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2020-21 Illinois Early Childhood Education Policy Fellowship

Training Illinois early childhood educators to improve the ECE professions and the outcomes for our neediest students.

Application Deadline has been postponed until Sunday, May 10

The outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) presents an unprecedented challenge and disruption to the continuity of schooling and education for our nation’s students. It has impacted educators, families, parents, and entire communities, with three in every four school-aged children facing school closures across most states and thousands of school districts.  

Our focus at Teach Plus will always be the growth and support of excellent teachers in their leadership. We are moving forward with selecting excellent teachers for the next cohort of our Illinois Early Childhood Education Policy Fellowship. Through the Fellowship, we develop, support, and empower some of Illinois best teachers to become advocates for their students by developing specific policy recommendations that will improve educational systems for all children across the state.

Teach Plus Illinois offers Early Childhood Education Policy Fellowships to outstanding early childhood educators in the state looking to deepen their knowledge of education policy and gain a voice in decisions that directly affect students and the teaching profession.

What is the Illinois Early Childhood Education Policy Fellowship?

  • TPFflyer pic.jpgA highly selective leadership opportunity for outstanding Illinois early childhood educators looking to deepen their knowledge of education policy and gain a voice in decisions that affect students and the ECE world.
  • Fellows expand their influence without leaving the classroom.
  • Monthly Fellows Sessions (virtual and in-person)
  • Fellows receive training through expert-led modules and direct engagement with key stakeholders. No prior policy experience required.
  • Fellows receive a 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 Early Childhood Education Policy Fellows from across the state to participate in the cohort experience. You will become part of a larger movement of teacher leadership and help mobilize your peers around top issues impacting the early childhood education profession 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!
  • Spoke at conferences in Illinois including EduColor, ECET2, an SB100 conference, and the IEA Representative Assembly.
  • Illinois teachers have 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 teachers who reflect the cultural, linguistic, and geographic diversity of our state. Apply if you:

  • Are a current early childhood educator with at least two (2) full years of experience by June 2020
  • Have a track record of success with students in Illinois
  • Are ready to dedicate your time and passion to learning about policy and advocating on behalf of changes that impact students
  • Have a passion for sharing the diverse perspectives and experiences of students and teachers with policy makers

Application Process

Part 1 – Written Application

The written application asks you to complete general demographic information and answer several essay questions. Applications are due Sunday, May 10th, 2020.

Part 2 – Interview 

You will be notified if you have been invited to participate in an interview.

Part 3 – Selection

You will be notified if you have been invited to join the Early Childhood Education Policy Fellowship. If accepted, you will commit to attending the kickoff convening in June, and attend monthly, virtual or in-person Fellowship meetings.


Click here to nominate a teacher!