The Learning Experience

The Learning Experience


Program Overview

The content of the Foundational Teacher Fellowship is organized into two critical domains.

Domain 1: Teaching and Learning (Supporting Students)

The modules contained in this domain are designed to have teachers examine their beliefs and values about students and their approach to teaching and learning. Fellows do this by applying theory and frameworks to instructional practices highlighted in case studies. Over the course of the three program sessions, the cohort will examine the following aspects of teaching and learning.

  • Equity, Identity, and Perspective-Taking
  • Critical Thinking, Discourse, Reasoning
  • Self-Directed Learning
  • Moral, Social, Civil Roles of Schools
  • Pedagogical Content Knowledge

Domain 2: Supporting, Influencing & Leading (Supporting Adults)

The modules contained in this domain focus on what is commonly referred to as ‘teacher leadership.’  These modules are designed based on the belief that strong teachers can develop the understanding and skills to support and influence their peers and school community in profound ways.  This domain encompasses a range of content in the following modules.

  • Leadership & Influence
  • Teaming
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Peer Support & Professional Learning
  • Organizational Development & Change

Program Sessions

The Foundational Teacher Fellowship will consist of three program sessions that build upon each other and allow for the cohort to build deeper connections. Participants and schools are asked to commit to participating in all three sessions of the program.

Session 1: Summer 2021 (6 days)

The Fellowship launches with a six-day residential program on the WPS Campus in Newton, MA.  In this program session, Fellows will ground themselves in foundational readings, the case method, while building relationships with members of their cohort. Given the regional differences in academic calendars, Fellows will have the option to select one of the two program sessions below.

  • Option 1: July 7 to 13
  • Option 2: July 17 to 23

In the event that conditions do not allow us to gather for a residential program, WPS will offer an adapted online session for July 2021.

Session 2: Winter 2022 (4 days)

In this program session, Fellows will build upon the learning from July 2021, while reflecting on the first half of the academic year. This residential session will take place during the academic year, so schools will need to provide coverage for participating teachers.  Dates will be announced after Summer 2021, but teachers will be asked to arrive on a Wednesday afternoon or evening and depart by Saturday afternoon.

Session 3: Summer 2022 (6 days)

This program session culminates the Fellowship experience. Fellows will have a closing week-long experience that delves deeper within the two domains. The cohort will also explore how they might adapt learnings to support their practice and school. In addition, Fellows will learn of opportunities for continued learning with their cohort and the broader WPS community.

Pre-work

Prior to each program session, Fellows will be required to complete pre-reading and reflections that will ground the program experience.  The readings are curated by WPS and map to each of the domains and modules. 

Day in the Life of a Fellow

The typical day in a program session includes time for individual, small-group, and cohort learning and self-reflection. Teachers can expect approximately 2 hours of individual reading and 2 hours of small group time to prepare for each day’s discussions. Plenty of unstructured time is provided to allow Fellows to build relationships with one another and engage around their personal and professional lived experience. The days are long, but intellectually and personally rewarding.

8:00 AMShuttle leaves hotel for WPS Campus
8:30 AMBreakfast and Study Time
9:00 AMCase Study Discussion or Learning Exercise
10:30 AMBreak and Snack
11:00 AMCase Study Discussion or Learning Exercise
12:30 PMLunch and Small Group Time
1:30 PMCase Study Discussion or Learning Exercise
3:00 PMBreak and Snack
4:00 PMShuttle leaves WPS campus for hotel
6:00 PMPre-Dinner Reception
6:30 PMDinner (On or Off-Campus)

The Nomination Process

Principals are invited to nominate 2-3 teachers to participate in the Foundational Teacher Program. WPS suggests that Principals consider nominating teachers who have earned the trust and respect of their leadership team and colleagues, for both their instructional practice and for their commitment to supporting peers. Principals should view this as an opportunity to invest in a group of teachers that can play a pivotal role to support the school’s advancement. Each nominated teacher will be given an opportunity to learn more about the program before receiving an online application. The WPS will review applications as they arrive and invite nominees to formally enroll in the Fellowship. Once enrolled, teachers will begin receiving communications regarding the Fellowship. By early June, teachers will receive the pre-reading materials for the July 2021 program session.

School Commitment

The Foundational Teacher Fellowship is designed as a residential, cohort-based learning experience with three program sessions that span 13 months. We are mindful of the demands on teachers and their schools and will make limited requests of either outside of the three program sessions. WPS does ask that teachers and schools make the following commitments:

Teachers

  • Participate in each of the three program sessions.
  • Complete all required pre-reading prior to arrival at each of the program sessions.
  • Engage other Teacher Fellows and the entire Fellowship with an open mind.
  • Be invested, present and self-reflective during each program session.
  • Provide evaluation feedback to inform the continued development of the Foundational Teacher Fellowship.

Schools

  • Be thoughtful and strategic in deciding what teachers to nominate.
  • Support teachers to participate in all three program sessions in 2021-2022.
  • Cover any travel related expenses for teachers to participate in the program sessions.
  • If necessary, provide teachers with “coverage” for any program sessions held during school days.
  • Hold a meeting for the school leader(s) and teacher prior to and just after each program session.
  • Have 1-2 school leaders, e.g. Principals, Vice Principals, Deans of Instruction, Dean of Students, participate in the Foundational School Leader Fellowship.
  • Provide evaluation feedback to inform the continued development of the Foundational Teacher Fellowship.
  • Be thoughtful and strategic in deciding how you leverage Fellows after they complete the Fellowship.
  • Share other WPS professional learning opportunities with school staff.

Fellowship Details

Program Dates

  • Summer 2021 (6 days)
    • Option 1: July 7 to 13
    • Option 2: July 17 to 23
  • Winter 2021 (4 days)
    • Dates to be announced
  • Summer 2022 (6 days)
    • Dates to be announced

Location

WPS Campus

196 Herrick Road Newton, MA (just outside of Boston)

The campus has plenty of outdoor space, onsite parking, and Green Line T accessibility.

Cost

In 2021-2022, the Foundational Teacher Fellowship will be fully subsidized by WPS. Schools are asked to cover travel-related expenses for all three program sessions, e.g. airline tickets, mileage, taxis, parking, misc. meals. WPS will cover the cost of program fees, materials, accommodations, and food.

Accommodations

The residential component is a key aspect of the Foundational program. Teachers will stay in individual rooms at a hotel within a 10–15-minute drive from the campus. WPS will handle all hotel reservations and payments.

COVID-19

WPS will adheres to Massachusetts requirements and guidelines from the Center for Disease Control to ensure that staff and teachers have a safe work and learning environment. The plan will encompass a range of measures, including social distancing, hand-sanitizing, regular cleaning of facilities and testing.

We understand that not all teachers feel comfortable receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Unfortunately, to ensure a safe environment for staff and teachers, WPS will ask everyone provide documentation that they have received the COVID-19 vaccine before arriving on campus in July 2021.

Transportation

Shuttle buses will transport teachers between the campus and hotel at the beginning and end of the day. Teachers may also drive themselves between the two locations.

More Information

To learn more about the Foundational Teacher Fellow program, including FAQs on the Foundational Teacher Fellowship, please visit wpsinstitute.org or contact us at info@wpsinstitute.org.


WPS · 196 Herrick Rd. · Newton, MA · 02459 · info@wpsinstitute.org