working on the following projects:

Parent Power

This team grew out of a desire to strengthen parent voice in schools. Though TDP started in 2014 as a teacher-focused group, we swiftly realized that parents wanted the same resources and exposure to issues that we were providing to teachers. We also saw that in other cities, where a successful education movement exists, parents as well as teachers are active and organized. In the past we have tried to do parent work by strengthening PTO’s but since the summer we have moved to a more city-wide strategy. We have now formed a fellows team made up of parents (and some advocates who want to focus on parents) who continue to get better informed about education issues by committing to attend a variety of citywide public education events and meetings at which an informed parent voice is needed. As a team, we also learn from each other how to testify effectively in these spaces. This team continues to reach out to new parents to share information and continue to build a deeper network of engaged parents.

Restorative Practices Learning Community

Baltimore City Schools strives to be a “restorative district” but implementation has been limited by resources and inconsistent commitment and buy-in at the school and district level. This learning community consists of teachers and administrators who come from schools that have already taken on RP. They come together to discuss various components of the work as a way to improve their own practice, to address implementation barriers at their schools and to brainstorm how to expand the work across the district.  

 

Social Justice Curriculum

This group has gathered in response to past dialogue between teachers and the district about the need for culturally responsive curriculum. This term typically refers to how a curriculum and classroom teaching methods can be designed to incorporate and affirm students lives and cultures--which in turn has the effect of engaging more students.  The district does not yet have its own agreed upon internal definition, but has stated a commitment to promoting cultural responsiveness within the current curriculum. The teachers we talk to feel strongly that the work of implementing a strong culturally responsive curriculum and pedagogy across the district has a long way to go. They do not agree that the current district curriculum is sufficient. In response, we have assembled a team to work on producing a sample curriculum which will eventually be shared with the district.  As a field test, we are offering the option for individual teachers to adopt the curriculum during the Black Lives Matter week of action that takes place in February 2019. This new curriculum is intended to address race and the history of Baltimore. We hope the district will adopt this week’s worth of curriculum and that it will serve as a model and inspiration for how curriculum can meet required standards at the same time as it relates to students lives and teaches valuable additional content in a way that helps students feel truly connected to the work.

Bullying Work  

We know bullying is one of the biggest issues for teachers and parents. We are taking a few months to pilot some ideas for how we might address it in partnership with the district. Our first step is to engage at the school level in a collaborative problem solving process. We are inviting teachers, parents, administrators and district staff to come together to talk about the bullying challenges at their school and to brainstorm solutions.  

Summer organizing fellowships

The goal of the summer fellowship program is to increase teacher and parent leadership and engagement in the schools where they are connected, and to help them get informed and emboldened enough to advocate at the district level (and beyond if they wish). In the summer we teach fellows basic organizing skills and then have them reach out to people to have a series of targeted one-on-one conversations. This is a style of conversation used by organizers in order to build relationships, assess what people care about, and, often, to inspire action. Our specific purpose has been to have fellows elicit what issues people most care about around education in our city and then invite them to learn more about these issues. We couple this organizing work with monthly events that focus on these identified issues of concern. So far these events have included topics such as: understanding school budgets and funding; understanding curriculum; increasing parent power and engagement in schools; and a discussion of issues around bullying. The events and organizing work hopefully position the team to be abel to advocate on their own or to join a fall fellowship where they become part of a working group, a learning community, a specific project or an advocacy team focused on targeted advocacy.


Fellows typically receive $1000 per fellowship. For more information or to inquire about availability of fellowships please email democracyproject@icloud.com