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"I want to have a say in what happens to me."
Autonomy is the need for independence; the ability to make choices, to create, to explore, and to express oneself freely; to have sufficient space, to move around, and to feel unrestricted with opportunities to exercise free will.
As the Outreach Coordinator, Brady helps maintain Inspired Teaching’s social media presence and supports the organization’s mission to connect with DC community leaders, educators, and parents. Brady has her Master’s in Public Policy from George Mason University and her BS in Political Science from Northern Arizona University. She is passionate about community, equity, and coalition building recognizing that learning and growing with the community at large is how we continue to be impactful.
I find joy in spending time with my friends and family and meeting new people. I like going to concerts and festivals, and finding new books to read.
The Learner’s Cycle, Wonder-Experiment-Learn, and the Teacher’s Cycle, Observe-Plan-Instigate, comprise Inspired Teaching’s approach to engaging students in inquiry-based learning.
When they are engaged in the Wonder-Experiment-Learn Cycle, students are immersed in learning. They take the lead in designing authentic learning experiences around their own interests and their school’s standards of learning. Each discovery leads to a new question which in turn leads to more wondering and more learning. In the Wonder-Experiment-Learn Cycle, Learn is not a destination or an endpoint; it is a deeper understanding, leading to a deeper wondering and new possibilities that create new entry points to further exploration. The cycle continues because what students have learned generates more wonderings that require more experiments that foster more learning – and on and on.
The Observe-Plan-Instigate Cycle is the work of an Inspired Teacher. While a student is expected to follow the Wonder-Experiment-Learn Cycle, the teacher joins them on the learning journey while following their own cycle of Observe-Plan-Instigate. This cycle ultimately serves to ensure an inquiry-based atmosphere is at play in the classroom.
Access school or district professional learning funds: Some districts have professional learning discretionary funding for schools, or other funds that can be accessed for this purpose. Principals, district supervisors, curriculum supervisors, professional learning directors, and superintendents are good people to check with. Depending on how many colleagues at your school participate, and the subject of the course, you may be able to access school improvement funds as well (e.g., for a course in Relationship-Based Classrooms, which would address school climate).
Talk to your PTA representatives. These groups often have grants and money set aside for professional learning and school improvement.
Donors Choose is an organization where educators can post projects for donors to browse and fun, including professional learning that is used to further your craft. Go to their website to create a free account and find out more. Remember to post your project to social media, so that your friends and family can see the work you're doing and share it with others!
The NEA Foundation for the Improvement of Education awards grants that support the professional learning of public school teachers and faculty in public institutions of higher education. Grants may fund professional learning experiences, such as summer institutes or action research, mentoring experiences or lesson study. Professional learning must improve practice, curriculum and student achievement, and recipients must put professional leadership into practice by sharing what they learn with their colleagues. For specific information, visit the NEA Foundation’s application instructions page.
Fund for Teachers is unique in that it awards grants for professional learning based on the principle that the teacher is the one who knows what they need to grow as an educator. These grants are self designed and allow teachers to create their own professional learning opportunity based on what is most beneficial to their teaching in their own opinions. The application encourages educators to think about their objectives, motivations and the impact their particular plan of action will have on students. Applications are due in January.
The McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation provides Teacher Development Grants for individual teachers or small teams working in K-12 education. To foster insightful and innovative professional learning and growth, the grants allow you to implement new teaching methods and strategies in the classroom. Projects can take a variety of forms, but each of them must be geared towards having a significant and lasting impact in the classroom. Winners work closely with the foundation to implement their ideas and are awarded up to $10,000 for the first three years of the project.
Washington, D.C. educators can receive PLU hours for participating in courses. Each day of a course is 6 hours of credit - we will provide a certificate upon completion of the course. Please see the OSSE certification website for more information.
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Organizations and community stakeholders partner with us in a variety of ways to advance and amplify our goal of promoting engagement-based education. We partner with a diverse group of individuals and organizations, including Teaching for Change, Ashoka, City Year, and the Astra Center for Innovative Education.
