Rowland Foundation
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Frequently Asked Questions

Who may apply?

Vermont teachers practicing in the secondary or middle grades, including all subject areas, as well as guidance counselors, mental health counselors, or healthcare professionals who are full-time staff at a Vermont school are eligible. In short, any teacher working with students on a daily basis in a Vermont school is encouraged to apply. Administrators, coordinators, and instructional coaches are not eligible to apply. The Rowland Foundation only accepts proposals from Vermont schools that are 1) eligible for public funding, and 2) do not have selective admissions.

Are joint applications acceptable?

Absolutely, and in fact, they are strongly encouraged! However, the grant amount remains the same as it would be for an individual applicant. In their Rowland Fellowship proposal, co-applicants should explain why their partnership will be effective and how they plan to share funds for release time from their teaching duties.

How are the Rowland Fellows selected?

The Executive Director closely reads and reviews all applications each year. Applicants who put forward the strongest proposals are then invited to interview with the Executive Director at the Rowland Foundation's office in Burlington. Based on these interviews, the Executive Director recommends a list of finalists to the Board of Trustees who ultimately select the new cohort of Rowland Fellows.

The Rowland Foundation only selects proposals with the potential to make a real difference for all students at the school. Applicants should show a commitment to shared leadership, lifelong learning, and collaboration. Proposals should show a systemic approach to positively changing school culture & climate-not just a new course or alternative program. Also, significant attention is given to the level of support from the principal or head of school. For Rowland Fellows, this is always a critically important partnership.

Could you provide clarity on the time away from the classroom? What do Fellows do during that time?

When asked what the most important part of their Fellowship experience was, most Rowland Fellows say it was the "gift of time". During the release time provided by the Rowland Fellowship grant award, which pays for a long-term substitute, Rowland Fellows conduct research, consult with experts, and learn more about organizational change strategies. Rowland Fellows use this time away from the classroom to visit schools and institutions around Vermont, in other states, and even in other countries. Rowland Fellows also often connect with veteran Rowland Fellows to learn from their work at Vermont schools. While Rowland Fellows stay connected with their school during this release time through Steering Committee meetings and other work, doing work outside the classroom gives them new perspectives and insights on their practice, as well as their role as educational leaders.

What if I do not have a clear handle on my sabbatical costs at the time of my application?

No problem. The application asks for a preliminary budget to be completed to the best of your ability. Once selected, Rowland Fellows will meet with their Principals and the Rowland Foundation's Executive Director to finalize their budgets. Budgeting is an iterative process that, when done well, helps inform Fellowship strategies. Rowland Fellows are required to submit their updated budgets to the Executive Director twice a year during their two-year cohort cycle.

What if my school already has a Rowland Fellow?

Great! They can help give you ideas for your proposal. There's no limit on the number of Rowland Fellowships a school can receive. However, we do limit each school to a maximum of two applications per year, each requiring the principal's enthusiastic support.

We don't accept proposals from schools who have Rowland Fellows still in Year 2 of the Cohort Cycle. We want to give Fellows the opportunity to substantially complete their Fellowship work before launching into something new. What is not funded by the Rowland Foundation?

As previously mentioned, Rowland Foundation grants need to be sustainable over time. It is our assumption that the school will create budget strategies to sustain the work moving forward. With that in mind, we generally do not fund:

  • Faculty or staff salaries
  • Student travel programs or scholarships
  • Capital costs (e.g., buildings, building renovations, large-scale technology purchases)
  • Graduate degrees for the applicant (note: we certainly are willing to fund a course or two related to the applicant's initiative)
  • Curriculum development, particularly to a specific discipline
  • Equipment or supplies that could reasonably be expected to be part of a school’s annual operating budget

How often do Rowland Fellows meet with their Cohort?

The Rowland Fellows Cohort meetings typically take place every other month, with a few exceptions. (For a closer look at how the two-year cycle is structured, please consult our Fellowship Timeline page.) Our Senior Rowland Associates organize and facilitate the Rowland Fellows Cohort meetings. They also incorporate collaborative practice strategies and bring in additional resources as needed.

Rowland Fellows learn to rely on their cohort as a trusted peer group. During cohort meetings, Rowland Fellows help each other articulate challenges, explore new strategies, and celebrate successes during their Fellowship work. The Rowland Fellows Cohort model is a cornerstone of the Rowland Foundation's approach to school change. The Executive Director attends all cohort meetings during the two-year cycle of a Rowland Fellowship.

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