MIT School Access and Quality Fellowship

The MIT School Access and Quality Fellowship is a one-year program for education leaders currently researching, implementing, or expanding enrollment reform. Through a variety of professional development offerings, fellows will connect with a national network of peers, reflect on their practices, and study cutting-edge research. Participants will also have access to leading policy and research experts from across the country who can provide guidance on enrollment best practices. The fellowship is ideal for education professionals who want to sustain, refine, and expand school choice in their regions.

Fellowship Details

FAQs

The curriculum draws upon best practices from research and features a cadre of expert enrollment practitioners and researchers. Past sessions have included experts from cities such as New York, Chicago, New Orleans, Indianapolis, and Washington, DC, and presenters from MIT, Harvard, Princeton, and other universities.

Throughout the year, fellows will develop a robust network of peers across the country and brainstorm solutions to real-world problems in their regions. All activities are designed with working professionals in mind and can be completed in addition to regular professional responsibilities.

This program is designed by MIT Blueprint Labs, with funding support from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, and the goal of building and sustaining better, more equitable enrollment systems across the country.

Fellowship Details

What does the Fellowship entail?

  • One-year commitment, with frequent learning opportunities
  • Kickoff: Meet the cohort of fellows in Boston, MA in the fall (Please hold October 21, 2022 for the kickoff. Cohort selections will be finalized by September 16, 2022).
  • Webinars: Learn about specific enrollment problems of practice (3 in total)
  • City learning visit: Visit a city with established unified enrollment systems and practices
  • Case consultancies: One fellow will lead a session each month
  • Free travel: Travel expenses reimbursed up to $1,200
  • Access to a network of policy & research experts, networking events, lectures & panels, group discussions, and more!

What is required of fellows?

  • Attend the convening kickoff in Boston and present briefly
  • Participate in at least two webinars
  • Lead a case consultancy or do an interview for a monthly Fellow newsletter
  • Upon conclusion of the Fellowship, submit a summary of accomplishments
  • Fellows continue to work full-time at their education organization and receive no additional compensation

FAQs

Who do I contact with questions?

Please reach out to tgerstle@mit.edu with any questions.

Will events be hybrid?

Events details and participation options will be communicated prior to each event. Blueprint Labs adheres to the MIT Covid-19 policies, which may impact in-person events. Hybrid events will be facilitated to maximize interaction.

What is the approximate estimated time commitment?

Fellows are expected to attend a full day kickoff, 2 hour-long webinars (out of 3), lead a case consultancy or do an interview for a monthly Fellow newsletter, and submit a summary of accomplishments upon the conclusion of the program. In addition, we hope to foster a community for fellows to engage with one other outside of the required events.

Do I need to do anything to prepare for signing on as a Fellow?

No, though we have an optional reading list that we will share with the cohort near the kickoff.

What if my district hasn’t yet started unified enrollment?

Everyone is welcome to join. We think that the diversity in current enrollment practices is an asset to this fellowship, as everyone can learn from one another about potential challenges and opportunities.

What topics will be covered?

We strive to make the learnings relevant and reflective of the needs of each cohort. In the second cohort of the program, we explored topics such as declining enrollment, neighborhood school choice options, common application reforms, and successful equity initiatives. Fellows led challenge sessions on navigating charter-district relationships, using data to drive enrollment reform, and increasing parent engagement in the enrollment process. Our webinars focused on the effective use of data, stakeholder engagement, and school quality measures. We also traveled to Denver for a city learning visit, to learn about Denver Public Schools’ equitable and efficient enrollment practices. In the first cohort of the program, we explored topics such as the impact of the Common App in Boston, UE case consultancies, biases and policy implications, philanthropic support, UE and single-best offer/deferred acceptance algorithm, UE approaches to governance and organization, and hosted a panel of different districts to discuss their experiences.

What travel funding will be available?

We are able to reimburse up to $1,200 for travel to the kickoff and $1,200 for travel to the city learning visit, with adherence to MIT's travel guidance. Participants who will travel need to contact Blueprint Labs before booking travel to initiate the travel reimbursement documentation and process.

When will the webinars take place?

We will poll the cohort to determine the best options, but webinars will likely be in December, February, and April.

Meet the 2021-2022 Fellows