Every day, in classrooms all around the country, teachers are innovating with technology and pedagogy. These educators are building new practices around digital tools that engage students and drive 21st century learning. Since sharing resources with colleagues is a staple of good teaching, it stands to reason that bringing teachers together for the purpose of collaboration would be beneficial to all educational stakeholders. On that note, a program called The Fuse Fellowship has become successful in helping educators not only continue to create, but also facilitate the sharing of effective practice from room to room, building to building, and even district to district.
Founded in 2014 by the Highlander Institute in Providence as Fuse RI, the program’s goal is to bring educators together across districts in order to create a pipeline of knowledge that can flow from school to school through personalized contact between teachers. According to Maeve Murray, Program Manager at the Highlander Institute, this collaboration is designed to maximize effectiveness of learning and teaching statewide.
“Fuse RI aims to build a network of Rhode Island classrooms by supporting the purposeful use of technology and data to increase personalization, engagement, and the development of essential skills for students across the state,” she says.
The program trains fellows: teachers and leaders from schools all over Rhode Island that partner with other districts for a two- year period and provide educational support for faculty members over the course of 100 hours per school year, including a five-day, on-site presence. During this time, the fellow evaluates the school’s specific needs, provides support for blended and personalized learning, and coaches the teachers based on the district’s needs.
In addition to professional development credits, fellows receive a stipend as well as a flexible spending account for classroom resources and conference fees.
Nicole Guyon is a teacher at Community Preparatory School and a Fuse Fellow supporting Robert L. Bailey Elementary School in Providence. She values the professional relationships that she has established during her time in the program.
“The best part of the fellowship is the connections that I made with the people at Highlander and also the amazing teachers that make up the Fuse community,” she says. “It was incredible to work with teachers who were interested in things that were important to me.”
W. Jackson Reilly, Resident Principal of Evolutions High School in Providence and current Fuse Fellow, values the impact that the program has had on his students, regardless of engagement level. He emphasizes that the strategies supported are designed to address the multitude of learning styles that exist within today’s students.
”The skills and resources that Fuse provides teachers with allow them to best serve all students in their space through implementing a blended learning model that differentiates learning, provides the opportunity for students to self-pace, and creates deeper purpose and self-direction within learners,” he remarks.
Maeve says that, after five successful years, the program continues to grow. The future of Fuse looks bright, but there is always work to be done.
“Our hope is to take a close look at the major takeaways from the fellows, district administrators, and teachers we’ve partnered with to continue strengthening our Fuse Fellowship offerings,” she says.
For more information on the Fuse Fellowship, visit their website.