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The Rowland Fellowship

A unique professional development opportunity for Vermont secondary school teachers.

The Rowland Foundation seeks applicants who are innovative, collaborative, willing to lead, and committed to making a difference for students within their respective schools.
The Rowland Foundation seeks candidates who demonstrate:
  • a capacity for shared leadership and innovation
  • a commitment to supporting meaningful and lasting change in their school
  • a willingness to take risks and adapt to emerging challenges
  • the ability to work collaboratively and develop key partnerships with others
  • a sincere commitment to their school, their chosen discipline and their students
  • a deep curiosity and ongoing enthusiasm for professional learning
  • the strong desire to improve the culture and climate of their respective schools.
The Rowland Foundation seeks proposals which:
  • lead to systemic change to improve their school’s culture and climate
  • are innovative and schoolwide (i.e., benefit many students)
  • are sustainable after the Rowland Foundation completes its funding
  • are exportable to other schools. The Rowland Foundation is keenly interested in affecting change throughout Vermont.
  • have the complete support of the principal or head of school. This will be a key element of the interview process by the Executive Director prior to selection.

The Rowland Fellowship

Each year the Rowland Foundation awards up to six Rowland Fellowships to Vermont middle grades and secondary school teachers. Since some teachers apply with a partner to share a fellowship, the number of Rowland Fellows selected from qualified applicants for each cohort varies from year to year.

The Rowland Foundation's mission is to invest in Vermont teachers to positively change the culture & climate of schools. We welcome applications from classroom teachers of all disciplines, school counselors, special educators-all Vermont teachers who work directly with students in the middle or secondary grades are eligible to apply. Educators who work on an administrator contract are not eligible. Instructional coaches, coordinators, program directors, and other educators who may work on a teacher's contract but do not work directly with students on a daily basis are not eligible.

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The Rowland Foundation provides grants of up to $100,000 to each receiving school to support their Rowland Fellow's change idea to transform an aspect of the school in order to positively impact its culture and climate. A large part of these funds cover substitute costs so that the Rowland Fellow can be released from teaching duties in order to develop their school change Fellowship initiative. The remainder of the funds support Fellowship activities so the Rowland Fellow can conduct research, do site visits, develop strategic partnerships, and organize the work of their Steering Committee. Rowland Fellows submit an updated version of their Fellowship budget to the Executive Director twice a year.

All Rowland Fellows and their principals sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Rowland Foundation that outlines the obligations and responsibilities of all parties.

The Rowland Cohort Model

The Rowland Foundation's approach to school change is predicated on shared leadership and deep collaboration, consequently Rowland Fellowships are never completed in isolation. The Rowland Cohort Model is a two-year cycle that brings Rowland Fellows together to provide critical support for their challenging school transformation work.

The Rowland Cohort is also a commitment. Rowland Fellows commit to working with their peers and the Rowland Senior Associates who organize and facilitate Rowland Cohort Meetings. The Rowland Fellows take turns hosting Cohort meetings at their schools, which gives Fellows the opportunity to see the work of culture & climate at different schools around the State. The Rowland Foundation's Executive Director attends all Cohort meetings in order to better support their work. Rowland Fellows also commit to engaging in the following activities during the two-year cycle of their Fellowship and Cohort work, sponsored by the Rowland Foundation to support shared leadership, innovation, and collaboration in their school change work:
  • Attend a Rowland Fellowship Orientation meeting with the Executive Director in in the spring of the first year of their Rowland Fellowship
  • Actively participate at all Rowland Cohort meetings, to take place every two months at different Fellows' schools around Vermont.
  • Take Collaborative Practice for Equity, a three-credit graduate course, with Senior Associate Jeanie Phillips and their Rowland Cohort in the first year of their Rowland Fellowship
  • Bring their Principal to the daylong Rowland Fellowship Launch in the spring of the first year of their Rowland Fellowship
  • Bring their Principal & Steering Committee Members to the daylong Shared Leadership Retreat in the fall of the first year of their Rowland Fellowship
  • Bring a school team to the Annual Rowland Conference during the first two years of their Rowland Fellowship
  • Attend the Rowland Foundation All Fellows Retreat during the fall of the first two years of their Rowland Fellowship

The Steering Committee

Any successful Rowland Fellowship initiative is based on shared leadership. This is why the Rowland Foundation requires each Rowland Fellow to convene, organize, and lead a Steering Committee to support the work. The Steering Committee should consist of 7-10 school stakeholders who are available to do the side-by-side, hands-on work of the Fellowship with their Rowland Fellow. Steering Committees typically include a cross-section of teachers, students, community members, and the Principal (or designee). The Steering Committee should meet at least once each month with a planned agenda for each meeting. Rowland Fellows are strongly encouraged to use the Cohort's collaborative practice strategies in their Steering Committee work.
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