Our foundation and corporate partners provide the critical resources we need to do our work. If you’re an organization interested in ensuring equitable access to engagement-based teaching for every student, contact Caitlin Wolf, our Development Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Inspired Teaching Demonstration Public Charter School puts Inspired Teaching’s instructional model into action in every classroom. The school, a professional learning community of master teachers and teacher residents, ensures that a diverse group of students achieve their potential as accomplished learners, thoughtful citizens, and imaginative and inquisitive problem solvers through a demanding, inquiry-based curriculum. The standards-based curriculum and student goals are centered
on the 4 I’s: Intellect, Inquiry, Imagination, and Integrity.
The school is a primary partner site for the Inspired Teaching Residency, welcoming many Inspired Teaching Fellows each year for their Residency Year. Learn more about the Inspired Teaching Demonstration School.
Inspired Teaching alumni work as educational changemakers influencing the landscape of public education. Throughout the year, Inspired Teaching alumni have opportunities to attend special events, participate in free workshops, access valuable resources, and connect with one another through networking opportunities. Inspired Teachers open their doors to the public to showcase and advocate for engagement-based education.
Becoming an Inspired Teaching Fellow represents a long-term commitment to the field of education and to Center for Inspired Teaching. Inspired Teaching Fellows make a minimum teaching commitment of two years beyond program completion.
Inspired Teaching will make periodic visits to Fellows’ classroom for program evaluation purposes to assess the success of alumni as Inspired Teachers. Inspired Teaching’s research and program evaluation team conducts regular surveys of alumni, allowing for observation of longitudinal trends.
As teachers of record, Fellows are supported by intensive mentoring as they create classrooms grounded in instructional best practices and foster strong relationships with students. Fellows embody the Inspired Teaching Instructional Approach and tap into each child’s innate desire to learn. Fellows continue taking coursework at Trinity Washington University and complete all requirements for their Masters of Arts in Teaching by the end of the school year. Fellows receive increased mentoring to smooth the transition to being the teacher of record.
Fellows co-teach summer school classes that result in student-centered, data-driven classrooms. Fellows plan and implement student learning experiences that consist of standards-based, interdisciplinary, thematic projects that build on students’ interests. This culminates in a student exhibition where learners present and explain their work to the community, including parents, teachers, students and invited guests. Inspired Teaching staff provide intensive support during the summer teaching practicum.
Under the guidance and support of an experienced lead teacher who models exceptional instructional approaches, Fellows immerse themselves in the day-to-day realities of the classroom for a full year. Lead teachers gradually release all classroom responsibilities to the Fellow over the course of the year, facilitating growth in all aspects of the profession. In the spring semester, Fellows begin taking coursework at Trinity Washington University in the evenings, helping to make connections between education theory and the classroom practice being observed in their residency year. Residency year partner sites are innovative urban schools that are dedicated to supporting new teachers, and showcasing best teaching practices.
As Inspired Teaching Fellows, and AmeriCorps members, Fellows are called to apply their skills and ideals toward helping others and meeting critical needs of the community. Fellows join a national network of like minded individuals working to serve their country. AmeriCorps engages over 80,000 individuals each year, including 1,400 members in the District of Columbia.
Fellows who complete 1700 hours of service are eligible for a Segal AmeriCorps Educational Award of $5,920 which can only be used for repayment of student loans, for future costs at institutions of higher education, or for educational training.
Being an AmeriCorps member is a benefit of being an Inspired Teaching Fellow, but it is not required. Fellows who have received two AmeriCorps awards previously, or have started but not successfully completed an AmeriCorps program, are not eligible. Potential enrollment in AmeriCorps will not affect the application process.
AmeriCorps funding is granted on an annual basis and notifications are made in the summer. Inspired Teaching fully expects its renewal application to be successful, but Inspired Teaching Fellows’ status as AmeriCorps Members is contingent on grant renewal, and cannot be guaranteed.
The month long Summer Institute jumpstarts Fellows’ thinking about teaching and learning. Comprised of intensive coursework and an introduction to to Inspired Teaching’s instructional model, the summer serves as a critical community building experience for the cohort
Teachers learn how to identify and integrate the Inspired Teaching Instructional Model into their classrooms. Experience a truly engaging classroom as it compares to a compliance-based classroom, in order to develop an understanding of how engagement more effectively supports learning.