As Students Head Back to School, Parents and Teachers are Gearing Up for Another Year of Strong Advocacy
In an effort to mobilize, empower, and develop more education activists and policy experts throughout the state, JerseyCAN, the only statewide advocacy organization in New Jersey committed to ensuring access to high-quality public schools for every child regardless of zip code, cultural background, and socioeconomic status, announced today that it will be launching two multi-discipline fellowships this Fall. With learning loss serving as the significant education issue in school rooms across the state, both fellowships, the NJ Teacher Leader Policy Fellowship and Parent Champions Fellowship, were custom-designed to not only assist in developing solutions and ideas for the future but to assist, promote, and train, both New Jersey teachers and parents in the area of local advocacy and statewide policy development.
“Thanks to the leadership of Patricia Morgan and Janellen Duffy, JerseyCAN has been at the forefront in training the next generation of education advocates across the state,” stated JerseyCAN Executive Director Paula White. “Both our NJ Teacher Leader Policy Fellowship and our initial program last summer, Parent Champions for Strong Schools, were incredible successes. One of the top priorities I made as the new Executive Director of JerseyCAN was to double down on this important investment and expand our offerings. As students return to school we are seeing historic learning loss in all grades and all points of the state. To address this issue, we need an all-hands-on-deck approach. We will need everyone’s involvement, and JerseyCAN is committed to ensuring our most important constituencies in the education space, teachers and parents, have the tools, experience, contacts, and knowledge to create needed, positive change.”
Now entering its third cohort, JerseyCAN’s Teacher Leader Policy Fellowship is a year-long statewide program for selected New Jersey teachers to engage in education policy and advocacy. Over the course of one year, ten New Jersey Teacher Leader Policy Fellowship Participants (Fellows) come together to discuss the latest policy trends and issues in New Jersey education. In addition to gaining a deeper understanding of the state’s education policy landscape and expanding their knowledge of local, state, and national governance, the fellowship allows the selected teachers to network with elected leaders and influential educational stakeholders and build strong engagement and advocacy skills. As part of the fellowship, each teacher conceptualizes and leads a personal project representing a policy issue related to their passions and interests. Past fellows have had their opinion editorials placed in media outlets such as The Star Ledger, brought Academic Parent-Teacher Teams to their districts, and developed a CTE Hall of Fame to increase awareness and funding for CTE programming. In addition to engaging in high-quality professional learning and development opportunities, Fellows also receive a $2,500 stipend for their commitment to this work. The Fellowship is led by Chelsea Collins, 2016 New Jersey Teacher of the Year.
Based on the success of its initial seven-week summer program last summer, JerseyCAN’s Parent Champions Fellowship will dramatically expand its offering to New Jersey parents to a more intensive program. The new fellowship will provide comprehensive training to parents from across the state to become strong advocates in their local communities and gain a deeper understanding of policy creation, along with supporting replication of best practices to address students’ needs in the wake of the pandemic. Like the initial summer program, the fellowship will continue to utilize JerseyCAN’s strong relationships with elected officials and policymakers in Trenton. Led by JerseyCAN Senior Advisor Janellen Duffy, each parent fellow will engage in activities focused on improving students’ educational opportunities and outcomes in New Jersey. During this fellowship, the parents will strengthen their organizing and communication skills and develop a deeper understanding of education policy. The Parent Champions Fellows will be guided to develop their own advocacy initiative at the state and or local levels and will receive a stipend of $3,000 to compensate for their time and commitment to this work.
More information on the Teacher Fellowship, including 2022-2023 applications, can be found here.
For teachers interested in participating, applications for the Teacher Leader Policy Fellowship will continue to be accepted until September 21.
More information on the parent fellowship, including 2022-2023 applications, can be found here.
For parents interested in participating, applications for the Parent Champions Fellowship will be open until September 26.