03 Apr Impacting Education Policy As A Hope Street Group National Teacher Fellow
Becoming a Hope Street Group National Teacher Fellow was as impactful to my leadership journey as obtaining National Board certification. Hope Street Group is a nonprofit organization that empowers teachers to reach deep inside themselves and affect education policy as a leader. The experience of serving as a National Teacher Fellow was both insightful and useful, as Hope Street Group coached me on how to speak to media representatives (on camera and through submission of opinion articles), invited me to speak at a number of very high-level policymaking convenings, and also taught me how to represent my profession as just that: a profession.
The education team at Hope Street Group not only helped me hone my skills as a teacher leader, but they were with me every step of the way as I worked to impact policy in my district and state. I put together and conducted a project in my region focused on building programming in schools. Because of that work, I was connected to policymakers on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, and was invited to present my work to U.S. Senators.
The support from Hope Street did not stop there. I was a National Fellow in 2012–2013 and I continue to receive support and connections that stem from this policy work. With the legislature in session, I was asked to stand by and give feedback on policies going through the House and Senate that pertained to implementing programming in K–12 education. These responsibilities came as a result of being put in touch with policymakers in our state and at the federal level.
One of my favorite experiences as a National Teacher Fellow came when I attended the Hope Street Colloquium and sat next to the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. The entire working group discussed how to move the needle on education for students who were not necessarily bound for college, and I was able to contribute meaningfully to the discussion and have my ideas immediately heard by a very high-level national policymaker, which felt empowering.
Hope Street Group has enhanced my leadership abilities by continuing to work with me around my policy project. Last week, I even received an email from a gentleman at the U.S. Department of Education who wanted to connect with me about my work around programming and the workforce. Hope Street Group has also been instrumental in connecting me to other teachers who are working on the same topic/policy. These connections give meaning to my work and are a vital collaboration opportunity I would otherwise have missed.
My work as a Hope Street Group National Teacher Fellow has connected me to my life’s work in ways I never knew existed and opened up leadership opportunities for me that I didn’t know I was capable of fulfilling. It is my sincerest wish that other dedicated teachers have the opportunity to positively impact education policy outcomes, and I encourage interested individuals to learn more and apply via the Hope Street Group application site at www.apply.hopestreetgroup.org.