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2019-20 Illinois Early Childhood Educator Policy Fellowship

What is the Illinois Early Childhood Educator Policy Fellowship?

  • TPFflyer pic.jpgA highly selective leadership opportunity for outstanding early childhood educators and providers looking to deepen their knowledge of education policy and gain a voice in decisions that affect their children, families, and the profession. 
  • A diverse cohort of 20 educators who work with children anywhere from ages 0-8, are located all across the state, and who teach in a variety of settings: centers, schools, and at home.
  • Fellows get to stay in their full-time jobs while expand their influence, starting in August 2019 and concluding in June 2020.  
  • Fellows participate in monthly virtual and in-person sessions where they receive professional training through expert-led modules and direct engagement with key stakeholders. 
  • No prior policy experience required. 
  • Fellows receive a $1,600 stipend for their commitment.

What does Teach Plus do?

Teach Plus trains teachers in understanding education policy as a lever for student success, community organizing, writing op-eds and speaking to the media, providing public testimony, and more. Teach Plus works to create and connect teachers to opportunities to lead in real ways at the policy level.

How does it work?

Teach Plus recruits and selects educators and providers from across the state to participate in the cohort experience. You will become part of a larger movement of educator leadership and help mobilize your peers around top issues impacting the early childhood education in Illinois. Teach Plus works with key stakeholders and policymakers to join the conversation.

Nationally and locally, Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellows have:

  • Met with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office
    Advocated for Illinois’ historic education funding reform law by meeting with House Speaker Michael Madigan and 15 other lawmakers, organizing teachers throughout the state, and by holding a rally in Springfield.
    Engaged 351 teachers in focus groups to provide input on Illinois’ new accountability plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act.  Illinois teachers suggested 17 changes to the plan, and 16 have been adopted!
    Met with the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development and provided written recommendations to improve Kindergarten readiness.
    Been published or featured in US News & World Report, Education Week, the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times, the Springfield Journal-Register, and on Chicago Tonight on WTTW.


Teach Plus seeks a cohort of educators and providers who reflect the cultural, linguistic, and geographic diversity of the children in our state.  We encourage you to apply if you:

  • Are currently a school-, center-, or home-based educator or provider who works directly with students and has a track record of student success (this includes center directors, teacher assistants, paraprofessionals, co-teachers, and Education Support Professionals)
  • Will have at least two (2) full year of early childhood education experience by August 2019. 
  • Are ready to dedicate your time and passion to learning about policy and advocating on behalf of changes that impact all young children across our state
  • Have a passion for sharing the diverse perspectives and experiences of children and families with policymakers

Application Process

Part 1 – Written Application

The written application asks you to complete general demographic information, short responses and provide contact information for two professional references (letters of reference are not required.) Applications are due May 20th, 2019.

Part 2 – Interview 

If selected to continue, you will be invited to participate in an interview. Interviews will take place June 3 - 7 virtually.

Part 3 – Selection

You will be notified if you have been selected to join the Illinois Early Childhood Education Policy Fellowship. If accepted, you will commit to attending the kick-off convening in Springfield in August (Date TBD) and monthly sessions throughout the fellowship.

Attend an Information Session to have your questions answered and hear from Teach Plus Illinois Executive Director and Early Childhood Policy Fellowship alums.  
Register for the March 25th General Programs Information Session Here
Register for the Thursday April 18th Policy Fellowship Information Session Here 4pm 
Register Tuesday April 30th Policy Fellowship Information Session Here 7pm

Click here to nominate a teacher!